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I'm not too well up on the St Piran League but it appears to be a beacon of calmness and stability compared to the Devon League which was set up at the same time.

The Devon League was always designed to be split into two sections: North and East; South and West. There wouldn't be a fixed boundary line; that would depend on who applied and where they were on the map. Plot the thirty-two clubs and draw a line to create two lots of sixteen. If more clubs applied from one part of the county the line would move one way. If not, it would go in the other direction.

As a long-standing observer of South Devon football I was surprised how many clubs applied from in and around Torquay and Paignton. There were fewer from North and East Devon than I expected; Plymouth was pretty much as anticipated given the nature of the clubs in the local league at the time.

The upshot was the boundary line ended up closer to the River Teign than may have been expected. I also suspect there was a shortage of players from around Torbay to sustain all the clubs in that area remembering just how many players (as with Exeter and Plymouth) travel out-of-area to play Peninsula, Southern and Western League football.

The two Covid-restricted seasons saw a number of comings and goings. This season has been worse. What was meant to be two divisions of sixteen is now, should Clyst Valley withdraw rather than concede their remaining fixtures, two divisions of eleven. There's been a particular issue with South Devon clubs.

More optimistically there's a decent number of applications for next season mainly from smaller towns and villages as opposed to larger towns and suburbs. There's also a good sprinkling from the North and East. Whether some of the clubs who have pulled out return next year remains to be seen. At the moment it looks like the league will have to take practically all the applicants, and a few more too, if it is to return to strength.

You wonder about the pool of Devon clubs that will be available to the Peninsula League in future. Teignmouth look the most plausible and, unless something isn't right wirh their application, they should be at step 6 next season. Topsham Town may eventually be viable; Feniton are making the right noises too. Beyond these clubs, I really don't know. There are 3Gs in Exeter, Paignton and Newton Abbot which could offer up chances to a "dark horse" (but are the clubs really there?); Exeter University (rather a law unto itself) may also be a possibility one day.

This could have a knock-on effect on Cornwall. Peninsula West (when full) is theoretically the first twenty clubs from Land's End upwards; Peninsula East the next twenty. A shortage of prospective Devon clubs at step 6 may push the west/east boundary into Devon. It may also pull in clubs from Dorset and Somerset into Peninsula East. That's not so bad if it's Bridport or Bishop's Lydeard; quite a different matter if spaces on the map (which, in theory, is all that is needed) pull in the likes of Sherborne or Wincanton. Of course the thing that would keep the east/west divide to the west would be, aside from clubs being relegated from the Western, a goodly number of St Piran clubs stepping upwards. Cornwall probably has around the same number of "potentials" in this respect as Devon if not more.

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This is probably the same across the country.   I think eventually the NLS will be like the football league was years ago, with the main movement being between the divisions and leagues and very few clubs actually leaving or joining the NLS.  Viable is the key word for any club and that's what will determine new applications. 

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20 hours ago, Easterfield said:

I'm not too well up on the St Piran League but it appears to be a beacon of calmness and stability compared to the Devon League which was set up at the same time.

The Devon League was always designed to be split into two sections: North and East; South and West. There wouldn't be a fixed boundary line; that would depend on who applied and where they were on the map. Plot the thirty-two clubs and draw a line to create two lots of sixteen. If more clubs applied from one part of the county the line would move one way. If not, it would go in the other direction.

As a long-standing observer of South Devon football I was surprised how many clubs applied from in and around Torquay and Paignton. There were fewer from North and East Devon than I expected; Plymouth was pretty much as anticipated given the nature of the clubs in the local league at the time.

The upshot was the boundary line ended up closer to the River Teign than may have been expected. I also suspect there was a shortage of players from around Torbay to sustain all the clubs in that area remembering just how many players (as with Exeter and Plymouth) travel out-of-area to play Peninsula, Southern and Western League football.

The two Covid-restricted seasons saw a number of comings and goings. This season has been worse. What was meant to be two divisions of sixteen is now, should Clyst Valley withdraw rather than concede their remaining fixtures, two divisions of eleven. There's been a particular issue with South Devon clubs.

More optimistically there's a decent number of applications for next season mainly from smaller towns and villages as opposed to larger towns and suburbs. There's also a good sprinkling from the North and East. Whether some of the clubs who have pulled out return next year remains to be seen. At the moment it looks like the league will have to take practically all the applicants, and a few more too, if it is to return to strength.

You wonder about the pool of Devon clubs that will be available to the Peninsula League in future. Teignmouth look the most plausible and, unless something isn't right wirh their application, they should be at step 6 next season. Topsham Town may eventually be viable; Feniton are making the right noises too. Beyond these clubs, I really don't know. There are 3Gs in Exeter, Paignton and Newton Abbot which could offer up chances to a "dark horse" (but are the clubs really there?); Exeter University (rather a law unto itself) may also be a possibility one day.

This could have a knock-on effect on Cornwall. Peninsula West (when full) is theoretically the first twenty clubs from Land's End upwards; Peninsula East the next twenty. A shortage of prospective Devon clubs at step 6 may push the west/east boundary into Devon. It may also pull in clubs from Dorset and Somerset into Peninsula East. That's not so bad if it's Bridport or Bishop's Lydeard; quite a different matter if spaces on the map (which, in theory, is all that is needed) pull in the likes of Sherborne or Wincanton. Of course the thing that would keep the east/west divide to the west would be, aside from clubs being relegated from the Western, a goodly number of St Piran clubs stepping upwards. Cornwall probably has around the same number of "potentials" in this respect as Devon if not more.

