Bideford well placed to be No 1 in North Devon League
TWICE runners-up in the North Devon League last season, it will take a good team to stop Bideford reserves being No 1 this time around.
In 2012-13 that team was Torridgeside, beating Bideford into second place in the Premier Division and Brayford Cup.
But they were a shadow of that double-winning team in a 5-1 defeat when the Albert Beer Memorial Shield heralded the start of a new season at Barnstaple Town's Mill Road on Friday evening.
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Of Torridgeside's 17-man squad only six were involved in the 2-1 win over Bideford in the Brayford Cup final at the same venue 11 weeks earlier.
Bideford, in contrast, had 14 players who were on duty in the final and played with the same commitment and noise that earned them points, if not popularity, last season.
That commitment was perhaps a little too much in what amounted to a pre-season friendly, particularly when Rikki Williams threw himself into a 50-50 challenge with Harry Taffs in the eighth minute and the Torridgeside defender emerged with a broken right leg.
There were no complaints about Williams's tackle and for a moment play continued with everyone seeming oblivious to how badly Taffs was injured.
It was an unfortunate coincidence that gate money from the match went into the league's benevolent fund for injured players.
There was a 23-minute hold-up while an ambulance arrived on the pitch and took Taffs to hospital.
Bideford had dominated before the incident and continued to do so after it.
Having taken the lead in first-half stoppage time, they went on to score four more after the break.
Aaron Stevens turned in a left-wing cross for the opening goal and another delivery from the left flank brought the second on 52 minutes. This time it was Stevens supplying the cross for Jake Shambrook to head in.
On 59 minutes, Will Nicholls made it 3-0, drilling in a low left-footed free kick from 25 yards.
Bideford were in full control and threatening to run away with it – but Torridgeside hit back three minutes later.
Seizing on a rebound off the crossbar, Jethro Kimber drilled in a first-time shot.
Bideford restored their three-goal advantage in the 77th minute when Joe Grimley showed composure to take a touch and slot the ball in.
Nick Glover, in his first game since signing from Appledore, broke clear to make it 5-1 three minutes from time.
Torridgeside: Adrian Sealey, Paul Boundy, Paddy Ions, Scott Huxtable, Harry Taffs, Martin Boundy, Richie Bright, Greg Mitchell, Rob Holland, Ian Rowe, Jules Dymond. Subs: Rory Paine, Simon Grigg, Jethro Kimber, Drew Sullivan, Kyle Paine, Ian Cockwill.
Bideford: Peter Ellis, Tom Hayne, Jake Shambrook, Ben Ford, Carl Holliman, Rikki Williams, Paul Dart, Aaron Stevens, Nick Glover, Nathan Bate, Will Nicholls. Subs: Matt Kelly, Ant Moyse, Sam Grimley, Joe Grimley, Sam Stephens, Jake England.