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

PREMIER

Boca Seniors sent out a clear message to their premier division rivals that they do not intend to give up their crown easily with a thumping 10-0 win.

Recent slips had allowed Braunton to open a seven-point advantage at the top of the North Devon Gazette Football League, but playing their game in hand on Saturday, Boca came up with 10 reasons why it is too early to discount them yet.

Scott Sharp starred with a hat-trick against Barnstaple AAC, while there were two goals each for Ciaron Lishman, Jake Crush and Elliot Whitecross. Ben Whitecross also scored.

The impressive manner of the win now gives Boca a clear advantage in terms of goal difference - theirs is 13 better than Braunton's - but the four-point gap will still be difficult to eclipse.

Boca played North Molton last night (Tues), after the Gazette had gone to print, and go to Ilfracombe on Saturday.

Braunton are at home to Park United at the weekend.

Torridgeside's slim hopes of challenging for the title ended with a 3-2 defeat at home to Shamwickshire Rovers.

They are now 11 points off Braunton with just five games to play.

Ilfracombe's resurgence in form continued at Park United on Saturday, winning 2-1 to move fourth.

Combe are now 11 games unbeaten, heading into their big clash with Boca Seniors this Saturday.

Last weekend also saw wins for North Molton and Barnstaple FC.

North Molton moved up one place to ninth with a 3-1 win over Shebbear United.

The Stags' goals came from Cory Roach (2) and Dean Plummer.

Barnstaple FC, meanwhile, pulled themselves out of immediate relegation danger with a 2-1 win at home to Torrington.

They now sit 11th, 10 points above 14th-placed Shebbear.

Appledore Reserves and Fremington shared the spoils with a 2-2 draw.

SENIOR

Braunton Reserves suffered a potentially critical loss at Putford on Saturday.

The senior division leaders are still seven points clear at the top of the table, but with games in hand there are a handful of teams below them who are circling.

Braunton were beaten 3-2 on Saturday, with goals from Darren Roach and Chris Roberts cancelled out by a Christopher hat-trick.

It was still just their fourth defeat of the season, but with the games beginning to run out they will surely need to make sure it is their last if this is to be their year.

The two teams closest to them, Hartland and Landkey Town, both took full advantage by winning their matches.

Hartland reduced the gap to seven points with a 5-2 win over Lynton and Lynmouth, and have three games in hand on Braunton.

Hartland's goals came from Richard Davey (2), Dan Gifford, Daniel Slee and Dan Wilson.

Having only lost once this season, Landkey are also well in the title hunt, and a 2-0 win at South Molton has done nothing to harm their chances.

The win leaves them eight points off top spot with five games in hand.

It was a good weekend for Chittlehampton, who followed a 3-0 win at Shamwickshire Reserves on Saturday with an 8-2 victory over Woolacombe on Sunday.

INTERMEDIATE ONE

Two wins in a week have fired Chivenor top of intermediate one.

They have looked the side most likely to chase down early pace-setters Barnstaple AAC Reserves all season, and finally overtook them last Wednesday night with a 5-2 win at Clovelly.

That win was inspired by a Tommy Herd hat-trick, with Timmy Pike and Sam Wilkinson also scoring.

Crucially, they then built on that result on Saturday to beat Equalizers 9-1 and open a four-point gap to Ammies - with a game still in hand.

Chivenor's goal difference - which is almost 50 goals healthier than their rivals - will be another cause for optimism among the Military Men.

The top two go head-to-head tonight (Wednesday) at the RMB Chivenor playing fields.

Pilton's stuttering promotion bid took another hit on Saturday, as they lost 5-3 at Ilfracombe Reserves.

Quyen Tran bagged a hat-trick for Pilton, but goals from Will Berry (2), Tristan Leech and Colin Woodcock (2) took Ilfracombe third.

North Molton Thirds won a 5-4 thriller at Northam Reserves, leaving them ninth.

There were also wins for Anchor Chiefs and Braunton Thirds, steering them to eight and seventh in the table respectively.

Anchor Chiefs beat Clovelly 5-2, while Braunton were 2-0 winners at home to Torrington Reserves.

INTERMEDIATE TWO

Appledore Academy handed out a nine-goal trouncing to Putford Reserves to stay on track for the intermediate two title in their first season of North Devon League action.

Appledore won 9-0 on Sunday to open their lead over Bideford Academy to six points, having still played four games fewer than their closest title challengers.

Two of the other five weekend matches also yielded nine goals, but both were much closer affairs than Appledore's win.

Lynton and Lynmouth Reserves moved off the foot of the table with a 5-4 win over Anchor Chiefs Reserves, while Hartland won by the odd goal in nine at Woolsery Reserves.

Four goals from Ryan Down helped Merton Reserves to a 6-1 win over 10-man Putford Reserves.

Toby Skinner and Darren Smith also hit the target.

Braunton Fourths and Landkey Reserves also picked up wins.