Really good post, interesting to read about the Devon Step 7 league and its state of health and the potential ramifications for how the Peninsula East and West may be constituted in the future. 

On a separate note, how would you assess the current strengths of the Devon & Exeter and South Devon League? Are they, much as the Plymouth & District Combination ( a merger between the old P&D and Plymouth Combo leagues), shadows of their former selves and in seemingly terminal decline?

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I'm sure Town Fan is right. After so much expansion it's probably a case of "job (almost) done" at the foot of the National League System. With forty-eighy leagues in the system that's nearly a thousand clubs. You wonder who else is left to come in. Somebody has posted all the latest  applicants on Non League Matters. In one or two parts of the country there are (what you might be tempted to call) "proper sounding" applicants; elsewhere rather less so. 

Thank you for the interest, Way of the Park. Like you say the Plymouth league appears to be in a sorry state with divisions of just eight or nine clubs. Sunday football is just as big a thing in the city these days. 

Although it's lost its fair share of clubs upwards over the years the Devon and Exeter still boasts plenty of clubs and divisions making it one of the larger leagues of its type. It strikes me as being at its strongest and most stable in the smaller towns and villages; not many higher-placed teams and a higher turnover of clubs within the city itself. Maybe that's a feature of town and city football these days. I really like the look of the Premier division; it was noticeable that a number of clubs stuck with the D&E rather than joining the new Devon League. That's now changing with the likes of Beer, Lapford and Thorverton applying for the Devon. What is good for one league isn't so good for the other of course.

The South Devon has shrunk and shrunk but recently stabilised. There aren't too many clubs you'd now expect to step up; all the likely ones have pretty much done so. 

But, all in all,  the South Devon has to be in a far better place than the Plymouth and West Devon and still provides a decent amount of football on a Saturday afternoon. Indeed, sat-on-the-outside-looking-in, I wonder if over the course of this season, half-a-dozen clubs and a few dozen players have come to the conclusion they're better off in the South Devon rather than the Devon. 11th, 12th or 13th tier. I'm not sure I it really makes much difference in some cases.
 
Some Devon grounds, and a few Cornish, for you at flickr.com/photos/easterfieldlane

 
 
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  • 1 month later...

Hedgerow: "Windmill have re-applied to join the Devon League, but they will not be using the facilities at Bull Point, same reasons as Millbay Park.  They need to finish as high as possible in the SDFL to stand any chance of joining the Devon League."

At the start of February the Devon League announced 2022/23 appicants as:

North Devon: Appledore, Barnstaple Town Reserves, Boca Seniors, Fremington
South Devon; Brixham AFC Reserves, Buckfastleigh Rangers, Windmill
Devon & Exeter: Beer Albion, Lapford, Thorverton
Plymouth & West Devon: D&C Autos

No news published since as far as I can see. In Windmill's league the title is between Buckfastleigh and Brixham with Windmill currently fifth.  

The big issue is that, instead of two divisions of sixteeen, the current leagues tables have shrunk to eleven in the South & West section and twelve in the North & East (with Alphington ceding recent fixtures but still scheduled to play again). Teignmouth will probably need to win their final game to win S&W; Exeter University have already won N&E.

What happens next? Will some of the clubs which dropped out during the season reappear next year? Will there be other resignations? Could the whole thing be "reset"?

Big thing for me is that there's greater interest from North Devon and that some of the East Devon clubs, who were expected to have been interested in the first place, are now making enquiries. I suspect that, purely from my own spectating prespective, that the N&E could be the "better" one to follow. Also the case that Feniton and Topsham from that area are expressing interest in the Peninsula. Maybe too a a relatively strong football force may eventually emerge from the Cranbrook "new town" near Exeter airport.

        

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1 hour ago, Easterfield said:

Hedgerow: "Windmill have re-applied to join the Devon League, but they will not be using the facilities at Bull Point, same reasons as Millbay Park.  They need to finish as high as possible in the SDFL to stand any chance of joining the Devon League."

At the start of February the Devon League announced 2022/23 appicants as:

North Devon: Appledore, Barnstaple Town Reserves, Boca Seniors, Fremington
South Devon; Brixham AFC Reserves, Buckfastleigh Rangers, Windmill
Devon & Exeter: Beer Albion, Lapford, Thorverton
Plymouth & West Devon: D&C Autos

No news published since as far as I can see. In Windmill's league the title is between Buckfastleigh and Brixham with Windmill currently fifth.  

The big issue is that, instead of two divisions of sixteeen, the current leagues tables have shrunk to eleven in the South & West section and twelve in the North & East (with Alphington ceding recent fixtures but still scheduled to play again). Teignmouth will probably need to win their final game to win S&W; Exeter University have already won N&E.

What happens next? Will some of the clubs which dropped out during the season reappear next year? Will there be other resignations? Could the whole thing be "reset"?

Big thing for me is that there's greater interest from North Devon and that some of the East Devon clubs, who were expected to have been interested in the first place, are now making enquiries. I suspect that, purely from my own spectating prespective, that the N&E could be the "better" one to follow. Also the case that Feniton and Topsham from that area are expressing interest in the Peninsula. Maybe too a a relatively strong football force may eventually emerge from the Cranbrook "new town" near Exeter airport.

