Boca knock Robins off their perch

Boca Seniors Giles Daniel vies for possession in his sides 6-0 mauling at leaders Bideford Reserves. Pic by Rob Bates Boca Seniors Giles Daniel vies for possession in his sides 6-0 mauling at leaders Bideford Reserves. Pic by Rob Bates

Tuesday, February 5, 2013
9:58 AM

Champions hit unbeaten leaders for six to throw title race wide open.

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Action from the table top clash between Bideford Reserves and Boca Seniors. Pic by Rob BatesAction from the table top clash between Bideford Reserves and Boca Seniors. Pic by Rob Bates

BOCA Seniors threw the North Devon Gazette Premier Division title race wide open with a 6-0 demolition of unbeaten league leaders Bideford Reserves on Saturday.

Scott Sharp and Matt Deakin scored two each, and there were singles for Jack Jenkins and Mark Barrow, as the champions fired a stinging statement of intent.

The match started with a minute’s silence in respect of Bradworthy goalkeeper Matt Oke and ended in a tribute to the local league player after Boca dedicated the victory to his memory.

It was Bideford’s first league defeat since the last day of the 2010/11 season – a run of 41 games unbeaten across two seasons in the premier and senior divisions.

Action from the table top clash between Bideford Reserves and Boca Seniors. Pic by Rob BatesAction from the table top clash between Bideford Reserves and Boca Seniors. Pic by Rob Bates

And it was one that sent shockwaves across local football.

Shamwickshire Reserves manager Gary Ford called it the result of the day, while Torridgeside manager Barry Paine warned that sides should write Boca off at their peril.

“Boca have been there before and done it,” he said.

“It’s all very tight and they have games in hand. There are only two unbeaten teams now but everyone is capable of beating anyone on the day.

“We’re up for it but we’re just taking each game as it comes,” he added.

Torridgeside, who went top of the table with a 4-1 win at Georgeham & Croyde, are one of five teams – along with Bideford, North Molton, Braunton and Boca – who have genuine claims on this year’s title, set to be one of the closest for many years.

Rob Holland scored two firs half goals for Torrie at Georgeham before Neil Sharpe-Dent pulled one back for the Hammers after the break.

Martin Boundy restored the two-goal cushion within minutes and Holland completed his hat-trick with 15 minutes to go.

Braunton released what manager Mark Harris described as ‘pent up frustration’ after a lack of fixtures in recent weeks with 20 goals during the weekend.

On Saturday, the hammered Shebbear United 9-0 with five goals for Ross Maynard and two for Sam Box. There were singles for James Galliford and Nathan Knight, who scored his first goal in senior football after making the step-up from the under-16s this season.

On Sunday a youthful Braunton side put 11 past Bridgerule in the Torridge Cup. Tom White scored four and there were two each for Sam Box, Ross Maynard and Dave Mason. Johnny Shury scored one but manager Harris reserved the plaudits for centre-half Ryan Hawke who made the step-up from the third team to put in an ‘exceptional’ shift.

Andy Allen scored twice for Shamwickshire Rovers in a 4-0 win at home to Ilfracombe Town Reserves.

Captain Tom Willoughby claimed the second goal for Shammy with a far post header despite counter-claims from team mate Matt Downing, who did eventually register on the scoresheet with the home team’s fourth goal.

Ben Walters scored only goal for Barnstaple AAC in a 5-1 defeat at home to Appledore Reserves while at the bottom of the table Dolton slugged out a 2-0 win at home to Putford.

Charlie Tubb scored twice in each half in his first game this season.

Dolton manager Neil Batty said: “The game was a hard-fought battle by two teams trying to avoid the wooden spoon.

“It was a well-welcomed win as it’s been hard work the last few months.”

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