This week’s North Devon Gazette Football League round-up

PREMIER

Braunton have opened up a commanding seven point lead in the race for the premier division title.

Last season's runners-up looked to be heading for the same fate again early on this season when they lost twice against fellow title-chasers Boca Seniors, but only one defeat since then has seen them take control of the title race.

They continued their remarkable form on Saturday, with two goals from Sam Box helping them to a 3-1 win at Torrington.

Ian Wheatley also scored for Braunton, while Torrington's goal came from Kai Dymond.

That result followed a 2-0 midweek win at Bideford Reserves, with Box again on target and Ross Maynard also scoring as Bideford were reduced to nine men.

Boca Seniors are still in touch, though, thanks to a 2-0 win of their own at Bradworthy.

Jake Crush bagged a brace to earn all three points, and Boca now have a game in hand on Braunton going into the run-in.

But the games are beginning to run out now, with Braunton needing four wins from their final five games to secure the trophy.

Resurgent Ilfracombe were in the mood, putting eight past Shebbear United on Saturday.

They are now up to sixth, and just a point off fourth place.

Park United, too, were in fine goal scoring form, winning 7-0 at Fremington to remain seventh.

Bideford Reserves have seen their position in the top four come under threat after a disappointing 2-2 draw at Barnstaple FC.

Bideford are now only ahead of Shamwickshire Rovers on goal difference, and do not play this weekend.

Torridgeside remain third, and are only four points behind Boca at the sharp end of the table.

They didn't have to play for their points on Saturday, as they were awarded a walkover against Barnstaple AAC.

They host Shamwickshire this weekend.

SENIOR

Braunton Reserves extended their lead at the top of the senior division to 10 points with a convincing 4-0 win over Merton.

Tavis Farilie scored twice for Braunton, with Jason Jones and Raith Whattingham also on target.

The victory puts them well ahead on points, but the two sides directly belwo them do have a handful of games in hand to make up.

Landkey Town had looked the most likely to chase Braunton down, but they slipped up this weekend.

A 3-3 draw at home to mid-table Shamwickshire Reserves has left them 11 points adrift, although they do have five games in hand.

But as this weekend's results showed, winning those games will be anything but a formality.

Hartland overtook Landkey and went second with a 5-2 win at Lynton and Lynmouth, and they have three games to make up on Braunton.

North Molton Reserves recorded the biggest win of the weekend, beating Northam Lions 8-0.

Brad Campbell came off the bench to grab a hat-trick, with two apiece for Jon Butler and Blake Ladley. Oliver Chalk completed the scoring.

Elsewhere in the division, Woolacombe and Mortehoe and Woolsery both scored six on their way to impressive wins, and Combe Martin put four past Putford. Georgeham beat South Molton 3-0.

INTERMEDIATE ONE

Things are really starting to heat up in the intermediate one title race as Chivenor extended their winning run in the league to 11 games.

That form has seen them close to within just two points of Barnstaple AAC Reserves, who have topped the division for the majority of the season.

However, Chivenor have made the most of their games in hand, and with three more still in their back pockets they can rightly be considered favourites to win the league.

They made heavy work of beating Morwenstow Reserves, though, with goals from Christopher and Nathan Murrin enough to earn a 2-1 win.

Ilfracombe Reserves tightened their grip on third with a commanding 5-1 win over North Molton Thirds as some of the teams around them faltered.

Combe's goals came from Joe Alcock (2), Craig Hawkins, Tristan Leech and Ki Standley.

Meanwhile, both Clovelly and Pilton dropped points in surprising fashion.

Clovelly were held 5-5 in an incredible draw with Equalizers, while Pilton lost 3-1 at Barnstaple FC Reserves.

Fourth-placed Sporting Barum did win 3-0 against High Bickington, but have now had three points docked for failing to raise a side last weekend.

There were also wins for Anchor Chiefs and Braunton Thirds.

INTERMEDIATE TWO

Bideford Academy won a thrilling game at Merton Reserves by four goals to three to make it three wins on the bounce.

The goals came from Adam Randleson, Billy Blackburn, Charlie Webb and Terry Hollingsworth and kept Bideford within three points of the top of the table.

League leaders Appledore Academy were awarded a walkover, so maintained their gap and still have five games in hand to play.

Fremington Reserves won 3-2 at Georgeham, thanks to goals from Ben Ferne, Daniel Rolfe and Jamie Rolfe.

The win took them third, still some eight points off the top two.

Hartland Reserves cemented sixth spot with a 4-2 win over Braunton Fourths, while Putford Reserves and Anchor Chiefs Reserves could not be separated and shared a 2-2 draw.

Woolsery Reserves made light work of 13th-placed South Molton Reserves, beating them 5-0 to move up to ninth.