Brixham face tough test in first league start after club merger
BRIXHAM AFC boss Jason Couch will finally unveil his starting 11 this Saturday as the team begin their inaugural campaign at Upton Athletic.
Couch is likely to have a full squad to choose from, reporting a clean bill of health earlier this week.
In addition to most of last season's Villa and United squad, Couch can call upon a host of new signings, including Jimmy Holland (Brixham Town), Scott Dodgson (Dartmouth), James Spence (Totnes and Dartington) and Joe Millyard (Galmpton).
Only Ben Adams and Lee Hazelwood are expected to be unavailable.
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Nevertheless, Couch insisted he was under no illusion about the enormity of their task, having been at Abbrook Park last Saturday to witness an impressive Upton display: Darren Bastow (penalty), Chris Srdinko and Justin Grinsall netted in a 3-0 win over Watts, Blake and Bearne.
Upton will be strengthened further by the return of both Louis Bergin and Simon Lewcock.
Upton had been expected to unveil Alex Harding last weekend, but the youngster has returned to Kingskerswell and Chelston as the champions try to cope with an exodus that is starting to reach Biblical proportions.
Ollie Critchlow (Stoke), Ashley Edwards (Buckland) and Brook Ward have now followed Nick Rudge and Jordan Lam (both Liverton) away from Armada Park. But if Ipplepen are licking their lips in anticipation of Saturday's trip to Chelston, they will first need to think about how to silence Curtis Booth.
The powerful striker was too hot for Newton Abbot Spurs last Saturday as he grabbed a hat-trick against last year's Division One runners-up.
Kain Finnegan and Ryan Sanders had given Spurs a 2-1 lead at the break but despite 'Kerswell being limited to just the one substitute (16 year old Carl Johnson making his debut), the champions had just enough legs to scramble a last minute corner home for a 3-2 win. Matt Lear will now have to rally his troops for the arrival of WBB.
Buckland Reserves will get their SDFL league season underway at Homers Heath where Staverton & Landscove will be seeking to make up for a disappointing home defeat to Abbotskerswell.
The Abbots entertain Stoke Gabriel Reserves while Teignmouth Reserves, last years Division One champions, host Kingsteignton. The Rams will be keen to recover from a 5-3 opening loss at home to Loddiswell. Galmpton Reserves, who lost 3-0 at Ipplepen, will be hoping to take something away from their trip to Loddiswell.
In Division One, Buckfastleigh will be aiming to maintain the momentum which saw them put seven past a weakened Kingskerswell Reserves side. Their opponents Chudleigh travel to the Duckspond on the back of a 2-1 win at Newton 66. Hele Rovers will get their season underway against Dartmouth while Waldon, who beat Riviera Spurs 4-2 on the 3G pitch at Paignton College, take on Langdon. Bovey Reserves survived a penalty and a red card to make a winning start to their Division Two campaign. They go to Beesands who have made a good start with a 4-0 home victory over Harbertonford.
Newton Spurs Thirds scored eight at Foxhole and entertain Waldon Reserves in the pick of the Division Three fixtures, while, in Division Four, Marldon play their first match of the season at Lewthorne Cross, the scene of Ilsington's 9-2 drubbing of Paignton Villa Reserves.
Roselands make their highly anticipated Division Five debut at The Hams, while Torbay Police will seek to put their home defeat against Ipplepen Thirds behind them as Preston South End travel to Coach Road. AFC Staverton put eight past Riviera United last weekend and make their home debut against Teign Village Reserves.