Braunton score 13 to lay down title marker

Barnstaple AAC edged out Ilfracombe Reserves in the opening game of the season. PHOTO: platinumimages.uk.com Barnstaple AAC edged out Ilfracombe Reserves in the opening game of the season. PHOTO: platinumimages.uk.com

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
9:02 AM

All the action from the opening weekend of the North Devon Gazette Football League

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PREMIER DIVISION

Fresh off their title disappointment last season, Braunton laid down a marker in the Premier division with a devastating 13-0 opening day win over Torrington.

Torrington look to be a club in disarray, having installed former Barnstaple Town and Ilfracombe Town boss Tom Bulley as manager only a few weeks ago only to see him leave just before the start of the season.

To make matters worse, a number of the reserves had to step up to the first team due to a lack of players, leaving the reserves to forfeit their Intermediate One game with Pilton.

But that should not take anything away from Braunton, who despite only losing twice last season were pipped by eventual champions Boca Seniors.

Boca, too, got off to a winning start, cruising to a 4-2 win at Shebbear United.

Boca managed to complete last season without defeat – and were even only held to a draw on two occasions – and extended that winning run to begin the new campaign.

Senior division champions Park United arrived in the top tier with a bang, beating last year’s fourth-placed finishers Barnstaple AAC by three goals to nil.

Park scored 189 times in their 30 games last season, and looked very much at home playing at this higher level on Saturday.

Bideford Reserves, who slipped to fifth last season after so narrowly missing out on the league the previous season, got their campaign underway with a 1-0 home win over Barnstaple FC.

And Fremington also opened with a win, beating Appledore Reserves by two goals to one.

Ilfracombe Town, in their first league game since dropping out of the Toolstation Western League, could only manage a point at Bradworthy, as the sides went at it hammer and tongs in a 2-2 draw.

Torridgeside versus North Molton SC also finished all square at one apiece, while Shamwickshire Rovers picked up three points as Dolton were unable to fulfil their fixture on Saturday.

SENIOR DIVISION

It was six of the best for Woolsery on the opening weekend of the Senior division campaign as they comprehensively beat Northam Lions 6-2 in an entertaining contest.

Woolsery came out on top in the eight-goal match-up, enough to put them top ahead of the day’s other big winners, Shamwickshire Rovers Reserves, on goals scored.

Shammy were very impressive as they brushed aside last year’s runners-up Braunton Reserves, running out 4-0 winners.

It was a huge improvement from a side which only won five of their 30 league games last season, and could be the catalyst for a strong season.

Landkey Town, another of the sides who came up just short of promotion last term, are hoping to be there or there abouts again this season, and could well be on the evidence of their win over Torridgeside Reserves on Saturday.

Landkey were 5-2 winners at Torridgeside, showing that they have lost none of the potent goal threat – only champions Park United scored more goals in the division last season - which took them within three points of promotion.

Hartland picked up a solid 3-1 win away to North Molton SC Reserves, while Georgeham and Croyde, following relegation from the Premier division last season, began life in the Senior division with a 2-0 win at home to Putford.

The other team to drop down into the division, Chittlehampton, did not enjoy the same winning start, however, as they went down 2-1 to newly-promoted Woolacombe and Mortehoe.

Combe Martin and Merton played out a compelling 3-3 draw, while Lynton and Lynmouth and South Molton could not be separated after James Lawrence’s goal for South Molton was cancelled out in the second half.

INTERMEDIATE ONE

Sporting Barum sprung out in front in Intermediate One with a thoroughly convincing 8-1 win over Clovelly on Saturday.

Braunton were one of six sides to win on the opening day, while Pilton Academicals also picked up three points after Torrington’s difficulties.

Their reserves were unable to field a team on Saturday, gifting Pilton a walkover and casting the Torrington Reserves team’s future into doubt.

Braunton Thirds were also convincing winners, picking up where they left off last season with a 4-0 win at Barnstaple FC Reserves.

And Anchor Chiefs, so close to clinching promotion last term, also got off to a strong start with a 5-2 win at newly-promoted Haxton Rangers.

There was a winning start for Chivenor, another of the sides to make their bow in Intermediate One after an impressive debut season in Intermediate Two, as they dispatched of North Molton SC Thirds by five goals to two.

Equalizers were another of the clubs who might well have been promoted last season but for a late stumble, and got their new campaign off to a great start with a 4-1 win at last season’s strugglers Morwenstow Reserves.

Barnstaple AAC Reserves rounded off the division’s winners, beating Ilfracombe’s former third team – now the reserves after the first team pulled out of the Western League – by two goals to one.

High Bickington and Northam Lions Reserves were the only sides without a game on the opening weekend, although they will feature in a full programme of midweek fixtures tonight (Wednesday).

INTERMEDIATE TWO

The reserves made it a very fruitful opening weekend indeed for Anchor Chiefs, as they followed their first team clubmates’ win with a crushing 7-0 victory of their own.

Their win came against Braunton Fourths, one of the stronger teams in the division last season, and will surely set a platform for Chiefs for the season to come.

Only ten of the league’s 15 clubs were in action on the opening weekend, with Hartland Reserves chalking up a big win over South Molton Reserves.

Hartland were four up before half time, with their side looking very good on the front foot, though South Molton’s new-look side did begin to gel in the far more even second half.

Landkey Town Reserves also looked good on opening day, winning 3-0 at home to Woolsery Reserves.

There were also wins for Putford Reserves, who beat Merton Reserves 2-1, and for newly-formed Bideford Acadmey, who kept a clean sheet in their first league game as they came away with a 1-0 win over Georgeham and Croyde Reserves.

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