        

Heard one or two whispers that Plymouth Parkway are looking at the possibility of running a reserve/development side. Guess they would initially slot into the step 7 Devon League.

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1 hour ago, Way Of The Park said:

Heard one or two whispers that Plymouth Parkway are looking at the possibility of running a reserve/development side. Guess they would initially slot into the step 7 Devon League.

Not sure how much flexibility there might be about late applications but, with the Devon League's possible predicament, additional applicants - to fill outstanding vacancies - could yet be most welcome this year.    

Applications, as above, from Barnstaple and Brixham reserves. Buckland, Exmouth and Newton Abbot Spurs are there aleady and - from memeory - Bovey and Tavistock have fallen by the wayside.

If Parkway's firsts get promotion could that open up the later possibility of a Parkway development team in the Peninsula? (helped, of course, by Truro vacating Bolitho). Tiverton briefly fielded a Peninsula team although I don't think they now have anything above under-18 level. I guess it's theoretically possible that one day there could be be a Taunton Town development team in the Peninsula.

Generally speaking, I've long thought that reserve team football is treated more significantly in Cornwall than it is in Devon. Not sure how much how I'm seeing that as an observer (but not participant) in Devon or as someone who grew up with a Football League supporter's  perception of reserve football. 

  

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46 minutes ago, Easterfield said:

Not sure how much flexibility there might be about late applications but, with the Devon League's possible predicament, additional applicants - to fill outstanding vacancies - could yet be most welcome this year.    

Applications, as above, from Barnstaple and Brixham reserves. Buckland, Exmouth and Newton Abbot Spurs are there aleady and - from memeory - Bovey and Tavistock have fallen by the wayside.

If Parkway's firsts get promotion could that open up the later possibility of a Parkway development team in the Peninsula? (helped, of course, by Truro vacating Bolitho). Tiverton briefly fielded a Peninsula team although I don't think they now have anything above under-18 level. I guess it's theoretically possible that one day there could be be a Taunton Town development team in the Peninsula.

Generally speaking, I've long thought that reserve team football is treated more significantly in Cornwall than it is in Devon. Not sure how much how I'm seeing that as an observer (but not participant) in Devon or as someone who grew up with a Football League supporter's  perception of reserve football. 

  

Parkway have a very strong bunch of under 18's this season who have won their age group league in the DJM, and didn't disgrace themselves when they were fielded en masse against Tiverton in the St Lukes Bowl (at one stage Parkway's entire back 4 in that game had an average age of 17), so I think the motivation is to try and keep the group together while offering them more competitive men's football. Believe Matt Cusack in particular is very keen on building a pathway to bring young players through at Bolitho with several offspring of current/past players in the set up, including Marley Krac, (son of Shane,)who is impressing in the under 16's.

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On 16/02/2022 at 16:42, Easterfield said:

I'm not too well up on the St Piran League but it appears to be a beacon of calmness and stability compared to the Devon League which was set up at the same time.

The Devon League was always designed to be split into two sections: North and East; South and West. There wouldn't be a fixed boundary line; that would depend on who applied and where they were on the map. Plot the thirty-two clubs and draw a line to create two lots of sixteen. If more clubs applied from one part of the county the line would move one way. If not, it would go in the other direction.

As a long-standing observer of South Devon football I was surprised how many clubs applied from in and around Torquay and Paignton. There were fewer from North and East Devon than I expected; Plymouth was pretty much as anticipated given the nature of the clubs in the local league at the time.

The upshot was the boundary line ended up closer to the River Teign than may have been expected. I also suspect there was a shortage of players from around Torbay to sustain all the clubs in that area remembering just how many players (as with Exeter and Plymouth) travel out-of-area to play Peninsula, Southern and Western League football.

The two Covid-restricted seasons saw a number of comings and goings. This season has been worse. What was meant to be two divisions of sixteen is now, should Clyst Valley withdraw rather than concede their remaining fixtures, two divisions of eleven. There's been a particular issue with South Devon clubs.

More optimistically there's a decent number of applications for next season mainly from smaller towns and villages as opposed to larger towns and suburbs. There's also a good sprinkling from the North and East. Whether some of the clubs who have pulled out return next year remains to be seen. At the moment it looks like the league will have to take practically all the applicants, and a few more too, if it is to return to strength.

You wonder about the pool of Devon clubs that will be available to the Peninsula League in future. Teignmouth look the most plausible and, unless something isn't right wirh their application, they should be at step 6 next season. Topsham Town may eventually be viable; Feniton are making the right noises too. Beyond these clubs, I really don't know. There are 3Gs in Exeter, Paignton and Newton Abbot which could offer up chances to a "dark horse" (but are the clubs really there?); Exeter University (rather a law unto itself) may also be a possibility one day.

This could have a knock-on effect on Cornwall. Peninsula West (when full) is theoretically the first twenty clubs from Land's End upwards; Peninsula East the next twenty. A shortage of prospective Devon clubs at step 6 may push the west/east boundary into Devon. It may also pull in clubs from Dorset and Somerset into Peninsula East. That's not so bad if it's Bridport or Bishop's Lydeard; quite a different matter if spaces on the map (which, in theory, is all that is needed) pull in the likes of Sherborne or Wincanton. Of course the thing that would keep the east/west divide to the west would be, aside from clubs being relegated from the Western, a goodly number of St Piran clubs stepping upwards. Cornwall probably has around the same number of "potentials" in this respect as Devon if not more.

