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Barnstaple Town aim to win Devon Veterans Cup

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: March 21, 2013

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A BLEND of "youth" and experience can bring the Devon Veterans Cup back to Barnstaple Town.

Town travel to Newton Abbot for the final against Topsham Town at Devon FA headquarters tomorrow night.

Unbeaten in the Devon County Veterans League this season, they are in excellent form ahead of their first county final.

With wins against Okehampton Argyle and Bideford in the previous rounds, Gary Marsh's side are yet to concede a goal in the competition.

Marsh formed the veterans in 1999 and can call on long-serving players like Paul Jenkins, Doug McLynn, Kevin Hambleton, Mark Sleeman and Pete Turner.

The competition is for players aged 40 and over with a quota of four over-35s permitted.

The introduction of under-age players Matt Deakin, Darren Babb, Jason Hammond and Mark Rippon has given Barnstaple a new lease of life.

Marsh said: "Most of the team have been together for six or seven years.

"This is our third year in Devon veterans competitions and we have had to bring in some younger players to compete.

"We just felt veterans are players who have finished playing regular football."

Although McLynn will miss the final due to a holiday, Barnstaple can call on a strong squad.

For Deakin and Babb, it will be a first county final since winning the Devon Premier Cup with Boca Seniors in 2009.

John Thompson, the Fremington manager, goes back further having won the Devon Senior Cup with Barnstaple Town in the late Nineties.

Known as an energetic midfielder in his younger days, he is happy to play at the back now.

"Hopefully we'll give a good account of ourselves," said Thompson.

"There are not many occasions you get the chance to play in a county cup final, especially when you get to my age.

"I've actually bought a new pair of boots – for £9 in a liquidation sale. They'll last two seasons, the number of games I play these days."

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