Unlike the recent showpiece match at Wembley, won by Arsenal, Sunday’s meeting between the last two league winners cannot go to penalties.
Having ended their long wait for silverware, Oakwood are hungry for more and new arrivals Tom Cantor, Toby Levy, Josh Cuby and Joe Botchin will be keen to impress.
NLR boss Dan Shafron has been keeping his cards close to his chest in terms of summer recruits, but having got a taste for the top-flight with Redbridge Jewish Care last season, I can see new recruit Zac Neiman forming a rock solid partnership alongside captain marvel David Rhodes.
Ahead of the 10am kick-off at the Ark Academy in Wembley, Shafron said: “As far as opening games go, this is as hard as they come.
“Oakwood were excellent last season and I expect them to be just as good, if not stronger this season.
“It’s no secret our league campaign was average and we will look to improve on this starting with a big performance on Sunday.”
* Andy Landesberg is confident London Lions will bounce back from their 5-0 humbling against Southall in the South Midlands League when they start their adventure in the FA Vase.
The Lions travel to Wootton Blue Cross from Bedfordshire in the preliminary first round match and Landesberg said: “We go into the game feeling we have a decent chance.”
Lions are still missing several regulars, but Landesberg insists “we will have to deal with it and work with what we’ve got”. He’s expecting “a tough game and will use the Southall game as motivation to improve”.
Landesberg said: “We will enjoy the experience and look to have a bit of fun. With a bit of luck we hope to win and get a decent draw which would be great for the club and our community.”
* Joe Leslie has signed for Stevenage FC on a two-year scholarship deal. He will leave Haberdashers after completing his GCSE's to join the academy full-time. During his trial at Stevenage he scored three goals and had six assists in three games. Whilst he is paid on the scholarship and receives further education through the academy, he hopes to win a full professional contract before next season.
* Thanks to Michael Frankfurt for the following email which made me chuckle. “Ross Hannah scored for Chester on Saturday. When it came up on the television I thought it said Rosh Hashanah. I thought Rosh Hashanah had come early!”