A very good post. Not sure if you have looked at the Devon League Site they are asking for applicants for League Secretary and Treasurer. Both standing down at the end of the season. 

On 16/02/2022 at 16:42, Easterfield said:

I'm not too well up on the St Piran League but it appears to be a beacon of calmness and stability compared to the Devon League which was set up at the same time.

The Devon League was always designed to be split into two sections: North and East; South and West. There wouldn't be a fixed boundary line; that would depend on who applied and where they were on the map. Plot the thirty-two clubs and draw a line to create two lots of sixteen. If more clubs applied from one part of the county the line would move one way. If not, it would go in the other direction.

As a long-standing observer of South Devon football I was surprised how many clubs applied from in and around Torquay and Paignton. There were fewer from North and East Devon than I expected; Plymouth was pretty much as anticipated given the nature of the clubs in the local league at the time.

The upshot was the boundary line ended up closer to the River Teign than may have been expected. I also suspect there was a shortage of players from around Torbay to sustain all the clubs in that area remembering just how many players (as with Exeter and Plymouth) travel out-of-area to play Peninsula, Southern and Western League football.

The two Covid-restricted seasons saw a number of comings and goings. This season has been worse. What was meant to be two divisions of sixteen is now, should Clyst Valley withdraw rather than concede their remaining fixtures, two divisions of eleven. There's been a particular issue with South Devon clubs.

More optimistically there's a decent number of applications for next season mainly from smaller towns and villages as opposed to larger towns and suburbs. There's also a good sprinkling from the North and East. Whether some of the clubs who have pulled out return next year remains to be seen. At the moment it looks like the league will have to take practically all the applicants, and a few more too, if it is to return to strength.

You wonder about the pool of Devon clubs that will be available to the Peninsula League in future. Teignmouth look the most plausible and, unless something isn't right wirh their application, they should be at step 6 next season. Topsham Town may eventually be viable; Feniton are making the right noises too. Beyond these clubs, I really don't know. There are 3Gs in Exeter, Paignton and Newton Abbot which could offer up chances to a "dark horse" (but are the clubs really there?); Exeter University (rather a law unto itself) may also be a possibility one day.

This could have a knock-on effect on Cornwall. Peninsula West (when full) is theoretically the first twenty clubs from Land's End upwards; Peninsula East the next twenty. A shortage of prospective Devon clubs at step 6 may push the west/east boundary into Devon. It may also pull in clubs from Dorset and Somerset into Peninsula East. That's not so bad if it's Bridport or Bishop's Lydeard; quite a different matter if spaces on the map (which, in theory, is all that is needed) pull in the likes of Sherborne or Wincanton. Of course the thing that would keep the east/west divide to the west would be, aside from clubs being relegated from the Western, a goodly number of St Piran clubs stepping upwards. Cornwall probably has around the same number of "potentials" in this respect as Devon if not more.

A very good post. Not sure if you have looked at the Devon League Site they are asking for applicants for League Secretary and Treasurer. Both standing down at the end of the season. 

Very interesting regarding Plymouth Parkway possibly having a reserve side. Will be following that with interest 

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1 hour ago, hedgerow said:

Not sure if you have looked at the Devon League Site they are asking for applicants for League Secretary and Treasurer. Both standing down at the end of the season. 

Thank you for the comment; happy to develop other Devon themes when there's an interest.

Must have been a pretty tough job for both of them with two interrupted seasons and lots of teams dropping out. 

Purely as follower of local football, I never heard any suggestion of a step 7 restructure before it was announced for 2019. Not sure if this was me being off the pace although I now see it was all to do with what was happening at the levels above. 

At the time I'd always assumed Peninsula E and W was working well. The only hint of anything in Devon was a report a few years previously that the Devon & Exeter League was considering making a bid for step 7 status. At the time that was interpreted as in competitition to the Peninsula which made no sense at all.   

Mind you, the D&E's rule book still states that "the geographical area covered by the Competition membership shall be within Devon or a 50 miles radius of Exeter (St James Park)". Isn't that marvellous? St James Park rather than the cathedral. 

Perhaps the restructure could have been achieved through the D&E and, say, the South Devon rather than establish a split county league. I don't know the ins and outs - who wanted what or not; what was workable - and I guess it's like saying the obvious path in Cornwall would have been for the Combination and East Cornwall to do the job rather than set up the St Piran. All water under the bridge now.       

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D&E rattled a few cages by suggesting a break away league, hence the recent reorganising. 
Right across Devon and Cornwall it decimated the local leagues. ECPL lost all the SWPL reserve teams. A lot of the teams that went up could not cope with extra financial costs hence why they withdrew and went back to their previous leagues. 
 

yes it’s water under the bridge, but it has left a bad taste with some leagues. 
On a positive note it is good to see Cornish and Devon clubs make the move up the pyramid system

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  • 3 weeks later...

St.pirans league are very lucky to have a very good committee. Think the concenses in the West is that the Combination and Trelawney leagues should amalgamate to make one league to make the promotion path clearer.

At present I presume there is nothing stopping a Trelawney side applying for St.pirans and missing the Combination league altogether.

The forming of St. Pirans was basically the best of the Combination league, which decimated that league. Can understand why the league wants to keep going because of the decades of history but that was the same for the old junior leagues when they joined together to form the Trelawney league which took a lot of discussions.

 

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Exeter University (N&E champions) beat Teignmouth (S&W champions) on penalties in the final of the Devon League Cup on Saturday.

