This week’s North Devon Gazette Football League round-up.
The football season got back into full swing on Saturday as the first round of North Devon Gazette Football League fixtures took place.
In the Premier, there was a change of scenery for Boca Seniors, who played their first game at Mill Road.
Boca now occupy the former Barnstaple AAC ground, with coach Darren Todd overseeing a major revamp of the ground.
Redecorated changing rooms complete with new ceilings and fencing around the pitch are the more striking changes, with new goals also on the horizon.
“We’d like to see how this season goes – we can’t be sure of anything during the season – but if we do well we’ll have a go at moving up to the Peninsula League,” said Todd.
“It’s been a dream of ours for a long time. The facilities here are what is expected of that league, so hopefully we can get there – but there’s a lot of football to play before then.
“Braunton were the boys to beat last season and probably still will be.
“We had a good run last season and we’ve won the title seven times before, so we’ll see how it goes – I’m looking forward to it.”
Boca welcomed Premier new boys Hartland on Saturday, and prevailed in horrendous contitions to win 3-0.
Danny Jenkins got the hosts off the mark with a delicate lob in what was the only goal of the first half.
After the break Mark Turner made it two with a close range finish before Jenkins got his second of the day minutes later.
Braunton’s 7-1 win at Landkey Town sent a statement that they are still very much the boys to beat.
The woodwork made sure the score was only 2-1 at half-time, with four of the away side’s efforts hitting the post and one hitting the bar.
Dave Mason got them off the mark before Ben Taylor levelled.
But goals from Sam Box, Ricky Marinaro, Dan Roberts and substitutes Adam Baxter, Ross Jones and Ross Maynard gave the champions an impressive win to start to the season.
Ilfracombe Town also got off to a flyer – beating Shebbear United 8-2.
Simon Townsend bagged a hat-trick, while Charlie Prentice, Peter Varley, James Harker, Rob Taylor and Joe Seldon also netted.
There were also wins for Park United, who beat Fremington 6-2, while Shamwickshire Rovers beat new boys Georgeham and Croyde 5-1.
Other fixtures saw Bideford and Barnstaple FC play out a stalemate, while Torrington and Bradworthy drew 2-2.
Gary Clarke and William Jenkins scored for Bradworthy, with Simon Higgins netting twice for the away side.
Sporting Barum dropped their first points since May 2015 in their first game of the Senior season.
They drew 2-2 with Braunton Reserves on Saturday to end a winning run stretching back 15 months.
Braunton were the last side to take points off Barum, who beat them 3-1 on May 2, 2015.
Marcus Mahoney played in that match, and he was on the scoresheet on Saturday alongside Matt Deakin for Barum’s goals.
Elsewhere in the league, Ilfracombe Reserves got off to the best start out of anyone, beating Merton 5-1 at Marlborough Park.
Mark Gilfillan scored two for the Bluebirds – including one from the spot – with Dan Wright, Josh Phillips and Adam Bryant also netting.
Kingsley League newcomers Kilkhampton earned a 3-2 win over Shamwickshire Rovers Reserves.
Goals from Dave Hales, Ashley Richards and Thomas Shadrick were enough for Kilk, with Tom Griffin and Martyn Harris scoring for Shammy, who finished the match with 10 men.
Goals from Chris Bell and Maurice Knuckey earned Putford a 2-1 win over Torridgeside, who scored through Matt Bolton.
Chittlehampton beat newcomers Stratton United 3-1.
There were also opening day wins for Chivenor and Northam Lions.
There were plenty of goals on the first day of the Intermediate One season.
The ball found the net 55 times across the seven games on Saturday, with each home side winning.
Twelve of those came at Moreton Park, where Bideford CAFC Reserves beat Equalizers 7-5.
Billy Parsons netted a hat-trick for the home side, with a brace from Liam Shaxton and goals from Owen Pennington and Ben Sherborne.
Equalizers got their goals through a Steve Isaac hat-trick, Ryan Bosson and Aaron Moan.
Appledore Reserves got over a tumultuous off-season to beat Barnstaple FC Reserves 9-1.
The name change came for the Fishermen after the reserve team in the Premier was forced to fold.
After a difficult campaign last season, South Molton got off to winning ways with a 5-3 win over Landkey Town Reserves.
Coming from 2-0 down, Ryan Isaac scored a hat-trick and Ross Curtis a brace to ensure victory.
Torrington Reserves also netted five, beating Lynton 5-4.
Will Croxford scored two for the home side, with Jack Gardiner, Jack Kirby and Callum Hookway adding the extras.
Adam Harris, Martin Rawle and Jamie Smith scored for the away side.
There were also opening day wins for North Molton, beating promoted Ilfracombe Thirds, with Clovelly and Braunton Thirds also winning.
There were some impressive starts to the Intermediate Two season from the division’s new boys.
Shebbear United Reserves, Holsworthy Reserves and Bridgrule all picked up wins in their first matches.
For Holsworthy, goals from Dragos Placinta (2), Justin Miscevicius, Bradley Birch and Jacob Nosworthy helped them to an 8-0 win over Woolsery.
Shebbear also netted eight, with Hartland scoring two in reply.
New boys Torridgeside Thirds drew 1-1 with Combe Martin Reserves.
Intermediate Two’s battle of the Lions saw Northam beat Appledore 4-2.
Got a match report? Contact Matt on the sports desk by emailing email@example.com