SIDMOUTH skipper Luke Bess said his team won’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the flattering comments coming at them from all angles as the new season is about to start.

The defending champions entertain newly promoted Paignton this Saturday the seemingly odds-on favoutites to retain the title they won last year.

Sidmouth finished 33 points clear at the top of the Premier table with two wins more than runners-up Exeter.

Such is the strength in depth at the Fortfield, the second team won their division by a 25-point margin, also from Exeter.

Exmouth captain Richard Baggs has described Sidmouth’s team as ‘formidable’ and Torquay skipper Justin Yau described the champs as ‘the team everyone else aspires to be like’.

That is just a sample of the comments.

Bess said whatever rival captains think, his group of players won’t be taking much notice.

“There have been other years when we have heard similar things before the season starts and have not gone on to win it,” said Bess.

“Plenty of players in the team have been in sides that has happened to and it is an experience they draw from. When you don’t win, it makes you realise what is needed to win.

Scott Barlow“We can’t do anything about what other people think about us and won’t take too much notice of it.

“It only takes a couple of good performances on the day and anybody can beat anybody in the Premier Division. There are a lot of good players around.

“Other people’s opinions don’t win anything. We need to concentrate on our getting out skills right.”

Sidmouth had a settled side last season – seven squad members played in 16 or more of the 18 games – and have not been out recruiting for the season ahead.

Aussie paceman Kyle Brockley, who took 31 wickets last season, isn’t coming back and has not been replaced either.

Bess is happy with what he has got. While sad to lose Matt Hewer (Seaton) and Harvey Sargent (Exeter), who have left for regular first team cricket elsewhere, strengthening was not a priority.

“We felt there was no need for an overseas player now Scott Barlow is going to be back with us permanently,” said Bess.

“Scott gives you 10 quality overs of control and with him back and Josh (Bess) bowling again we would have to leave a local player out to fit an overseas in and didn’t want to do that.”

Devon captain Josh Bess barely bowled last season due to injury, but has looked sharp for club and county during the pre-season phase.

Zak Bess, the youngest of the three Bess brothers, can’t bowl at the moment due to a side strain but will play as a batter in the opening round of games.

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