TAUNTON Town’s hopes of automatic promotion to the Southern League Premier have been boosted by a shake-up of non-league football.

Following the Southern League’s AGM last Saturday, it has been announced that two clubs will be promoted automatically from both of the regional divisions at the end of the 2017-18 season, instead of the usual one.

This is good news for the Peacocks, especially given their playoff frustration over the last few seasons – losing to Tiverton Town in the most recent playoff semi-finals.

The restructuring follows the FA’s decision to introduce a new division at both Step 3 and Step 4 for the 2018-19 campaign, and so 19 clubs will be promoted from Step 4 (where the Peacocks are now) at the end of the upcoming season, as opposed to the standard 12.

Therefore each of the six regional divisions of Isthmian, Northern and Southern leagues will see two clubs promoted automatically, plus the third-placed team with the best points-per-game ratio across the six divisions.

The remaining six places will go to the winners of the playoffs, contested by the clubs finishing between third and sixth (or fourth and seventh in the league with the best third-placed side).

In addition, and subject to FA approval, the Southern League’s three divisions will be retitled the EVO-STIK League South Premier, EVO-STIK South East and EVO-STIK South West.


TAUNTON have also added a new pre-season friendly to their schedule, a trip to Bridgwater Town on Tuesday, August 1 (ko 7.45pm).

This follows the visits to the Viridor Stadium of Bristol Rovers (July 18, ko 7.45pm), Exeter City (July 20, ko 7.45pm) and Weymouth (July 25, ko 7.45pm), as well as games at Willand Rovers (July 28, ko 7.30pm) and Bovey Tracey (August 8, ko 7.30pm), with the league campaign starting on August 12.

Peacocks manager Leigh Robinson said: “We want friendlies that are easy to travel to, so Bridgwater is great, and their pitch will be better [than last season].”

Robinson also gave an update on his squad, which has been bolstered by Ross Staley and Craig Duff agreeing to stay for next season.

“I’m really pleased, as bar one or two we’re all set.

“Ross showed flashes of brilliance last season, after joining us in November.

“Given a pre-season with us, he can be fully embedded into the side.

“Craig is one to keep an eye on, after a difficult season last year [having been] a mainstay at Truro.

“He’ll be coming back fresh and hungry, and with more ex-Truro team-mates, so we have high hopes for him.”


THE club have also held trials for their newly formed Junior Premier League sides, and they are still recruiting for players at Under-14, Under-15 and Under-16 levels (school years 8, 9 and 10).

To take part, you should email youth@tauntontown.com as soon as possible.

Youth coach and co-ordinator Ben Palmer commented: “We’ve seen some great talent so far and we’re excited about getting started.

“It’s a great opportunity for young players in the area who are committed to learn and develop as footballers.”

Welcome evenings are being held for the youngsters already earmarked for the new JPL squads – the U12 and U13 evening is on Thursday, July 6, with the U14, U15 and U16 evening on Thursday, July 27, both events starting at 7.30pm at the Viridor Stadium.

Those planning to come along should email youth@tauntontown.com to confirm.