First-half goals from strike duo Taiwo Atieno and Rene Howe made it an unhappy afternoon against his old club for Bristol Rovers boss Paul Buckle as his side went down 2-1 in his first home game in charge.
Atieno was allowed time and space to drill a low shot past Scott Bevan from 15 yards after 10 minutes.
Howe extended the lead from the penalty spot three minutes later after Bevan had brought down Atieno.
Byron Anthony gave Rovers hope with a 55th minute header after Joe Anyinsah's shot had been saved, but Buckle`s boys could not force an equaliser.
It was a good day for Howe, who played on loan at Rovers last season. He led the Torquay attack skilfully in a dangerous combination with Atieno.
A thrilling derby saw Torquay edge it through better defending. The Gulls would have won by a bigger margin had Brian Saah and Ian Morris not wasted good opportunities from headers.
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