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Newton Abbot supremo calls for cup rethink

By Herald Express  |  Posted: December 26, 2013

TWO LEGS:  Roy Henderson

TWO LEGS: Roy Henderson

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NEWTON Abbot's director of rugby Roy Henderson has urged Devon Senior Cup bosses to go the whole hog and make the competition home-and-away all the way through.

The competition has been tinkered with considerably over the past few seasons to match the changing status and priorities of the top clubs in the county.

Last season eight clubs were invited to take part: National League clubs Exmouth, Barnstaple, Newton Abbot and Brixham, plus South West One sides Paignton, Sidmouth and Cullompton and Western Counties outfit Torquay.

Entry was limited to National League sides only this term with the rest being offered places in the Devon Intermediate Cup instead.

One of the reasons was to avoid mismatches between sides of widely differing standards.

This season's Devon Cup starts straight at the semi-final stage where Newton Abbot were due to entertain Brixham on Saturday. That game was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Holders Exmouth are due to face Barnstaple on dates to be rearranged in the New Year.

To make up for the 'lost' quarter-final games and revenue opportunities for clubs, Devon RFU made the semi-finals home and away this season.

Henderson said he welcomed the move to home and away – but why stop at the semi-finals?

"The final should be home and away as well which would be a lot fairer," said Henderson.

"Both clubs would have the chance to earn from the match then and make extra money through bar takings and additional sponsorship.

"At the moment the away side get a fraction of the gates takings and nothing else, not a lot for reaching a prestigious game."

Chris Forster, the chairman of Brixham and Devon RFU official in charge of the Devon Cup, quickly poured cold water on the idea of a home-and-away final.

"You can't have a home-and-away final – the whole concept of a final is it being a one-off match," said Forster.

"The semi-finals were made home and away so clubs made up for not having a quarter-final."

Newton Abbot's game against Brixham will now take place on February 1.

Meanwhile, a new date will need to be found for Exmouth's semi-final first-let game against Barnstaple, which was due to be played on February 1.

That date is likely to be taken by Exmouth to play their National Two South game against Taunton, which was called on Saturday.

NEWTON Abbot have a lunchtime appointment with their Exiles XV on Boxing Day (noon).

The Exiles hope to include prop Alex Gale, who is home from college for Christmas.

Gale will be around for the league game against Lydney on January 4 before he returns to Hull to continue his studies.

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