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Torridgeside, Bideford to renew rivalry in Shield clash

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: August 01, 2013

DOUBLE WINNERS: Torridgeside celebrate with the Brayford Cup after beating Bideford in the final.

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THE FIERCEST rivalry in last season's North Devon League campaign is about to be renewed.

Two months after they met in front of 500 fans in the Brayford Cup final, Bideford reserves and Torridgeside return to Mill Road to try again.

Tomorrow evening at the home of Barnstaple Town they will battle for the season's first silverware – the Albert Beer Memorial Shield.

Last term Torridgeside clinched the title on goal difference then completed the double with two penalties from Paddy Ions for a 2-1 win in a tense cup final.

It was a cruel way for Bideford to miss out and they are determined to challenge for silverware again under new manager Dean Johns.

"There was talk that everyone was going to leave and go their separate ways but, the way we lost it, I think the players wanted to make up for it and have another crack at it," said Johns.

"I know our boys will be up for it after what happened in the Brayford Cup final."

Johns, 25, has taken over from Sam Stephens who has stepped up to play for Barnstaple Town in the Toolstation Western League.

Bideford have kept the rest of last season's squad and have strengthened in midfield by signing Paul Dart from Morwenstow and Nick Glover from Appledore.

The crowd for the Brayford Cup final was one of the largest seen for a North Devon League fixture in years.

"I reckon 80 per cent were Torridgeside fans," said Johns."I don't think we were very well liked.

"It just brings us closer together as a group. It's all a laugh. It's all in good nature.

"Maybe we were a bit of an unknown team because we had just come up from the Senior Division.

"This season teams will know we are capable and maybe they will stick players behind the ball."

Johns, a defender, first became assistant manager when a freak shoulder injury ended his season.

"I went out on New Year's Eve dressed as Yogi Bear," he said. "I woke up at 8am on New Year's Day, tried lifting myself out of bed and couldn't move my left arm.

"I don't know how I did it but I ruptured all the ligaments in my left shoulder.

"The doctor told me to leave football for a while so that's why I ended up helping Sam out on the sidelines in a suit."

For Barry Paine, the Torridgeside manager, keeping a successful squad together has proved more difficult.

His son Kyle has signed for Barnstaple Town while Ian Cockwill and Jamie Bright have played for Ilfracombe Town in pre-season.

Marc Bettiss is still recovering from the knee injury he suffered in the Brayford Cup final and Mike Hedden has had back surgery.

Paine, who is hoping to sign Jon Vooght from Ilfracombe, accepted matching last season's achievements will be difficult.

"In the end it was really important to win what we did because we knew a lot of the players would be moving on," said Paine.

"We have always been a bit of a feeder club to the higher leagues and nothing has changed.

"There are some strong teams out there (in the North Devon League) but I think a lot of teams have lost players.

"We are in a position where we have got a quality set of youngsters coming through."

Whoever succeeds tomorrow, a new name will be added to the Albert Beer Memorial Shield after Boca Seniors won the competition in its first two years.

Given in memory of the former Devon FA and North Devon League president, the shield is played for between the Premier Division champions and Brayford Cup winners.

As Torridgeside won both trophies, Bideford have been invited as runners-up.

The match kicks off at 7.30pm. Entry costs £3 and all proceeds go to the North Devon League's benevolent fund.

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