North Devon champions Boca Seniors set to join South West Peninsula League
BOCA SENIORS are preparing to join the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League.
The North Devon League premier division champions hope to be playing in first division (east) next season.
They plan to upgrade their ground at the Tarka Tennis Centre in Barnstaple and will submit their application to join the league in the new year.
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After dominating the North Devon League for years, Darren Todd, the Boca manager, believes the time is right to step up.
"We have met the chairman and they are quite keen to have us in the league," he said.
"We just need to address the situation about our pitch at the Tarka Centre.
"We are looking to lease the pitch off the council, then we can do what we want to it."
After inquiries about playing at Barnstaple Town's Mill Road ground and Bratton Fleming, Boca are pressing on with improvements at their current home, which is owned by North Devon Council.
To meet Peninsula League ground standards, they would need to put in a fixed perimeter fence and hard-standing around the pitch and provide a covered area for up to 50 spectators.
Boca have won the North Devon League for six of the last seven seasons.
"After winning it as many times as we have, I think we need a new challenge," said Todd. "We should have done it years ago."
Playing against Peninsula League teams in the Graddon Vending Devon Premier Cup, which they won in 2009, has encouraged Boca to seek the challenge on a regular basis.
"The boys thoroughly enjoy going to these nice pitches and, no disrespect, but when you go to Putford and places like that, it's not quite the same," said Todd.
"We have got to finish first or second in the league (to ensure promotion) and if that doesn't happen the league might consider our past record, so we should be all right."
This season's run in the Devon Premier Cup ended with a 5-4 defeat at the University of Exeter in the fourth round on Saturday. Defensive errors were punished as Boca left themselves too much to do, falling 2-0 down in the first half.
Jack Jenkins pulled a goal back and despite strikes from Matt Deakin (two) and Giles Daniel, it was not enough.