EXMOUTH skipper Richard Baggs is going to put up with pain and play against North Devon on Saturday while still recovering fron a dislocated shoulder.
Baggs put his shoulder out fielding in a pre-season game and expected to be out for two or three weeks.
The recovery has gone bettern than expected, allowing Baggs to start what he intends to be his last season as skipper.
Baggs, who will be 43 next birthday, knows his time in the Premier Division is limited and was keen to get back in action as quickly as he can.
There won’t be many more chances to add to his tally of Premier Division title, currently standing at six with Exmouth and three with Sandford.
Baggs, the Premier Division’s greatest student of the game with 26 seasons under his belt, accepts defending champions Sidmouth are the favourites to win another title.
Favourites can come unstuck though and Baggs wants one more shot at winning the Premier Division before it’s too late.
“Sidmouth are formidable and with Scott Barlow bowling for them again this year look as strong as ever,” said Baggs.
“To stop Sidmouth winning it again a side has to play well all season and that is the challenge for any rival captain.
“Our batting line-up is the most destructive in the league and we have depth right down to George Greenway at nine or ten.
“We are good enough to beat anybody, but what we haven’t been able to do is keep winning,
“If we can find that consistency this season, which with improved availability in the squad should be possible, don’t count us out.
“If this is going to be my last season as Exmouth captain – and I have been trying to stand down for a couple of years now – winning the league would be a great way to finish.”
Exmouth are affectionately known on the circuit as ‘Dad’s Army’ owing to the number of players in their late 30s and older still turning out regularly.
Staying fit is a potential problem and it isn’t just Baggs who has issues.
Bob Dawson, who at 47 is fast approaching veteran status, has knee trouble that may force him to miss a game or two.
Exmouth have recruited 6ft 8ins fast bowler Sam Harris from the University of Exeter and teenage all-rounder Billy Rudolph from Ottery St Mary.
Chris Metters, the former Devon and Warwickshire spin bowler, has returned after a couple of seasons with Bradninch. He has committed to play in 13 of the 18 league games.
There is no overseas player at Exmouth this season, partly an economy measure and partly because the right player wasn’t available.