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Premier's top two prepare for showdown

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: December 27, 2012

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SECOND-PLACED Feniton and leaders Hatherleigh Town clash at Acland Park on Saturday in the Premier Division, hoping to go into the new year as favourites for the title.

Neither club has ever won the big one before, so the incentive is huge, with promotion to the Peninsular League as a potential option for the champions.

Both teams score goals for fun, so the outlook for a cracking end of 2012 is good.

However, both Feniton and Hatherleigh, along with the other Premier Division teams, are hoping for a break in the weather which saw last Saturday's programme of 55 league games and two cup ties washed out.

That is exactly one month after the first total wipeout, and even the dry lands of Beer (Furzebrake) and Newtown (Broadclyst) could not compete with the elements.

The other title threats in the Premier Division come from reigning champions St Martins, who are away at Budleigh on Saturday, Heavitree Social United (at home to Thorverton) and Newtown (at home to Willand). If form is anything to go by then all three should collect maximum points so the top of the Premier Division tree could be pretty congested going into 2013.

Saturday also throws up two cracking Division One games involving the top four.

Leaders Chard Town are at second-place Sidbury United, and Tiverton Town are at Witheridge in a mouth-watering local derby.

All four teams have Premier Division ambitions for next season so will looking to collect three well-earned points.

However, with all that ambition, it has been reported that the league is suffering slightly from a lack of interest from local players. Nowadays managers say players do not have the urgency to play as they did a few decades ago. This attitude is not just prevalent in lower levels of the Devon & Exeter League.

It stems from Premier Division down to Division Eight.

The distractions are greater of course. It is easier to travel and there is more live football on TV, while more players support the major clubs. All this can distract many from playing for their local teams.

It also seems to apply to the student fraternity.

One spokesmen recently said that with so many sports activities now available on campus at Exeter University, the Saturday match is for many just another game.

However it is not all doom and gloom. The league is still packed to the rafters with nearly 100 clubs operating. When compared to local leagues at this same level in various neighbouring counties, it is clear that football in Devon is still doing very well.

The Devon & Exeter League also has an abundance of referees and hopefully many of today's players will somehow maintain the urgency to give up their respective spare time when they stop playing.

Cup draws, East Devon Senior Cup, February 10: Bow AAC v Tiverton Town, Exmouth Ams v Morchard Bishop, Feniton v Seaton Town, Newtown v Chard Town. Bill See Cup, February 24: Halwill v Dawlish United, Lympstone v Colaton Raleigh, Tedbrun St Mary or Newtown v Exmouth Amateurs/Crediton United or Dolphin, Pinhoe or Chagford v Topsham Town or South Zeal United. Football Express Cup: Dawlish United v Cheriton Fitzpaine, St Martins or East Budleigh v Topsham Town or Morchard Bishop, Awliscombe United v Culm United. Langdon through to semi-finals after winning 2-1 at Beer. Geary Cup: Alphington v Starcross Generals, Pinhoe v Bickleigh or Tipton St John, Woodbury v Newtown. Otterton already in semi-finals after beating Colaton Raleigh 6-1.

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