Barnstaple Town championship party spoilt by Devizes no-show

NDJ

BARNSTAPLE Town’s championship party was spoilt when opponents Devizes Town failed to show up for their last league game of the season.

The visitors broke down en route from Wiltshire and were unable to arrange alternative transport.

The Barnstaple players and a crowd of more than 200 were left kicking their heels until the match was called off shortly before 3.30pm.

The board of the Toolstation Western League will meet to decide whether the match should be rescheduled. With nothing riding on the result, it seems unlikely it will be played.

Mark Edmonds, general secretary of the league, was at Mill Road to present the First Division trophy to Barnstaple.

He said: “We are very disappointed with Devizes Town’s no-show.

“It is totally unacceptable at this level of football. It’s not what the Western League is about.

“I feel very sorry for all these wonderful supporters who have turned up, the players and manager Barry (Yeo) who has worked all season for this award.

“It will now go back to the board of directors who will come to a decision (regarding any punishment for Devizes).

“Whether the game will be played is another matter as the league has already been won and it has no bearing on the league table. That will be a board decision, hopefully in the next couple of days.”

Devizes informed Barnstaple at about 12.30pm that their bus had broken down near Bristol.

Barnstaple were unable to contact anyone again until shortly before 3pm when Yeo spoke to the club chairman.

He was told the players had returned to Devizes and it was very unlikely they would be able to travel to North Devon for an evening kick-off.

In a further telephone conversation with Yeo about half an hour later, the chairman said his team would not be making the journey.

The Barnstaple players changed into their kit and were presented with the trophy and medals by Edmonds before they mingled with the spectators.

Yeo was angry that the shine had been taken off his players’ big day.

He said: “Of all the scenarios you plan for, what can you do about that?

“There are people who have travelled a long way to see us today and you feel responsible, but I know we’re not.

“As much as I want to be talking about celebrating what we’ve done that is in the back of my mind now.”

Devizes declined to make a comment.

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