Barnstaple Town have been shocked by the resignation of their manager Peter Buckingham, who only took up the job in May, before a match has been played.

Some of their Mid Devon players are also understood to have left the club.

Buckingham quit Town for a second time - he was previously with them from 2005-2008 - the day before they were due to play the first of their pre-season friendlies, against Bovey Tracey on Saturday. The match was cancelled.

But Barnstaple have vowed to carry on with their Toolstation Western League campaign, with physio Dave Griffiths taking charge, helped by former reserve team boss Terry Chapple.

It is understood that Buckingham has rejoined his former club Elmore, where he played and was also their manager for nine years. Ironically, he left them to join Barnstaple in 2005.

Buckingham had made a number of new signings during his short time at Barnstaple, but has been quoted as blaming a lack of local players as key to his decision to leave.

Barnstaple’s acting chairman Dave Cooke told the Gazette: “It is my belief that some of the players who were coming from Mid Devon have had a change of mind and received other offers from nearer home. What’s done is done and as we have only lost two-three players, the majority have agreed to stay, so we can carry on looking forward to the season ahead.

“ As long as we have local people like Dave Griifiths and Terry Chapple, who have the club at heart and are happy to carry on overseeing the playing side of the club, we will continue as normal. They will both be given the opportunity to manage the side until the end of the season.”

The weather had partly put paid to the Bovey Tracey fixture, but they hoped to go ahead against Holsworthy this Saturday at Mill Road k.o 4.00pm, he said.