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North Devon Association Football League - History
League Tables and Cups

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1996-97

Officers
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Cup Results
Brayford Cup - Shamwickshire 3-2 Bradworthy
Combe Martin Cup - Lynton 4-0 Appledore/BAAC
Arlington Cup - Shamwickshire Reserves (2-2) 1-0 Inter Cleos
Bideford Tool Cup - Clovelly 4-3 Lynton Reserves

Premier Division

THE BEST TITLE RACE IN HISTORY?

Photo: Shamwickshire Rovers team 1996/97This season's North Devon Premier Division title race looks like it could go right down to the wire.But it is doubtful whether this, or any other, season will ever match the tension-filled climax of the 1996/97 campaign. In what is widely regarded as the league's most exciting finale ever, Shamwickshire Rovers travelled to Fremington needing a last-day miracle. Trailing their hosts by three points, the East-the-Water club had to beat their title rivals by four clear goals to pinch the silverware on goal difference. In the event, Shammy overcame the odds to record a stunning 7-2 win with three of those goals coming in a frantic late spell. Kevin Mugford, Mark Stevens and Elliot Waldron each scored twice while long-serving skipper Michael Hookway weighed in with a vital effort. In his match report at the time, former Journal sports editor Dave Pedler wrote: "If you weren't there, you won't believe it. I was and I'm still not sure that I do!" "There can't have been a more dramatic or emotional climax to a league season in the history of North Devon football." It was a day that former Shamwickshire manager Neil 'Nipper' Peake will never forget. "I remember saying to the boys before the game, if anyone can do it, we can," he recalled. "We conceded quite a few goals that season, but we were always one of those sides, where, if they scored four goals, we would score five." Shammy's title hopes looked to be fading in the final weeks of the season when popular goalkeeper Russell 'Sumo' Young was seriously injured in an accident at work. Eventually, Nipper had to don the gloves himself and, two days before the Fremington game, he played in the Brayford Cup final when Shammy hit back from 2-0 down to beat Bradworthy 3-2. After visiting Sumo in hospital with the cup, the Shammy squad were stunned when he turned up to cheer them on at Fremington. "He was seriously ill at the time but he was determined to get down and watch the game," said Peake. "There was a hell of a crowd up there - probably the biggest crowd I've ever played in front of - and everyone there said no one will ever win it like that again. For it to all boil down to that last game was mental. "I always remember Michael Hookway crying in the changing rooms after the game, he couldn't believe it. "He'd been at Shammy for 20 years and for anybody who plays football in North Devon, the aim is always to win that Premier Division title." Colin Pepper's Fremington had a reputation for playing attractive football but they found Shamwickshire's uncompromising approach difficult to deal with. "I always thought Fremington were easy to bully," said Peake. "A good, fit, hard side would always give them Photo: Shamwickshire winning the Premier Cupa lot of trouble." "They were a good footballing side, you can't take that away from them; when they had the ball, it was difficult to get it back. But we had the edge with the physical side and we were so fit." The epic victory was the start of a golden era for Shamwickshire as they went on to win the Premier title five times in seven years. The club gained a fearsome reputation for its competitive nature and, even at training, there was always an edge to the way they played. "We would play a lot of 5-a-side and every week it would end up being an absolute war - we used to kick lumps out of each other," recalled Peake. "I always told them 'a good whinger is a good winner'. "Players like Kevin Mugford and Gary Suggate used to whine for England. They would grizzle if I ever went to take them off; they wanted to play in every minute of every game. "We all ended up as brilliant friends and some of the laughs we had were unbelievable "All the boys were absolutely brilliant and I sometimes think I'd like to turn the clock back." That crazy-gang spirit even saw players letting fire crackers go off inside the changing rooms and the infamous Nipper-kipper incident. "I told everybody to bring in a kipper one day," recalled the boss. "Dave Loder was the ref and after the game, we stuffed about 12 kippers into his kit bag. They must have been stinking when he found them on Monday morning!"

Season Division Pos   P W D L F A P
1996/97 Premier 1 Shamwickshire Rovers 34 27 3 4 153 48 84
1996/97 Premier 2 Fremington 34 27 3 4 146 44 84
1996/97 Premier 3 Braunton 34 22 4 8 100 32 70
1996/97 Premier 4 Bradworthy 34 19 6 9 76 52 63
1996/97 Premier 5 Appledore/BAAC 34 18 9 7 54 38 63
1996/97 Premier 6 Ilfracombe Town Reserves 34 18 8 8 83 42 62
1996/97 Premier 7 Combe Martin 34 17 8 9 90 56 59
1996/97 Premier 8 Barnstaple AAC 34 14 5 15 70 71 47
1996/97 Premier 9 Torrington Admirals 34 12 7 15 61 77 43
1996/97 Premier 10 Torrington 34 12 7 15 56 77 43
1996/97 Premier 11 Morwenstow 34 12 6 16 63 80 42
1996/97 Premier 12 Kilkhampton 34 10 8 16 63 98 38
1996/97 Premier 13 Holsworthy 34 8 10 16 58 73 34
1996/97 Premier 14 Chittlehampton 34 8 8 18 45 75 32
1996/97 Premier 15 Putford 34 10 1 23 45 94 31
1996/97 Premier 16 Georgeham & Croyde 34 8 5 21 61 104 29
1996/97 Premier 17 Northam Lions 34 7 3 24 40 79 24
1996/97 Premier 18 Dolton 34 5 3 26 30 153 18

