League confirms no promotion for Bovey Tracey 2nd XI if they finish in B Division top two

FINISHING third in the B Division could be enough to win promotion this season.

That’s the ruling from Devon League officials in response to questions from clubs about the status of Bovey Tracey 2ndXI.

When an all-through league was voted in for the 2018 season, one of the rules agreed was that no 2ndXI could progress beyond the B Division.

Clubs understood that meant no promotion into the A Division for a 2ndXI and thought little more about it. Until now.

Bovey Tracey 2ndXI won promotion into the B Division at the end of last season as C Division West champions. Going into this weekend’s fixtures they sit in the second promotion spot behind leaders Seaton.

Club officials have been perusing the rules and regulations to see what provision has been made should a 2ndXI finish in the top two. There isn’t one.

All sorts of speculation has been doing the rounds, fuelled by an existing imbalance of numbers in the division since Filleigh pulled out in April.

Would league officials balance the numbers for next season by only promoting one club in the event Bovey Tracey 2ndXI finishing in the top two? Or would the third-placed club get the nod instead.

Following a meeting of the league executive earlier this week, a statement has been issued clarifying the situation.

The same officials are also aware it is almost certain another 2ndXI will be in the B Division next season as Heathcoat II, Exmouth II and Sidmouth II are the current top three in the C Division East.

It is conceivable the top two spots in next summer’s B Division could be filled by 2ndXIs.

Phil Bees, the league’s fixture officer, said limiting promotion to just one club was not an option as far as officials were concerned. And he promised some tidying up of regulations for the 2020 season.

 The statement reads: 

Playing regulation 1 (vi) explains that no club 2ndXI may rise higher than the B Division. Presently Bovey Tracey CC 2ndXI are in second place in that division and the league management committee considered the issue of promotion from the B Division, should they end the season in a promotion spot.

With the withdrawal of Filleigh CC prior to the season, it had already been decided only one team will be relegated from the B Division at the end of this season. However, in order to maintain the promotion of two teams from the B Division and should Bovey Tracey 2ndXI finish in a promotion spot, then the next placed team will be promoted instead. 

The solution reached by the league management committee is applicable for the 2019 season. It is probable that a longer-term change to the playing regulations will be required and we plan to bring forward any proposals for amendments to both the divisional and annual meetings.