TWO of the surprise teams in this year’s Torridge Cup are due to meet each other.
Torrington, of the North Devon League senior division, will take on Halwill, of the Devon and Exeter League 2nd division, in the quarter-final.
Both will hope to build on their fine form in a competition which has brought the best out of them this season.
Torrington’s 7-2 thrashing of Bideford reserves and Halwill’s stunning comeback against Boca Seniors are two of the results of the season in North Devon football.
Bideford – made up almost exclusively of former Torrington players – were unbeaten when they travelled to Vicarage Field to face lower-division opponents in the preliminary round.
But the North Devon League premier division leaders were humbled by goals from Ross McNicholas, Cory Hynd, Kai Dymond, Malcolm Stewart and Danny Jenkins.
The result gave Torrie belief they can go on to achieve promotion from the senior division this season.
And they followed it up by knocking out Putford, another premier division team, last week. Danny Jenkins scored a hat-trick to give Torrie a convincing 3-0 win.
As the competition’s host club, Torrington would love to make it through to the semi-finals where they would have home advantage at Vicarage Field.
With Torridgeside also through to the last eight, there is still the intriguing prospect of a meeting between the town’s two clubs.
Halwill are also dreaming of a tie against local rivals Hatherleigh Town in the latter stages.
Rob Holland’s team could be forgiven for thinking their name was on the cup after the manner of their victory over Boca Seniors, the holders.
Boca were leading by three goals and missed the chance to go 4-0 up when Aaron Harper-Penman blasted a penalty over the bar.
In a frantic final ten minutes, Johnny Knight scored twice and Jason Winser converted a penalty to take the tie to extra time.
From 3-0 down, Halwill achieved a remarkable 4-3 win when Andrew Wonnacott hit the decisive goal.
The opportunity for rivals from various leagues to play each other is one of the cup’s strengths.
This year’s competition has included representatives from the Western League, South West Peninsula League, North Devon League, Devon and Exeter League, East Cornwall League and Kingsley League.
Credit for renewed interest in recent years can got to the organising committee who have made sure all clubs, regardless of stature, have a chance of winning prize money. The team-of-the-round award, with a cash prize, gives underdogs the chance to earn their share.
In recent seasons, supporters have been treated to some excellent finals, including North Molton’s extra-time victory over Holsworthy in 2011 and Barnstaple AAC beating Braunton after extra time in 2010.
The final, staged as part of the Torrington’s May Fair celebrations, always attracts a large crowd and sense of occasion. That would only be increased if the host club could go all the way.
2012-13 Torridge Cup – preliminary round: Braunton 4 Shebbear United 1; Torridgeside 4 Holsworthy 1; Putford 5 Morwenstow 3; Park United 2 Combe Martin 4 (aet); Kilkhampton 1 Shamwickshire Rovers 2 (aet); Pilton Academicals 1 Bradworthy 4; Torrington 7 Bideford 2; North Molton 4 Dolton 2; Hatherleigh Town 5 Ilfracombe Town 3.
First round: Barnstaple Town v North Molton; Ashwater v Shamwickshire Rovers; Hatherleigh Town 3 Bude Town 2; Torrington 3 Putford 0; Bradworthy beat Combe Martin by walkover; Halwill 4 Boca Seniors 3 (aet); Barnstaple AAC lost to Torridgeside by walkover; Braunton 11 Bridgerule 0.
Quarter-finals (to be played on or before Sunday, March 17): Bradworthy v Torridgeside, Hatherleigh Tn v Braunton, Barnstaple Town/North Molton v Ashwater/Shamwickshire Rovers, Torrington v Halwill.