TORQUAY Athletic coach Chris Dorling has quit following a top-level meeting with club officials – and blamed player power for his departure.
Dorling was appointed for the 2011-12 season to succeed Richard Burden and guided the Tics to the Western Counties promotion play-offs, where they lost to Old Centralians.
Last season was an indifferent one as Torquay were a distant fourth in the final table, but Dorling put his reputation on the line promising to deliver promotion this season or quit at the end of it.
Five games into the campaign Torquay are mid-table and lost last time out to previously winless St Ives.
Dorling was disappointed some senior players stayed home with the 2nd XV last Saturday, rather than travel to St Ives.
He met with the Torquay executive on Tuesday night and left it as the club's ex-coach.
Said Dorling: "Player power got me – players who wouldn't buy into what I was trying to achieve for the club.
"Over the past three years I have put together a good squad and was confident we could push for promotion this year.
"Ninety-five per cent of the players are behind what we were trying to do, but there is a handful who don't like it, senior players as well.
"They felt we were bringing in too many players and took umbridge about that and other decisions, such as captaincy.
"I realised the situation couldn't continue and as the club was unlikely to get rid of several senior players it had to be me who went.
"I am sad to be going with the job unfinished, but there was no other choice as certain players would not play for me.
"The squad put together is capable of playing at the next level up – and many of those players will, either at Torquay or elsewhere.
"This experience hasn't put me off coaching; I hope it won't be too long before I can find another club."
Dorling's last match in charge was the 33-27 defeat at St Ives, who survived two men down for the last 10 minutes after Rob Rowe and Ben Williams were sin-binned.
Torquay were 15-7 up after half an hour thanks to tries by Alex Brown and Joe Ward plus a couple of goals from Alex Jeffrey.
Losing Matt Williamson to injury caused Torquay to lose focus in Dorling's opinion – and St Ives cashed in with three tries in the 20 minutes.
Tries by Jeffrey and Steve Smith got Torquay back in the game, but time ran out before they could snatch victory.
Torquay are back at the Recreation Ground this Saturday for a game against Tavistock (2.30pm).
TEIGNMOUTH coach Simon Morrell wants to cut down the penalty count when leaders Burnham visit Bitton Park.
The Teigns outscored Tavistock 5-3 on tries last Saturday, but only scraped a draw thanks to a try in the last couple of minutes by full-back Henry Raby.
Morrell wasn't too disappointed with a high-scoring draw, but could help reflecting on the cost of the penalty count.
"It took us a while to get on top – you need a map to navigate the pitch Tavistock play on – and when we did we kept giving away penalties," he said.
"A lot of the time they were needless penalties – things like getting ourselves marched back 10 metres instead of keeping quiet."
"That isn't the only reason we didn't win at Tavistock as we did mess up close to their line three of four times. But a high penalty count never helps and sooner or later you will pay."
Raby was the man of the moment for Teignmouth as he finished with a try hat-trick.
Jake Bury went in for a try, as did Peter Parsons. Dan Force two penalties.
DEFEAT simply isn't an option for Paignton when Bude visit Queens Park this Saturday.
For Paignton are rock bottom in the Western Counties table after losing to 36-13 to visiting Kingsbridge last time out.
Paignton brought in a specialist forwards coach in the run up to the game to tackle a technique issue and that proved successful up to a point.
Kingsbridge had too much continuity for Paignton though and made it pay during a second-half purple patch when they scored four tries.
"Not only do we have a young team with many players aged under 25, we also lack a bit of experience," said Richard Southcombe, the Cherries director of rugby.
"Our line-out was a lot better, our maul was strong and our line-out improved – all areas we fell down in against Truro.
"We gave them a real game in the first half, but went off the boil in the third quarter and they ran in four tries.
"After that we came back strongly, but the game was won by then."
Southcombe described the game against Bude as one Paignton have to win.
He added: "Looking at the form book their results seem to be getting worse while we are improving.
"I am not sure that counts for too much, but at home against a side down there with us we have to make sure we win."
John Clare kicked two first-half penalties for Paignton and converted a second-half try by Scott Vyle.