And, with teams dropping out of the league, there's an additional cup competition to provide extra fixtures in April and May. Semi-finals: Topsham v Exeter University; Teignmouth v Mount Gould.

There's a pattern developing here. Apparently, should Exeter University wish to progress to step 6 - either using their own ground or, possibly, that of Topsham the other side of the motorway - they'd need the backing of the university's Athletic Union. The AU has a select list of "performance sports" that does not include football.  

Still in Devon and Bideford (with Stuart Bowker coming on as a late substitute) have beaten Exeter City on penalties in the final of the Devon St Luke's Challenge Cup (or Bowl as the old hands prefer). The Bideford 'keeper saved all four of the penalties he faced; not sure if I've seen that before. 

Exeter City fielded an under-18 team throughout the competition whereas they've often previously fielded slightly older teams. Beating Tavistock in the semi-finals and holding Bideford in the final is probably more than you'd normally expect of such a youthful side.  

Bideford line-up:  Seedhouse Evans, Heeney, Fisher, Mayne, Byrne, Charles (Wood 75), Nancekivell, Taylor, Jagger Cane, Duff (Bowker 78), Buchan (Piper 84). 

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Devon League constitutions for next season. Should Buckfastleigh win the South Devon League none of the feeder league champions will be joining (or any teams at all from the Plymouth & West Devon).

Normal rules - one new team from each feeder league - suspended to boost numbers to 2x14 after withdrawals this season. 

xrTTBywQPZXVxaClqUDPI8L7_r5AbDXclVNBa9lVVcKRgaND6-Zx2w-_-lquv2NLJCip2h6AibqWLFw-S3G3uxOqHUNRzi1JbevE0OiJt5G2N2mDA3e9ubWuYPbrfGyllaX3Xd3MYDPoZg-UdA

 

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On 13/05/2022 at 18:25, Easterfield said:

Devon League constitutions for next season. Should Buckfastleigh win the South Devon League none of the feeder league champions will be joining (or any teams at all from the Plymouth & West Devon).

Normal rules - one new team from each feeder league - suspended to boost numbers to 2x14 after withdrawals this season. 

xrTTBywQPZXVxaClqUDPI8L7_r5AbDXclVNBa9lVVcKRgaND6-Zx2w-_-lquv2NLJCip2h6AibqWLFw-S3G3uxOqHUNRzi1JbevE0OiJt5G2N2mDA3e9ubWuYPbrfGyllaX3Xd3MYDPoZg-UdA

 

Surprised that Boca Seniors didn't go up, thought they had the ambition to and had done their ground up? 

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52 minutes ago, Buckland Jim said:

Surprised that Boca Seniors didn't go up, thought they had the ambition to and had done their ground up? 

I saw a game there last year. Slap bang next door to Barnstaple Town's ground and a tidy enough set-up.

Can't help thinking that a couple of clubs withdrew their applications after they were initially announced. After retaining the Devon & Exeter title in some style I thought Lapfprd were odds-on although I now read that their pitch has too much of a gradient.

Meanwhile Exeter University have won the league's other cup competition on penalties against Teignmouth a week after they won the league's main cup competition against Teignmouth on penalties. 

Perhaps Bere Alston and Beer Albion will play each other in the league cup next season. But it won't be a Bere, Beer or any other type of derby. They're seventy miles apart. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Appledore now added to next season's Devon League. Appears they were rejected originally and have now successfully appealed after upgrading certain facilities.

Long time ago now but Appledore played Cornish opposition in the South Western League between 1978 and 1996. Eventually they switched to the newish Devon League which was steadily looking a more viable option for some clubs (Crediton, Heavitree and Ottery from the Western in time; Holsworthy from the South Western).  

Appledore joined the Peninsula at irs inception and cheerfully played in Division 1 (East) until the 2019 reorganisation was announced. The requirements and demands of step 6 either didn't suit Appledore or were beyond their means. They were probably the club that had been around the longest at the highest level where floodlights weren't required; now they were being asked to change or step down. From memory Appledore saw the Devon League as a glorified Devon & Exeter and felt the North Devon would serve their purposes just as well.   

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Kyle Tagg of the Mid Devon Advertiser - how Newton Abbot ever saw itself as "Mid Devon" always puzzled me - is doing a grand job reporting on local football. An observant Non League Matters poster has picked up Kyle's latest tweet indicating D&C Auto Repairs of Plymouth also being elected to the Devon League.

Appledore and D&C replacing Exwick Villa and PAFC Community Trust respsectively; Brixham Reserves not taking up their place. That's two divisions of fourteen and thirteen.  

Argyle's community trust set up is basically an education programme; they could concentrate on midweek football instead. D&C played on a school pitch last season.

The withdrawal of Exwick Villa is a surprise; they played in the Peninsula under their current name and as Exeter Civil Service. Nearest football pitch to where I live; it's gone from being a grass pitch next to the old civil service sports and social buildings to being turned ninety degrees as an artificial surface alongside brand new college sports buildings.

Pretty certain Exwick just had the one men's team last season who finished second in their section of the Devon League. My understanding was the costs of playing as Exwick Villa at a regenerated venue were higher than playing there as Exeter Civil Service in former times. It remains to be seen if the club has folded. If the pitch is now available on a Saturday afternoon it'll be interesting to see if another club moves in. Newtown were interested in moving back to Exeter form Newton St Cyres a year or two ago; in theory the Exeter College facilitiy would also be a possibility for Exeter University 1st XI's should they seek progress. At one time Exwick and Exeter College were discussing the possibllity of step 6 compliant spectator facilities; possibly moved into place for each match.         

