By Natalie Benville

The Hoops begin their home programme for the new season by meeting Hollands & Blair at the Charles Ground on Tuesday (7.45pm).

And Derek Hares’ side will be hoping for a repeat of what happened in the corresponding fixture last season when goals by Sam Wilson and Andy Miller gave Deal a 2-1 victory.

The Hoops went on to complete a league “double” over the Gillingham outfit by winning 4-1 at Star Meadow Sports ground in March, which made for a welcome contrast to their previous meetings with H&B who had won all four league games between the sides after joining the SCEL for the 2015-16 campaign.

And last season was a disappointing one in general for H&B. They finished in 18th position, a drop of 10 places from the previous season, but Darren Blackburn’s team offered hope of better things to come this time around with a 1-0 home win over Fisher on Saturday thanks to Jason Fregene’s second-half goal.

Finally, the club have decided to make Tuesday’s match a special tribute to the late Steve Lake, who sadly passed away a few months ago. (See separate tribute piece to Steve).



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