Barnstaple Town Football Club has been given a few more weeks to find the help it desperately needs to continue as a Western League club.
Short of cash and of helpers, the club held a crisis meeting last Thursday, which brought a healthy turnout of some 60 people and has won them extra time.
A volunteer was found to help spearhead a small action group to seek potential sponsors and several donations were given or pledged for the coming weeks.
But, crucially, no volunteers came forward to help with the running of the club in the future, so the lifeline could be short lived unless more help can be found.
Dave Cooke, who has been filling the gap as interim chairman since the beginning of the year, told the Gazette: “This has meant the team can carry on playing in the league for the next few weeks and that is why I have extended the date of the next follow up and final meeting to November 15th at the clubhouse 7.30pm. This will give the action group a little longer in their efforts. A final decision on the club’s playing future will have to be made at that time.”
Cooke, who took up the chairmanship on an interim basis to help out and who has been carrying out many of the other off-field duties on his own, said he was now standing down as interim chairman with immediate effect.
He also revealed that, since the previous meeting, the club has been hit by further bad news in the form of a large bill from South West Water, which will now put extra pressure on it’s resources.
If anyone can help in any role or wishes to make contact with the Barnstaple club, they can call Dave on 07939 217084.
On the pitch, Town gave a good account of themselves away to St Blazey in the FA Carlesberg Vase, before losing the potential money-spinner 2-1.
The Cornishmen, currently second in the South West Peninsula Premier Division, had six former Barnstaple players in their line-up.
A makeshift Barnstaple drew on players whose own matches had been cancelled by the weather to make up their numbers. These included the loan of Bideford defender Jack Furzer - whose role ended with a red card 30 mins from the end for a professional foul.
Town had the better of the opening half-hour and deservedly took the lead on 20 mins when a cross from Carl Bassett was brought down at the far post and volleyed home by Ethan Phillips. St Blazey came back strongly in the final stages of the half and hit back with an equaliser on 35 mins. Five minutes into the second half they took the lead with a good cross and volley.
The Cornishmen were denied another chance when, following Furzer’s red card, keeper Darren Rose capped another fine display by saving the resulting penalty.
Manager Dave Griffiths said he was disappointed to have lost and believed that a draw would have been a fair result.
He was grateful to those players who had turned up to help, including those from the North Devon League, who had shown they were capable of coming forward to play Western League football, he said.
He singled out Ian Wheatley, who joined them earlier this season from Chittlehampton. He had come on ‘leaps and bounds’ and did a brilliant job on Saturday, said Griffiths.
Striker Danny Jenkins from Torrington also returned to help out his old club and put in a good stint.
Town now face a tough patch in the league. Last night (Tuesday) they were at home to Buckland Athletic, who beat them 9-1 away. Then comes a match at home to Cadbury Heath on Saturday and a trip to Willand next Tuesday.
Ilfracombe’s scheduled league match at home to Winterbourne was postponed by the weather.
Combe are next in action away to Longwell Green on Saturday.