 

     

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Exwick Villa have subsequently tweeted today that in essence they are no longer!

"With confirmation of the league for next season, it seems appropriate to now say that Exwick Villa are folding. Without a clubhouse and with rising costs everywhere, it simply became impractical to fund the club. Thank you to all players, staff & supporters, past and present"

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47 minutes ago, Dave Deacon said:

Exwick Villa have subsequently tweeted today that in essence they are no longer!

"With confirmation of the league for next season, it seems appropriate to now say that Exwick Villa are folding. Without a clubhouse and with rising costs everywhere, it simply became impractical to fund the club. Thank you to all players, staff & supporters, past and present"

Thsnks for that, Dave. It's a shame although, whenever I've seen a game down the hill and across the river, Exwick have felt like a club that turns up at a hired venue at 1.30 and leaves by 5.30. That must have become dispiriting for those involved. I imagine at one time the football was part of a wider social network which revolved around the old civil service club.

I'm all for artificial pitches but, from the spectating angle, I think they work best when they either replace grass at an existing venue or are purpose-built for a specific club in mind. Otherwise it can seem like visiting a "shell club" that just moves in for a few hours.

As for the Devon League it doesn't have a great record with respect to clubs coming and going during its short existence. Not sure if it was a flawed idea in the first place or if there's been subsequent failings. Particularly problematic regarding the number of teams from the bigger towns (Exeter, Paignton and Torquay) which have pulled out. It may be wishful thinking but the arrival of new teams from North Devon (Appledore and Fremington), Mid Devon (Thorverton) and East Devon (Beer Albion) may be for the best. Not so sure about the South and West section. I suspect there's a strong preference for the South Devon League in Torbay and surrounding areas.

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  • 1 month later...
On 09/06/2022 at 11:04, Easterfield said:

Appledore and D&C replacing Exwick Villa and PAFC Community Trust respsectively; Brixham Reserves not taking up their place. That's two divisions of fourteen and thirteen.       

Now appears Plympton Atheltic may have dropped out. This leaves the Devon League with divisions of fourteen and twelve when, at formation in 2019, the objective was two divisions of sixteen. 

Plympton aren't in the fixtures which have been released this week. But they are entered in both the South Devon and Plymouth & West Devon leagues; each team currently listed as the seconds.   

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1 hour ago, Easterfield said:

Now appears Plympton Atheltic may have dropped out. This leaves the Devon League with divisions of fourteen and twelve when, at formation in 2019, the objective was two divisions of sixteen. 

Plympton aren't in the fixtures which have been released this week. But they are entered in both the South Devon and Plymouth & West Devon leagues; each team currently listed as the seconds.   

Nothing on their Facebook page to say they've pulled out from what I can see (scrolled back through to end of June) and on their twitter not posted since May, but their bio still says Devon League. 

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12 hours ago, Buckland Jim said:

Nothing on their Facebook page to say they've pulled out from what I can see (scrolled back through to end of June) and on their twitter not posted since May, but their bio still says Devon League. 

Curious. There seems to be conflicting news about Plympton from people who would be better-informed than myself. To be resolved.

Alphington have cancelled their friendly on Saturday and have tweeted "Due to outgoing players joining mainly higher league oppositions out of town, another Exeter team will be struggling. We are on the look out for additional players. Club has great facilities just needs some support. Drop us a DM."

Clyst Valley, Exwick Villa, Heavitree United, St Martins. Doesn't seem to be working very well around here.

But, in a way, what's new? Half of Devon's people - and we can assume at least half of its footballers - live in Exeter, Plymouth and Torbay. That's from where a lot of players have always come. Maybe it's a case there are now more clubs, above district league level, who are seeking them?

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Getting to a game was fraught with difficulties yesterday. Ended up at Buckfastleigh Rangers for the semi-final of the rather grandly-named Devon Champions Cup.

Champions of the South Devon League against the champions of the Plymouth and West Devon League. 6-2 to DC Auto Repairs, the Plymouth boys, who may also be known as DC FC. DC scored the first two. Buckfastleigh pegged them back to 2-2 at half-time. DC clinical in the second.

DC have taken up their place in the Devon League; Buckfastleigh haven't. No idea of DC's background; whether they're relatively néw or an older club renamed. On Full-Time they're named as DC Auto Repairs going back a few seasons. But I think Full Time can only give the current name rather than anything that has gone before?

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On 27/07/2022 at 20:00, Easterfield said:

Curious. There seems to be conflicting news about Plympton from people who would be better-informed than myself. To be resolved.

Alphington have cancelled their friendly on Saturday and have tweeted "Due to outgoing players joining mainly higher league oppositions out of town, another Exeter team will be struggling. We are on the look out for additional players. Club has great facilities just needs some support. Drop us a DM."

Clyst Valley, Exwick Villa, Heavitree United, St Martins. Doesn't seem to be working very well around here.

But, in a way, what's new? Half of Devon's people - and we can assume at least half of its footballers - live in Exeter, Plymouth and Torbay. That's from where a lot of players have always come. Maybe it's a case there are now more clubs, above district league level, who are seeking them?

Interesting to see that Plympton have now changed their Twitter bio to Amateur football team and removed all mentions of any league they play in

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Alphington and Liverton have pulled out.

