Pitch dispute threatens Boca Seniors' Peninsula League application
PLANS to join the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League are in doubt for Boca Seniors after a dispute over their pitch.
The North Devon League premier division champions hope to be playing in first division (east) of the regional league next season.
But they are unhappy at the terms offered by North Devon Council for the lease of their pitch at the Tarka Tennis Centre in Barnstaple.
Boca wanted to take control of the ground maintenance and carry out upgrades, including hard-standing and a covered area for 50 spectators.
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However, the council would still maintain the right to allow other teams to use the pitch.
Darren Todd, the Boca manager, said: "We would do all the work and pay all the money but it still belongs to them and they decide who can play there and when.
"Any Sunday League or college team can go down and play there.
"Everything they have said they would let us do, they have said we can't now."
Boca would be required to pay £400 for the lease every year and a further £400 in public liability insurance.
"That's £800 we pay out before we get anything," said Todd. "The way we look at it, it seems it's all for them and none for us."
Boca are still hopeful they can find an alternative venue before their application to join the Peninsula League must be submitted in March.
Having won the North Devon League title six times in seven seasons, they are ready to move on.
"We are trying every avenue," said Todd. "We are crying out for somebody to help us but nobody will. Surely somebody out there has got a decent field we can use.
"No disrespect to the North Devon League but we need a change."
If they are unable to join the Peninsula League, Boca may consider an application for the Devon and Exeter League.