THREE months after finishing runners-up in the Dartmouth Cup, Riviera Spurs have become the latest club to leave the South Devon League.
Spurs are the second established Torquay-based club to withdraw in recent months, with Hele Rovers dropping out at the end of last season.
After starting last season with high hopes in Division One, Spurs eventually finished third from bottom, culminating in the resignation of first-team managers Andy Wotton and Tim Willcocks.
Spurs were also in the midst of a disciplinary crisis, leaving the club with a record £800-plus in fines.
In response, the committee made the decision not to re-register several players, further weakening a squad already suffering with the loss of key players to rival clubs and university.
Chairman Tony Hele made it clear that he did not blame individuals for the club's situation.
But he did reveal his surprise that the remaining players, many who were used to playing Division Five football, were unwilling to step up.
"I'm frustrated that players aren't prepared to play and see if they can compete at a higher level," he said.
"We went to Beesands and for 20 minutes either side of half-time we played quite well, and I was thrilled last week when we drew at Watts, Blake & Bearne.
"But in the cold light of day more than half of the team were concerned at playing regular Division One football.
"I'm not annoyed with them, but when I was playing, if someone had given me that opportunity I would have snapped their hand off."
Hele also refused to criticise the league ruling that states it is the reserve side that must withdraw first.
"It's possible to fall foul of the rules in a situation like this, but the league regulation is clear.
"That's not a bad thing because if we, or other clubs previously had been able to keep their reserve team and fold their first team, there's always the possibility that you can attract players of Division One standard afterwards."
Hele admitted he was left feeling gutted with having to withdraw the club from a competition they had been involved with since 1993, when they successfully applied for the six vacant places left by clubs moving up to the newly-formed Devon County Football League.
"It started as an U15s and U16s club in the Dr Pepper League in Plymouth in 1991, so we're having to fold something that started over 20 years ago," Hele said.
"Over the period we have had various cup successes and built slowly up from Division Seven through to one season in the Premier Division, maintaining our position in Division One ever since."
Despite their withdrawal, the club will remain affiliated to the Devon FA and therefore be eligible for friendlies.
Also facing a player crisis are Premier runners-up Kingskerswell & Chelston.
Manager Paul Edwards was still coming to terms with the news that Sam Heath and Louis Horton were joining Totnes & Dartington, when his side went two goals down in their opening fixture at Galmpton Reserves.
Third-team goalkeeper Jake Isaacs punched a pass-back into his own net before tangling with his own defender to give Ryan Bush an easy goal.
The Kings soon settled and eventually ran out 6-2 winners, with braces from Ben Cripwell and Chris Newnham and singles from Ollie Aplin and Leon Newnham.
Despite the win, the loss of TWELVE players including Dom Aplin (Stoke), Stephen Woodcock (Watcombe), Shane Shobbrook (Babbacombe), Gareth McEwan (Buckland) and, probably, Curtis Booth, could be a blow too much.
In the only other top flight fixture, Ipplepen took the lead but lost out 3-2 at home to Newton Spurs, Stocker and Willcocks scoring for Athletic, with Ryan Sanders (2) and Troy Baker on target for Spurs in Jamie Argyle and Scott Hayman's first match in charge.
In Division One, Bovey Reserves extended their winning run to thirteen with the only goal at East Allington, scored by Chris Jones.
In Division Five, Moretonhampstead celebrated their continued existence with three goals and a point against Torbay Police.
De Garces scored a brace, with Michael Locke also finding the back of the net. Alan Birch (2) and Chris Sargent hit the target for the Bees.