Plympton Ath withdrew from the Devon League a couple of days after the League AGM.  They have now been accepted into the SDFL and a reserve team in the P&D League.

All 3 teams were hammered with hefty fines for withdrawing from the Devon League.  Very frustrating with the league commencing this weekend.  But I still think more will follow suit

DC Autos were promoted from the P&D League as champions.  They will be playing Home fixtures at Saltmill Saltash.  Devon County Cup games they will need to find an alternative venue.

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13 hours ago, hedgerow said:

Alphington and Liverton have pulled out.

Plympton Ath withdrew from the Devon League a couple of days after the League AGM.  They have now been accepted into the SDFL and a reserve team in the P&D League.

All 3 teams were hammered with hefty fines for withdrawing from the Devon League.  Very frustrating with the league commencing this weekend.  But I still think more will follow suit

DC Autos were promoted from the P&D League as champions.  They will be playing Home fixtures at Saltmill Saltash.  Devon County Cup games they will need to find an alternative venue.

Thank you for that extra information.

Yes, enormously frustrating and demanding for the league's officials. Especially because, as far as I can see, the idea came from above rather than below.  The parcel was passed and it may not have been one that too many people wanted to receive. Or is that too cynical?

There's an enormous number of questions brewing over this and, I would imagine, an equally large number of explanations and theories. Is it the idea of the league itself or something more deeply rooted at that level of football?

From what I can gather a National League System feeder league - the old step 7 - has two purposes: 

(1) to provide suitable competition for clubs and players of a certain standard. In other words: a good thing in itself.

(2) to act as a stepping stone for those clubs in its membership who wish to progress to step 6 (acknowledging this will not be all of its clubs). Equally, it acts as a receiving league for clubs relegated from step 6.     

In Devon, (1) is starting to look a shaky concept. There seems to be sufficient interest when it comes to clubs applying for the league. But, when it comes to delivery, problems arise. A gap between, well, theory and practice. As an onlooker, it's tempting to ask whether too many people would miss the league were it to disappear. My suspicion is that many players of the desired calibre are happy playing in the district leagues. The few who spectate may not be too concerned either way. 

In the event of the Devon League stuttering, (2) becomes a major issue for the FA and the new unified Peninsula/Western league. A concern too for whichever clubs there may be in Devon who have step 6 aspirations. Not that there may be too many of them. A league for those clubs alone would be very small indeed.

Are Liverton's reserves continuing? Bottom division of the South Devon suggesting a long way back. At least Alphington currently have a reserve team in the D&E Premier according to the league website.   

An extra: now no Kingskerswell & Chelston on the South Devon Full Time. That itself was a merger of two long-established clubs culminating in a single club playing on a well-appointed village recreation ground within easy reach of Torquay and Newton Abbot. Pretty sure they won the SDL, or were one of its strongest teams, around ten years ago? Chelston had a long stint as good Devon & Exeter club.   

    

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1 hour ago, Easterfield said:

My suspicion is that many players of the desired calibre are happy playing in the district leagues. The few who spectate may not be too concerned either way. 

Having said this, Alphington's problems were apparently based around players from Exeter choosing to play for out-of-city teams. Whether these are step 6 clubs - or others in the Devon League - I wouldn't know.

If it's Devon League teams, it really starts to suggest a two-speed league. A small number of clubs with Peninsula aspirations (but who are they?) and other clubs arguably better suited to a district league. With little in-between?

Ah, the more you think you know; the less you actually know....   

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Devon League now delaying start of the season by three weeks. Tweet yesterday:

"Following representations from Clubs it has been decided to postpone the start of the Season until Saturday, 3rd September 2022. 
The Cup games due to be played on that date will be moved to avoid starting the Season straight into Cup Games."

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On 10/08/2022 at 08:40, Easterfield said:

Devon League now delaying start of the season by three weeks. Tweet yesterday:

"Following representations from Clubs it has been decided to postpone the start of the Season until Saturday, 3rd September 2022. 
The Cup games due to be played on that date will be moved to avoid starting the Season straight into Cup Games."

But there will be seven games on 13 August according to whoever has control of the league's twitter. Full time says something else. That's saying three games all in the SW section.

Hard to keep tabs on this one.  

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26 minutes ago, Easterfield said:

But there will be seven games on 13 August according to whoever has control of the league's twitter. Full time says something else. That's saying three games all in the SW section.

Hard to keep tabs on this one.

Another reason the league has become a laughing stock. If they say the start has been delayed they should ensure that is the case across the board. Don't know who the committee who run it are, but they certainly could do with some lessons from Phil Hiscox. 

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24 minutes ago, Buckland Jim said:

Another reason the league has become a laughing stock. If they say the start has been delayed they should ensure that is the case across the board. Don't know who the committee who run it are, but they certainly could do with some lessons from Phil Hiscox. 

Thorverton saying it's possible the league set up a tweet weeks ago to appear automatically tonight announcing seven fixtures for tomorrow. They've told their opponents to wait until September.

They may be right. The tweet talks of the "lovely sunny weather" when the state of pitches is said to be one of the reasons behind the postponement of fixtures.

  

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4 minutes ago, Easterfield said:

Thorverton saying it's possible the league set up a tweet weeks ago to appear automatically tonight announcing seven fixtures for tomorrow. They've told their opponets to wait until September.

