North Devon rivals set to begin new Southern League season

North Devon Gazette

North Devon rivals Barnstaple and Bideford are set to begin the new Southern League South season on Saturday.

And having seen the last two campaigns curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, they will be hoping to get off 2021-22Â to a positive start.

Barum are due to host Lymington Town at Mill Road, having ended their pre-season campaign with a 1-1 draw against Elmore last week.

JJ Evans gave them an early lead but the home side hit back from the penalty spot to level.

Theo Ofori has signed and manager Dean Edwards told the club website: "I am well pleased to have Theo on board again. He is a wonderful talent and gets fans on their feet.

"He spent a week on trial at Exeter City and I fully expect interest to be shown in him again this season especially with him being a year older and a year stronger."

Experienced striker Stuart Bowker has joined on dual registration and another forward, Richard Achaempong, has also joined the ranks.

Edwards added: "Stuart played for me a few seasons ago and did very well and I need cover in all departments.

"He is a Helston player but we have to travel all over the country and I need to make sure we are covered in all positions."

Barum are due to visit Bristol Manor Farm on Tuesday.

Bideford, meanwhile, travel to Winchester City for their opening league fixture having ended their preparations with a creditable 0-0 draw at Southern League Premier side Tiverton Town last Friday.

Craig Duff blazed a first-half chance over the crossbar for the Robins, after home keeper Lewis Williams had fumbled a cross.

And Ed Butcher was let down by his first touch when played through on goal before the interval.

Javan Wright rattled the crossbar two minutes into the second half and Williams had to turn a Charlie Hanson shot around a post as the visitors kept pressing.

But Joe Tickle had to make a good save late on to deny Olaf Koszela and ensure it ended goalless.

Bideford will have home advantage when Barnstaple visit for an FA Cup preliminary round tie on Saturday week (August 21).

Admission on the day is £10 adults, £6 concessions (over-65, students, NHS, armed forces on proof of ID) and £2 for under-16s. Under-12s gain free entry but must be accompanied by an adult.