Point on the table worth three in hand
PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:37 15 June 2010
The Devon and Exeter League programme took a severe soaking on Saturday with just seven matches surviving the heavy rain.
The Devon and Exeter League programme took a severe soaking on Saturday with just seven matches surviving the heavy rain. Not a single Premier Division game got under way, the nearest any side got was at Beer Albion where the Furzebrake ground staff had fought a valiant battle against the rising water levels, only for the match referee to deem the surface unplayable. Seaton Town played in the only Senior One game to beat the weather. They were at the 'always playable' Broadclyst pitch where they shared six goals with the hosts and, at the end of the day, Town boss Mark Rooke was celebrating the gaining of a point rather than the loss of two! He said: "Given the atrocious conditions - even on their so reliable pitch it really was like playing in a mud bath - I have to take a point as a bonus. The conditions left it like a lottery as you simply could not play the ball around on that. But we stuck to our task and I thought showed great character to bring something back from a venue we lost at last year, in better conditions too!"A Brad Groves header from outside the box levelled things up after the hosts had struck first.A close range finish from Ollie Highett and a repeat of his first effort from 'hit man' Groves took Town into the break with a 3-2 advantage but, within five minutes of the restart, the home side scored an equaliser that was as much to do with the playing surface as anything else. At that stage the neutral would have fancied the home side and, indeed, a year ago, a defeat in Broadclyst went some way to nailing shut the coffin in terms of Seaton's promotion bid. But they are made of sterner stuff this term and battled to the end to take something back to East Devon with them.Rooke says of the remaining programme: "I sense that there is a real belief and with it a determination too from everyone that we will make it past the winning post this season in terms of getting that elusive promotion berth and with it a place in next year's Premier Division. "That is what we all want and I believe that, if we can replicate the commitment and hard graft we showed at Broadclyst last Saturday in our remaining games, then we will be very, very close to taking that much desired step up a level."No games were played in Senior Two, Three or Four, just one was played in Senior Five, that at Sampford Peverell, whilst Feniton Reserves were involved in the only Intermediate One game to be played. The Blues' second string saw their slim promotion hopes remain 'alive' with a 4-2 win thanks to first half goals from Ben Allen and Phil Palfrey and a second half double from Tom Perryman. Only two other local sides saw any action. Feniton 3rds managed to play at Station Road, thanks to the hard work of the groundstaff, to get the game played but they were beaten 2-0 by Otterton and Awliscombe Reserves also got a game in, going down 9-1 at a stronger than usual Okehampton Argyle Thirds. This coming weekend sees most of the local sides with scheduled matches. In the Premier Division both Feniton and Beer Albion stage home games and, with the sides still very much looking for top six finishes at the very least, both will be looking to record home victories. Feniton go into their Acland Park game with Clyst Valley sitting in 10th spot where they are just 10 points off the very summit and yet a similar margin of points above the drop zone! Beer Albion go into their home game with Sidmouth one point better off than Feniton, having played a game fewer than the Blues.Seaton Town's promotion bid continues at home where they tackle Alphington but the East Devon 'match of the day' is likely to be the Senior Two game at Glebe Park, Upottery, where the promotion seeking villagers host soon to be manager-seeking Honiton Town. Upottery boss Merv Sawyer recognises the importance of the game as he refuses to rule the visitors out of the promotion picture: "I don't think Honiton are out of the promotion race just yet and this is a tricky game. If we win then we will be making a big statement of intent with regard to our own ambitions whilst they will come to us knowing that they simply 'have' to win the game." Honiton Town's Nigel Doe accepts that their chances of promotion are now slim: "I think that from our current position we would be very fortunate to go on and win promotion but you never know in this game and a win at Upottery would certainly offer us a spark."In Senior Three, Colyton are very much part of the promotion race and they begin the run-in with a trip to Winkleigh. In the same section 'doomed' Motel and Offwell Rangers simply 'have to' win at home to Lapford if they are to mount anything like a 'great escape'.The draws have been made for the later stages of the various cup competitions and there's East Devon interest in all of them. In the East Devon Senior Cup the two semi finals see Clyst Valley face Sidmouth Town and Hatherleigh Town take on St Martin's. In the Bill Slee Cup its Morchard Bishop against Sidbury United and Tipton St John versus Heavitree Social United. In the Football Express Cup its Heavitree Harriers versus Feniton and Phoenix Club taking on Okehampton Argyle and, in the East Devon Geary Cup, Halwill meet Beer Albion Reserves and Priory take on Honiton Town Reserves.