WHEN new Buckland Reserves boss Simon Dungey revealed that the experienced Tom Armstrong was leaving Homers Heath, it was rumoured that he might be taking a step down to Division Two.
Instead, the former Brixham Villa player has found the prospect of helping his old pals into the Peninsula League too hard to resist, and has joined Bucks team-mate Chris Mitchell as one of Jason Couch's new signings.
"I was going to play for Paignton Villa, but as I'm 'only' 30, I'll leave that for a few years," Tom explained.
"There's a few friends here, and the chance to get promoted with Brixham, who I played for for a number of years, was a good challenge because with Buckland Ressies, we obviously couldn't even if we won the league."
Both clubs did apply for promotion to the Peninsula League last season, but a fourth place finish wasn't enough for Brixham, while champions Buckland were denied promotion due to Peninsula League restrictions on reserve sides.
Tom lined up alongside brother Simon last weekend – his sibling having recently moved from opponents Ipplepen – and made an immediate impact with a goal each side of the break.
Another former Buckland player, winger Ben Adams, also scored in each half as Brixham secured a 4-1 victory at Wall Park.
The match was closer than the score suggested, with a top drawer performance by home goalkeeper Ryan Walton and wayward finishing by the Ipplepen strikeforce combining to limit the visitors' impact.
"It's a big squad, and I think it's going to take four or five games for everyone to bed down," Tom said after the match.
"We were poor, but we scored four goals; we're just disappointed to concede."
Brixham have a lay day this Saturday, but Ipplepen will hope to get points on the board at Galmpton Reserves.
The Greens secured their first point with a 4-4 draw at Newton Spurs Reserves, Ryan Bush scoring for the second week running, with Mark Griffiths and Alex and Nathan Kidd also finding the net.
Troy Baker added another two to his Spurs tally, with Jake Chisholm and Dan Spargo also on target. Unbeaten Spurs host Kingsteignton who are yet to kick a ball.
Watcombe will be in good spirits for their rematch with 2011 Herald Cup final opponents Upton Athletic after demolishing Stoke Reserves 7-1 at Broadley Lane. But despite scoring four goals in that match, Sean Finch had to settle for second place in the Finch household, Jordan Finch blasting six past Paignton Saints Reserves in the Reserves' 8-1 win down in Division Four.
After losing 5-0 in their opener against Buckland Reserves last Friday evening, Waldon Athletic will be looking for more success at Ivybridge Town Reserves. Town (formerly Staverton & Landscove) took until December to register their first league points. This time out they've defeated runners-up Kingskerswell & Chelston 4-3 on the opening day. Sam Marker netted twice with Mike Summers and John McCreery also scoring. Kings hit the net through Ollie Aplin, Chris Curry and Ben Cripwell. Buckland host Stoke Reserves next while Kingskerswell & Chelston take on Loddiswell Athletic. The Hoops achieved their highest finish ever last season and claimed the George Belli Cup. A 2-1 home win against Watts, Blake & Bearne has set them on their way, Nick Cousins' strike not enough to prevent a second successive opening day defeat for WBB.
In Division One, Bovey Reserves enjoyed two away wins in as many matches. The Moorlanders beat Buckfastleigh 7-1 with Blackmore claiming four.
Abbotskerswell's Premier return bid started off on the right foot, Abbots beating Chudleigh Athletic 3-0 with Athletic's manager also dismissed.
In Division Two, Paignton Villa were the high scorers with a 9-1 win at Ipplepen Reserves. A Ryan Hare hat-trick ensured Upton Reserves returned happy from Kingsteignton Reserves, while Babbacombe Corinthians made their home debut at Barton Downs, winning 5-1 against Ronald Cup final opponents Foxhole United.
In Division Three, Waldon Reserves comfortably beat Chudleigh's second string 5-1, while a ten goal thriller saw WBB Reserves emerge 6-4 winners at East Allington Reserves, Wattsie's Chris Srdinko and United's Simon Hannaford trading hat-tricks.
The goals were flying in in Division Four. Only seven Meadowbrook players were left on the pitch by the end of their game, partly explaining Paignton Villa Reserves' resounding 7-1 victory. Elsewhere, Dittisham and South Brent Reserves shared eleven goals, with South Brent winning 6-5.
In Division Five, the Herald Cup preview between Polonia Torbay and AFC Staverton ended 3-0 to the visitors, John Parsons with a debut hat-trick.
In Division Six, Frankie Rooney and John Fleet scored reformed Barton Athletic's first goals in a decade as they won 2-1 at Watcombe Thirds.