Bideford banished any lingering fears of relegation from the Western Counties West by beating Winscombe 38-13 at KGV.

Bideford's Alex Priest is brought to ground. Picture: Kevin CrowlBideford's Alex Priest is brought to ground. Picture: Kevin Crowl

The signs were not good in the first half of the season for Bideford after they failed to win any of their first eight games.

The situation changed either side of Christmas – a win over frontrunners St Austell was significant – and from them on Bideford gradually climbed the table.

There was still a danger of going down on the final day of the season if Bideford lost and Chard defeated Wellington. Beating Winscombe rendered that worry redundant.

After relegation from South West One last season, and the loss of a few players during the close season, new coach Simon Morrell knew he would have a job on his hands.

Tom Evans in the midst of the action for Bideford against Winscombe. Picture: Kevin CrowlTom Evans in the midst of the action for Bideford against Winscombe. Picture: Kevin Crowl

There have been plenty of ups and downs, but Morrell is confident the direction of travel is now in the right direction.

“Overall we can be pleased with the progress we have made this season,” said Morrell.

“There is a genuine positivity around the group that we have turned the corner and are very much on the upward curve.

“We have come an awful long way in a short period of time and it is credit to the positivity and commitment of the boys that we were able to rebuild and maintain our league status.

Bideford's  Olly Sanders wins a lineout against Winscombe. Picture: Kevin CrowlBideford's Olly Sanders wins a lineout against Winscombe. Picture: Kevin Crowl

“The boys should be so proud of their efforts this season. Often, when the chips are down, it is all too easy to let other commitments get in the way of training and trips to Cornwall.

“The boys' enthusiasm and desire never wavered, with exceptional turnouts each and every Tuesday and Thursday evening.

“It is also worth mentioning that we have also managed to fulfil all but one of our second XV fixtures, home and away. Given last season's turnover of players, this is a very encouraging sign.”

Morrell said his young squad will come back in August older and hopefully wiser for their experiences.

Bloodied Bideford captain, Dean Folland, was named Players' Player of the Year after the game. Picture: Kevin CrowlBloodied Bideford captain, Dean Folland, was named Players' Player of the Year after the game. Picture: Kevin Crowl

“We must now kick on as we can ill afford another slow start to the season,” said Morrell.

“We have a squad with the average age of 23 so I expect some meaningful development from them during pre-season and we will certainly put them through their paces.”

Bideford's try scorers in the win over Winscombe were Chris Snell, Dean Folland, Peter Bowes and Nick Evans. Snell kicked the goals.