They may be right. The tweet talks of the "lovely sunny weather" when the state of pitches is said to be one of the reasons behind the postponement of fixtures.

  

The plot thickens

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13 hours ago, Buckland Jim said:

Another reason the league has become a laughing stock. If they say the start has been delayed they should ensure that is the case across the board. Don't know who the committee who run it are, but they certainly could do with some lessons from Phil Hiscox. 

If the three S and W games take place tomorrow I reckon that's Paignton Saints on the Devon FA artificial surface; D&C Autos on the similar surface at Saltash Saltmill; The Windmill on the new grass pitches maintained by Argyle on former civil service land near Beacon Park (see https://www.pafc.co.uk/news/club-and-council-strike-pitches-deal)      

 

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On 14/08/2022 at 17:17, hedgerow said:

Clubs were given the option whether to play this weekend or not providing opponents were happy. Buckland were happy to play Windmill, so were Lakeside against DC Autos. Devon League were not at fault. 

Thank you, as ever, for clearing that up. Appreciated.

In line with what was suggested by Thorverton, the league has now said the mistaken announcement of seven games on Saturday was the result of an automated tweet. As it happens, that's actually a consequence of the league improving its communications.  

Full Time showing two fixtures on 20 August, then most teams playing on 3 September. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
58 minutes ago, Buckland Jim said:

Braunton pulled out now too. Just when you thought the league couldn't sink any lower. 

Really? I checked yesterday and saw they'd postponed their next two fixtures. Unfortunately that's become something of a sign, hasn't it?

Braunton were the first North Devon club to join and are are a large club with lots of teams. Unless there's broader problems at the club, they're covered with sides in the top three sections of the North Devon League.  Interesting to see what - if anything - happens to those.

Devon Live has picked up on the demise of Lapford - reigning Devon and Exeter champions - who apparently failed a ground grading for the Devon League causing many players to move to other clubs. That will be an even sorrier tale if the Devon League encounters any more problems.    

 

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1 hour ago, Easterfield said:

Really? I checked yesterday and saw they'd postponed their next two fixtures. Unfortunately that's become something of a sign, hasn't it?

Braunton were the first North Devon club to join and are are a large club with lots of teams. Unless there's broader problems at the club, they're covered with sides in the top three sections of the North Devon League.  Interesting to see what - if anything - happens to those.

Devon Live has picked up on the demise of Lapford - reigning Devon and Exeter champions - who apparently failed a ground grading for the Devon League causing many players to move to other clubs. That will be an even sorrier tale if the Devon League encounters any more problems.    

 

Yeah the Devon League put a tweet out re Braunton. My thinking is the club will continue in the North Devon League with the rest of their teams unless like you say there's some more deeper issues behind the scenes. 

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1 hour ago, Buckland Jim said:

Here you go Easterfield, just seen this on Facebook, looks like Braunton's other 3 sides continuing 

Not a surprise. Suspect the overall state of the club remains healthy which, of course, begs questions elsewhere.   

Strikes me that, if a club's other teams are well-placed in the local district league, pulling out of the Devon League isn't a major dislocation (save for a possible fine and a few players who may feel messed around for a while). Dust probably settles pretty quickly and everybody is back to where they were before the Devon League. .  

Similar could easily apply to Appledore, Fremington and North Molton.  Each with a second team in the top two divisions of the North Devon League. The fact that two of these clubs are in their first season in the league may save the day for now.

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5 hours ago, Buckland Jim said:

Braunton pulled out now too. Just when you thought the league couldn't sink any lower. 

Interesting now to look at the Devon League from a specifically South Devon angle. 

Two reserve teams - Buckland and Newton Spurs.

One ex-Peninsula club with the facilities to go back - Stoke Gabriel.     

One club playing at a ground that could host a higher level of football - Paignton Saints (not that they have any stake in the venue or may have expressed any plan to progress)

And Ipplepen Athletic. What does the Devon League now offer them over and above the SDL? Good luck to Ipplepen if they feel it does offer more. 

 

   

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Slow on the uptake with this one but I see Plymouth Argyle have reached provisional agreement - subject to planning aproval - to buy the Parkway Sports Club on Ernesettle Lane. This would be to create the club's main training centre.

Would mean Lakeside Athletic of the Devon League needing somewhere else to play. 

     

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1 hour ago, Easterfield said:

Slow on the uptake with this one but I see Plymouth Argyle have reached provisional agreement - subject to planning aproval - to buy the Parkway Sports Club on Ernesettle Lane. This would be to create the club's main training centre.

Would mean Lakeside Athletic of the Devon League needing somewhere else to play. 

     

Millbay Park would probably be available should they need to vacate or I guess they could share Oak Villa's old ground? 

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58 minutes ago, Buckland Jim said:

Millbay Park would probably be available should they need to vacate or I guess they could share Oak Villa's old ground? 

May also depend on Argyle's plans as well as those of the Community Trust. There's currently Manadon next to Bolitho Park (which is the Community Trust rather than Argyle itself), Millennium Street which Argyle are apparently developing for their academy (where The Windmill are playing) and Harpers Park where Argyle currently train.  

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Lakeside FC will need to find a new venue for next season. But it is not just the adult team that is affected but the massive junior section of the club as well. 

Millbay Park is on a season basis, MOD can pull the plug anytime. 
Unfortunately PCC has limited pitches available in the area, land sold off for housing etc. 

Fingers cross Lakeside Ath FC will find a suitable venue, but the clock is ticking. 

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