THE FIRST fixture in the new North Devon Under-18 League produced an entertaining contest and a 6-3 win for Bideford over SAS Barnstaple.
It looked as though it would be a tough game for Bideford when Barnstaple raced into an early 2-0 lead.
However, once the Robins found their feet they scored six unanswered goals until Barnstaple got a third near the end.
The scorers for Bideford were Ryan Peters (three), Ben Radcliffe, Billy Taylor and Charlie Allman.
Bideford and SAS are joined in the league, which is sponsored by Petroc and West Country Cleaning Services, by Barnstaple Town and Bideford College Academy. Petroc and Barnstaple FC will join after the winter break.
Pete North, head coach of Bideford Youth and the North Devon Youth League under-18 development officer, said: "It has been hard work getting this new league started but hopefully it will grow year on year to bridge the gap between under-16 and men's football. Even training is a big step up from junior to adult football. Some of the big players can hold their own but some won't be able to and under-18s is the best pathway for them."
Braunton Wanderers under-15s kicked off their North Devon League campaign with a 9-0 win away to Total Football. Braunton's squad of 16 impressed with their workrate and were as happy with the clean sheet as the goals by Kobe Bryant (four), Ollie Stevens (two), Jed Pearce (two) and Matt King.
Ilfracombe Town under-12s started with a 6-2 win at South Molton with goals from Tom Gover (three), Ben Jenkins, Cameron Seymour and Lewis Hewitt.
Brandon Moore and Nathan Meredith scored for SAS in a 5-2 defeat to Braunton Wanderers. A hat-trick from Lewis Lowe led the home side to victory, with Joel Kirby and Isaac Brown completing the scoring.
Matthew Wildgoose and Noah Hanson were on target for Braunton in a 3-2 defeat to Chulmleigh in Division Two.
South Molton under-11s won a thrilling match against Moors Youth 7-5.
Molton dominated the first half to take a 5-1 lead but Moors scored four quick goals after the break to level at 5-5.
South Molton composed themselves and struck twice in the final 10 minutes to complete the win. Their scorers were Alfie Harris (two), Alfie Richardson (two), Finley Evans (two) and Connor Gill.
Barnstaple Youth started with a 7-1 win against Ilfracombe Town thanks to hat-tricks from Brandon Sharples and Callum Davey and a single strike by Nathan Gulliford. Their star player was Ella Martindill.
A superb display from Jamie Hearsey led Braunton Wanderers to their second win of the season. He hit seven goals and Henry Cooper got the other in an 8-1 win over Fremington.