Amateur Football Club

The early days of the Horniwinks still remain a mystery, although it has been established that local derbies against Kilkhampton and other villages were fiercely contested in the later days of the 19th Century.

football team of 1920's

The football team of the 1920's

Back row: Mr. J. Clark, J. Bond, L. Everson, F. Everson, C. Piper. Middle row: S. Cory, ? Grant, P. Bond.

Front row: F. Slee, M. Westaway, L. Symons, J. Cory, A. Oke.

Hob nail boots and little respect for the rules, however, meant that these games often developed into a brawl and would make today's games pale by comparison.

Church magazines published around 1900 referred to the need to establish both football and cricket teams for the young people of the village, but it wasn't until 5th January 1920 that the club was officially formed.

football team of 1920

The football team of 1920

Bernard Bryan, Fred Dymond, Fred Bond, Ned Turner, Jack Wickett, Gerald Bond, Charles Johns, William Harris, George Gorrell, William Trewin, Val Jennings

The School log of the day records 'poor attendance this afternoon - several children attending the first match of the fully fledged football team (Bradworthy). An association formed during the Christmas holiday'.

The moor became the home of the club until the 1950's.

Exposed to the westerlies and at times rutted by farmers wagons it neverthe less gained a reputation as one of the best playing surfaces in the County with its free draining, springy turf.

A most successful whist drive and dance, organised by the Bradworthy & District United Association Football Club, in aid of an injured player, took place in the Assembly Hall on Thursday week. Nearly a hundred players occupied whist tables. The large attendance at the dance included members and supporters of various clubs in the Kingsley League. Music was by Jack Bromell's radiogram. (March 1947)

In the 1920's the team was built around the powerfully built centre half John Grant, the local publican, a colossus of a man whose league experience with Grimsby Town gained him the title 'Pick of the League'.

football team of 1950

The football team of 1950

C. Ashton, C. Wade, N. Birch, H. Moase, L. Garder, M. Jenkins, W. Hart, J. Guy, L. Philp, G. Martin, L. Gorrell

Gerald Bond, the oldest survivor of those early days recalls how players with rubber strips nailed to hob nailed boots used to jog to local games behind the lorry and jingle of the cafe owner.

It would appear that Bradworthy played in the Kingsley League and at times in the Bude and District League, joining with Sutcombe in the 1930's when the Ham and Quance families provided six of the team.

Prior to the Second World War young players like Marty Jenkins and Whip Moase began to show promise and although the war years robbed many players of their youth they were to form the nucleus of the side which in 1951 saw the club win Division II North of the Kingsley League and then beat Kilkhampton to secure the first club trophy.

Bradworthy AFC were judged by the North Devon Area Committee to be the most sporting side in North Devon and were awarded the Holsworthy Cup presented in 1949 by Mr. Tom Kivell of Holsworthy for the team generally considered to have set the finest example of sportsmanship in the conduct of its games during the season. (July 1954)

The club had been reformed in June 1946 with Bill Hart as club captain, who had played with Watford during the war years, and were to travel to away games in some style by courtesy of John Bromell's Rolls Royce which he had rescued from an orchard and converted into a shooting brake.

During the war all League soccer had been suspended but as part of the 'Save a Soldier Week' the Home Guard played the Forces Team and, remarkably, at the end of the war the village raised a team to play the German Prisoners of War - a team which contained some ex-professionals and inflicted a heavier defeat than Hitler was able to manage, winning 10-1.

Over 200 whist players attended the annual poultry whist drive organised in support of their funds by the local Association Football Club. (January 1967)

In 1955 the football club changed their strip from red to white.

The club really came of age in the 1960's first winning the Subsidiary Cup and in 1964, under the captaincy of Alan Cann, won the Kingsley League and the Pickard Cup, a feat repeated the following year also adding the Launceston and Holman Cups.

football team of 1964

The football team of 1964

Back row: N. Trewin, A. Johns, D. Headon, M. Sparry, B. Stevens, G. Yelland, J. Colliver.

Front row: F. Johnson, R. Neal, A. Cann, R. Clarke, W. Colwill, K. Shadrick.

These years also saw the emergence of the Clarke family whose influence was to remain unbroken until the present day.

Three successive visits to Holman park meant a regular Easter Monday trip for supporters rewarded with success at the second attempt beating Landkey 2-1.

The team left the coach at Bideford and triumphantly carried the trophy across the bridge to fulfil a pre-match vow that they would carry the cup across the Torridge if they won it.

In the 1966-67 season the first team entered the Premier Division of the North Devon League.

Farcical 18-0 win for Landkey
Eleven cup matches were lined up on last weekends North Devon soccer programme, and heading the list was the clash between last seasons top junior sides, Landkey and Bradworthy, in the Braunton Cup.

Yet it all ended in a farcical score line of 18-0 in Landkey's favour.

Bradworthy had hoped to send their first-choice team, but were unable to obtain their release from a Kingsley League engagement in Holsworthy. So the Kingsley League champions had to send a scratch side to face the North Devon Junior League title holders.

Ironically, it is questionable whether Bradworthy needed to send their first team to Holsworthy. The Champs won that encounter 11-0. (October 1965)

They were relegated two seasons later but in 1970-71 won their way back and in 1975-76 took the step of appointing Keith Hayler as their first player-manager.

Football team, mid 1990's

Football team, mid 1990's, with Alan Balsdon the shirt sponsor far right.

In 1976-77 the club achieved the ultimate in North Devon Soccer circles with the Cup and League double.

Only Keith Shadrick and Alan Cann were survivors of the 1964 side but the present manager Micky Clarke was beginning to exert his influence playing alongside the dominant Derek May and with John Jenkins in goal conceding only 20 goals and in 1978 again won the Premier League.

Between 1978 and the present era the only success was the Brayford Cup in 1987.

Barnstaple Police 0 - Bradworthy Res. 5
No official referee arrived for this re-arranged N.D. Div. III match, but to get out of a difficult situation the Police agreed that the only person available, the Bradworthy substitute, should take the whistle.

By the interval Bradworthy were leading by five goals to nil. The Police then suggested that as there was no official referee the game could only be regarded as a friendly one.

Bradworthy objected and the Police would not take the field for the second half. (October 1972)

But with the appointment of long serving player Micky Clarke as manager and with another generation of players developing, Bradworthy have again become the dominant force in North Devon soccer, winning a record equalling three successive league titles in 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1993-94.

Kevin Nancekivell

Kevin Nancekivell

Now with three teams and its own changing rooms and club facilities the club has truly come of age.

Kevin Nancekivell, playing for Tiverton Town, won the F.A. Vase at Wembley in 1998. Later he played for Plymouth Argyle.

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