BRIDPORT boss Chris Herbst admitted his surprise at seeing the South West Peninsula League Premier East cut to just 16 teams for the 2024/25 season.

In the previous campaign, 17 teams were confirmed which in itself was a drop from 19 in 2022/23.

Premier East champions Ivybridge Town will go up into the Western League Premier Division next term.

Dartmouth, who finished bottom in 2023/24, have not received a reprieve on points per game and were relegated to Step 7.

READ MORE: Bridport confirm 2024 pre-season schedule

That left the league with 15 teams, meaning Middlezoy Rovers have sidestepped from Western Division One to the Premier East.

However, the Somerset side ridiculed the decision in an expletive-laden post on social media and signalled their intention to appeal.

There was no promotion up from Step 7’s Devon League, despite University of Exeter, Appledore and Beer Albion comfortably taking the top three positions.

South West Peninsula League (SWPL) officials confirmed the trio were refused promotion after falling short of ground-grading criteria.

It means both SWPL divisions are the only Step 6 leagues out of 17 nationwide without a minimum of 18 teams, the average being 20.

Speaking to the Bridport News regarding the situation, Herbst said: “I was thinking they’d add a few more.

“With Exeter Uni appealing it would be good to get a couple more teams in our league.

“It’s a shame because I looked at the table below and Beer and Uni have done really well in it.

“Appledore as well, they’re the top three teams. So, you’d think they’d be in our league to get a few more fixtures in there.

“It would be good to play Middlezoy but it’s dependent on their appeal as well.”