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North Devon Association Football League - History & Honours

A brief history of the North Devon Association Football League can be read here and there are links to pages that contain the final league tables and cup final results during their respective decades.

These pages are being worked on so please bear with us, if you have any old cuttings or photos that you feel could be useful to this project please use the contact button on the current league table pages.

League Tables & Cups - Listed for each Season since 1904, mainly complete but still being worked on.

Club Records - Listed for every club since 1904, view the playing record of every club that has ever played in the North Devon League.

Honours - A complete list of Winners of the Divisions and Cups, Club Administrator of the Year and the Harold Bartlett Memorial Trophy awarded to the highest average marked Referee of the Year.

League Clubs - Complete List of Clubs that have played in the North Devon Football League.

League Photos - Pictures of prominent league persons etc.

On 18th February 1904, a Mr Ralph Williams called Club Secretaries together with a view to forming a league. The Chairman was a Mr M Ffoulkes who, at the time played full-back for Parish Church AFC. Mr J B Challen gave a talk on the laws of the game. This was the start of the North Devon League which was reported in October 1904 as "making good progress".

Clubs in membership were Braunton, South Molton, Ilfracombe, Pilton, Pilton Social, Barnstaple YMCA, Bideford. A cup was presented by Mr W E Horne of South Molton (won outright by South Molton in 1908). League Secretary was a Mr G T Pyne. The first match played resulted Pilton 0 Braunton 4. A Junior Cup Competition was suggested - entries to Mr Ffoulkes. North Devon League XI drew 1-1 with an Exeter District League XI.

1905 Mr J B Challen elected Chairman. Senior Division played for the Horne Cup (won by Yeo Vale) and a Junior Division for the Soares Cup, (won outright by Barnstaple Park Rangers in 1924), won by South Molton.
1923 The Senior Division comprised Holsworthy, Bude, Ilfracombe, Corinthians, South Molton, Taw Shipyard, Bideford Town, Hansens (Bideford), Ilfracombe.
1925 Among the players registered were H J Horne, C R Dunning, and A J Payne (Shipyard); C Backway, R J Vodden, W Berry (Bideford); Lewis Ellis and J H Gilbert (Hansens); A E Pertherick, P Walsingham and D Piccerillo (Holsworthy); F V Follet, A Norman, A J and J Lovering (Combe Martin).
1932 League became all Junior and from the records available would appear to have remained so for many years.
1947 Concern was expressed at the ease at which teams could move from league to league.
1948 700 spectators at a League match: Torrington v South Molton. There were 54 teams in the League.
1951 Registration Secretary reported his season's postages amounted to #2 13s 7d.
1954 50th Anniversary Dinner cost 9/6d a head. Chief Guest, Sir Stanley Rous CBE who was knighted in the New Year Honours List of 1949. 1959 The year when we received the Artavia Cup and the Benevolent Fund was started on the suggestion of Mr E Wright (South Molton).
1962 The Pivot Trophy in memory of Ralph Stacey (who wrote in the "Pink 'Un" - Football Express, under that pen-name) was purchased jointly by clubs of N Devon and the Kingsley Leagues.
1963 RAF Chivenor were forced to withdraw due to closure of the Station.
1964 Brayford Cup (bequeathed in Will of Charles Slader) was received.
1969 It was decided to become a "one-status" League, thus bringing to an end the hours spent at meetings on "relegations".
1974 N D League visits Surrey to play the Surrey Intermediate League (Western).
1974/75 Bell Athletic are undefeated in Division 1, they drew 2 and won 20 games.
1975 N D League visits Surrey to play the Surrey Intermediate League (Western) again.
1977/78 Combe Martin win Division 1 and 5 trophies with a 16 man squad.
1978/79 Royal Exchange claim a 100% record in Division 4 with 18 wins, scoring 111 and only conceding 13.
1979 75th Anniversary Dinner. Chief Guest, Sir Stanley Rous CBE (Hon. President of FIFA and Hon. Vice-President of FA). League Chairman, John V Fry.
1991/92 Bratton Fleming Reserves only manage to pick up 1 point all season.
2004 100th Anniversary Dinner. Chief Guest, Peter Osgood, the last player to score in every round of the FA Cup including the Final. League Chairman William Smale.

Pivot Trophy
North Devon League v Kingsley League

The Annual Match for Cancer Research was first played in 1962. The first match played at Appledore was one of many played to raise money for Cancer Research and memory of Ralph Stacey, Administrator and reporter writing under the name of Pivot in the Old Pink football express. Ralph was Vice-Chair of the League for 12 years. Ralph did so much for football and was always honest in his reporting. If it was a bad match he said so and why!

The officials for the 1974 match were Austin Dunn, referee and Messrs Davies and Draper, linesmen (in those days). Bernie Newnham was Chair that year and Les Petherbridge and Harold Bartlett joint Secretaries. Representing North Devon League were Jimmy Campbell, D Pomeroy, J Richards, B Broad, I Quick, Chris Wilton, Merv Saltern, G Sykes, Ernie Cochrane, R Barrett, R Price. Team Manager was Ernie Sharland and Trainer W Donaghy.

First North Devon League Match

October 1904. Ilfracombe and Pilton Yeo Vale made local footballing history by competing against each other in the very first competitive fixture in the newly formed North Devon League. The Ilfracombe Team traveled to the away fixture by train and won the match by 4 goals to 2 after trailing 2-1 at half-time.

'Combe's 1st goal was scored by a Pilton OG. After lemons (half-time) Mogridge leveled for Ilfracombe the 3rd goal came from a penalty taken by full-back Quartly and Barrett netted the 4th.

Ilfracombe line up:-
G Southcombe (Capt), J Quartly, A Perriam, M Morris, B Hobbs, A Whitaker, G Barrett, C Huxtable, C Turner (Vice/Capt), W Crang, B Mogridge, Reserves, R Colwill, B Hill.

League Officers

The League has a good record of long service by its officers. Mr Coles Barratt served as Chairman for 22 years from 1924. In 1925 Mr Tom Summers (having been an Independent member for 3 years), was appointed Secretary, a post he occupied for 22 years. Tom Bailey served the League for 20 years, part of this as Treasurer, and he was a Club Secretary for 23 years. Harold Hammett was co-opted to the League in 1949, became Treasurer in 1955. Harold Bartlett came to League as Secretary in May 1951 (on the resignation of R Deacon). In addition the League was well served in comparatively recent times by people like Wilf Rowlands as Chairman and Treasurer, Albert Beer as Chairman, Registration and Fixtures Secretary, Sam Guard as Registration Secretary, Sid Knill as Chairman, Ralph Stacey, Vice-Chairman for more than 12 years and many others. South Molton seems to have provided most Presidents including Mr F Day (1905), Dr W K Somerton (1955), Ald F Loosemore (1958), Jack Carter MBE (1969).


This is something that has entered the game because of the cost to run football and a club. In bygone days we had players contributing to the cost of running their club, we had mothers washing the kit and all done voluntarily. Alas this is no longer the case. While the late Harold Bartlett was much opposed to sponsorship, the late Graham Andrews, then on the Management Committee, thought it a good idea. Not until Bill Smale's Chairmanship did it come to the North Devon League.

The first sponsor was former referee Peter Cornish who runs a business called Ace Motors. Next was Channel Finance for a few years. Then came Rodney Harding of Bideford Tool Hire who is now a Vice-President. He remained a sponsor for a number of years. The North Devon Journal briefly sponsored the league followed by the other local newspaper, the North Devon Gazette who are the current sponsors. Locally pubs and clubs do their bit and advertise themselves on players kit. Sensible sponsorship is to be encouraged.