Sunday Independent no show
No reports due to communication breakdown
Devon & Exeter followers who usually purchase a Sunday Independent will be disappointed there is no coverage of our League this weekend. The Indy usually has reports on all local football but sadly there appears to have been a breakdown in receiving the article submitted. I have however chosen to display the content here and hope this is some consolation:
Ambitious Ottery St Mary took their winning streak to eight after lashing Division Three visitors Newton St Cyres 6-1, but they were one of just two matches in the entire League to see any action. The Otters Washbrook meadows took a hammering as the match progressed, but it stood up gallantly to the constant rain and for the home side it was a result which lifts them into second place, a point behind behind leaders Exeter University. Two goals from Tom Purdy and singles from Corey Ringer, Curtis Winchcombe, Jordan Wilkinson and Connor Lovering made up the Otters scoresheet, with Dylan Wilson getting a consolation for the Cyres. Ottery secretary Dave Fairweather said the pitch will need a lot of attention in the next few weeks but the outcome was well worth their efforts.
The only other game in the league was at King Georges playing fields in Exeter where homesters Kenn Valley United were beaten 4-2 by Culm United. The two Division Seven rivals were level at 2-2 with ten minutes remaining, but Culm managed two late breaks to deny their hosts. Kevin Evans with a real screamer and Chris Harper were the Kenn marksmen.
However the day was a real disaster for the League with 47 league games called off because of the bad weather, plus the four Devon County cup ties at Lapford, Dunkeswell, Spreyton and Sidmouth Town which will be probably be rescheduled for next week once again.
* As we reach the mid point of the season, many clubs will be pondering on what is likely to happen if the projected changes being muted by the Football Association come into effect next season. A number of clubs have attended the various meetings organised by the Devon FA in relation to the restructuring, but as yet nothing has been decided and until they are, then few clubs will have much idea of which divisions they will be playing in the 2019/2020 season. At a higher level the plan put forward by the FA is for two Step 6 divisions, one in Cornwall and one in Devon organised by the South West Peninsula League, and for three Step 7 divisions two of which will be in Devon. If this is actioned it goes without saying that the D & E League is likely to see a number of its teams accepted into the new Step 7 divisions. This will also affect the other three Devon feeder Leagues, South Devon, North and West Devon. and no doubt they have the same head-scratching to do.
We cannot speak for the other County Leagues, but the Devon & Exeter League will almost certainly have to restructure and it seems very likely that they will need to drop at least one division. The League usually tries to operate with 14 teams in any divisions, apart from Premier which is usually 16, but Division One was sadly reduced to 11 after withdrawals by Cullompton Res, Perry Street, and Woodbury, so that will also have a knock on effect.
The chances are that next season we could operate with a Premier division, three senior divisions, and four Intermediate. This is speculation and readers should note this is only the authors take on what may happen, but clubs should be aware of the changes that might well have to be made.
The other unknown factor is whether we might lose any of our current teams but equally whether we can expect new teams to join our ranks. There are always comings and goings but it would be good to see some of the recently disbanded clubs make a return to the fold.
However 2019 is likely to be a game changer for most of our teams, and in the authors view tinged with a little sadness on the way things are heading. There has to be progress and change is bound to happen but it is sad to see the four Devon feeder leagues being slowly diminished after over a century of dominating grassroots football throughout the County. Remember, the D & E League or East Devon Senior League as it started, was where Exeter City and Tiverton Town began, Torquay United enjoyed some early years, and where other big names such as Barnstaple Town and Bideford have graced our paths over this time.
Sunday 16th December 2018