A NEW season kicks off on Saturday and two of the traditional forces in the North Devon League are ready for their return to the Premier Division.
After an absence in recent years, Fremington and Torrington are back.
Three years and three promotions since their club was reformed, Fremington arrive in the top flight with a home game against Appledore.
Having lost only once on their way to the Senior Division title last term, John Thompson, the manager, has kept a successful squad together.
Lee Capner has signed from Landkey Town and Darren Roach from Braunton, while their attacking options are boosted by Dan Larcombe, the former Wrey Arms player, joining his brother Simon in attack.
Although Kriss Boreham has stepped up to the Toolstation Western League with Barnstaple Town, Lee Langmead will provide valuable experience as he returns from an ankle injury.
"I am sure we'll hold our own," said Thompson. "Lee Langmead is like a new signing because he didn't play at all for us last year. If we can keep him fit that will be a big bonus."
Torrington bounced back to the Premier Division at the first attempt by finishing runners-up to Fremington.
They have added Nathan Delaune, the top scorer from Merton who is expected to line-up in midfield with Cory Hynd, and have held on to prolific striker Danny Jenkins.
"We have got competition for places all over the park," said Steve Bartlett, the manager. "I think we'll surprise a few teams."
Torridgeside begin their title defence without several players who contributed to their success.
Ian Cockwill and Jamie Bright have joined Ilfracombe Town and Kyle Paine has gone to Barnstaple Town.
Marc Bettiss, the top scorer, is still struggling with the knee injury he suffered in the Brayford Cup final but Nathan Walter is hoping to return after missing last season through injury.
Having missed out on the championship on goal difference, Bideford look well placed to challenge. Apart from Sam Stephens, who has joined Barnstaple, the rest of the squad have stayed.
Dean Johns has taken over as manager from Stephens and added midfielder Paul Dart, from Morwenstow, and Appledore forward Nick Glover.
For the first time in years Boca Seniors will head into the season without expectations of challenging for the title.
After a host of departures – including Scott Sharp, Jack Jenkins and Jimmy Thorne to Barnstaple – and the retirement of Mark Barrow, manager Darren Todd is writing off their chances. "I have lost 13 players," he said. "I'll be amazed if we get anything."
Todd has brought in Ciaron Lishman and on Saturday he will line up against his former club Chittlehampton who are aiming to survive a second season in the Premier Division.
Braunton are having their facilities inspected this week with a view to applying for promotion to the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League.
They have assembled a strong squad with Joe Seldon, Simon Townsend and Radley Watkins returning from Combe Martin and Mark Gilfillan joining from Boca.
Kye Goodman and Shaun Brown have signed from Ilfracombe and Russell Harrison and Tom White are available again after travelling.
It has been a busy summer at Barnstaple AAC where new manager Darren Hollyoak has made a number of signings, including Giles Daniel, Kurt Bayliss, Ryan Crompton, Lee Fry, Ed Jenkins, Wayne Parkhouse, Damian Green, Josh Pearce, Craig Sandle and Kyson Chugg.
Martin Davey, the player-manager, is optimistic Shebbear United can improve on last season's 12th place.
"We don't want to be a bottom-four side," said Davey. "If we can get in the top half that would be brilliant."
Shebbear start with a home match against Ilfracombe Town who have remained unbeaten in pre-season and are aiming for a top-five finish under new manager Kenny Robertson.
Appledore, to be run by joint managers Kevin Fishwick and Steve Langbridge, are optimistic of bettering last season's eighth place after winning all four of their warm-up games.
At the age of 25, Rob Avery looks set to be their oldest player.
Neil Batty will ask his young Dolton side to make themselves hard to beat after losing the Tubb brothers, with Billy joining Appledore and Charlie going to Torridgeside.
"I've told everybody it's going to be a tough season but we have got to be up for it," said Batty.
Dolton kick off with a home game against Shamwickshire Rovers who begin a new era without long-serving manager Gary Ford. Shane Ackland was appointed as his successor at a club meeting on Tuesday.
"It's going to take a bit of time to start building it again but we'll get it right," said Ackland.
Bradworthy have brought in Will Tallamy, the former Putford goalkeeper, and Tom Shadrick, the defender, from Kilkhampton.
North Molton face a rebuilding task under James Tapp following the loss of key players including Liam Craze, Tom Marsh and Joe Tickle.
They start with a trip to Georgeham and Croyde who will have Alex Marks in charge for the first time following the departure of Terry Brennan and Justin Proctor to establish the new Chivenor club in Intermediate Two.