Senior Division

Season Division Pos   P W D L F A P
1996/97 Senior 1 South Molton 30 23 5 2 142 29 74
1996/97 Senior 2 Braunton FP 30 23 4 3 106 32 73
1996/97 Senior 3 Lynton & Lynmouth 30 21 5 4 103 50 68
1996/97 Senior 4 Shebbear United 30 20 4 6 81 29 64
1996/97 Senior 5 Golden Lion Tap 30 17 5 8 90 48 56
1996/97 Senior 6 Ebberley Arms 30 13 4 13 65 59 43
1996/97 Senior 7 Mortehoe 30 14 1 15 83 88 43
1996/97 Senior 8 Bridgerule 30 12 4 14 38 61 40
1996/97 Senior 9 Bratton Fleming 30 12 2 16 75 91 38
1996/97 Senior 10 Combe Martin Reserves 30 12 2 16 73 93 38
1996/97 Senior 11 North Molton 30 9 8 13 65 81 35
1996/97 Senior 12 Appledore/BAAC Reserves 30 9 4 17 59 78 31
1996/97 Senior 13 Bradworthy Reserves 30 9 2 19 39 88 29
1996/97 Senior 14 Bude Town 30 7 7 16 57 78 28
1996/97 Senior 15 Hartland 30 3 6 21 44 119 14*
1996/97 Senior 16 Rolle Quay 30 1 5 24 32 130 8

*Adjustment made

Intermediate 1

Season Division Pos   P W D L F A P
1996/97 Intermediate 1 1 Barnstaple Riverside 30 25 2 3 168 50 77
1996/97 Intermediate 1 2 Inter Cleos 30 23 5 2 107 34 74
1996/97 Intermediate 1 3 Woolsery 30 22 7 1 100 25 73
1996/97 Intermediate 1 4 Braunton Reserves 30 20 3 7 106 46 63
1996/97 Intermediate 1 5 Shamwickshire Rovers Reserves 30 19 3 8 110 53 60
1996/97 Intermediate 1 6 Torrington Reserves 30 18 3 9 105 81 57
1996/97 Intermediate 1 7 Georgeham & Croyde Reserves 30 12 7 11 77 75 43
1996/97 Intermediate 1 8 Swimbridge 30 12 3 15 72 94 39
1996/97 Intermediate 1 9 Torrington Admirals Reserves 30 11 5 14 66 89 38
1996/97 Intermediate 1 10 Landkey Town 30 11 5 14 89 117 38
1996/97 Intermediate 1 11 Buckland Brewer 30 9 2 19 82 87 29
1996/97 Intermediate 1 12 Northam Lions Reserves 30 8 4 18 53 75 28
1996/97 Intermediate 1 13 Barnstaple AAC Reserves 30 7 6 17 68 87 27
1996/97 Intermediate 1 14 Putford Reserves 30 7 0 23 64 93 21
1996/97 Intermediate 1 15 South Molton Reserves 30 4 5 21 45 119 17
1996/97 Intermediate 1 16 Merton 30 2 0 28 39 189 6

Intermediate 2

Season Division Pos   P W D L F A P
1996/97 Intermediate 2 1 Westward Ho! Athletic 28 22 1 5 127 41 67
1996/97 Intermediate 2 2 Bideford 28 20 3 5 152 38 63
1996/97 Intermediate 2 3 FC Porto 28 19 3 6 84 34 60
1996/97 Intermediate 2 4 Clovelly 28 17 3 8 104 64 54
1996/97 Intermediate 2 5 High Bickington 28 16 5 7 96 51 53
1996/97 Intermediate 2 6 Braunton FP Reserves 28 15 5 8 72 38 50
1996/97 Intermediate 2 7 Pilton Academicals 28 14 4 10 87 71 46
1996/97 Intermediate 2 8 North Molton Reserves 28 11 5 12 70 72 38
1996/97 Intermediate 2 9 Lynton & Lynmouth Reserves 28 10 2 16 69 91 32
1996/97 Intermediate 2 10 Hartland Reserves 28 10 2 16 59 86 32
1996/97 Intermediate 2 11 Landkey Town Reserves 28 8 4 16 70 124 28
1996/97 Intermediate 2 12 Mortehoe Reserves 28 7 4 17 51 93 25
1996/97 Intermediate 2 13 Chittlehampton 28 7 2 19 53 128 23
1996/97 Intermediate 2 14 Admiral Vernon 28 6 2 20 58 122 20
1996/97 Intermediate 2 15 Shebbear United Reserves 28 5 1 22 44 133 16