Bovey Tracey

BOVEY Tracey have not finished outside the top five in the Premier Division since returning to it in 2009 -  but are still waiting to repeat their title win of 2002.

New skipper Sam Hickenbottom – he has taken over from Andy Fairbairn – faces the challenge of turning contenders into challengers this season.

Hickenbottom has only been at the club three years – previously he played in Leicestershire – but as an outsider looking in has noticed a trend.

“We get two thirds through the season then get a result that goes against us and seem to find it hard to come back,” said Hickenbottom.

“Last season it was Exeter on a day when they had absolutely everyone available and that defeat knocked the wind out of us.

“We have to deal with setback and stay hungry for the next game.

“This season we have a number of new,  young players in the side and they are brimming with enthusiasm.

“I hope the early enthusiasm is still there as energy in August and that we are still in the mix.”

Jordan Willoughby, last season’s leading run getter with 398, has been replaced by Rob Honeybul as the touring player.

Honeybul, an English-born 22 year old from the North East, has been playing in Western Australia for Grade side University.

Honeybul may miss the opening game against Cornwood on Saturday due to a hand injury.

Former Zimbabwe U19 captain Malcolm Lake will be available for his third season at the club, but only after his exam season is over at Oxford University.

A younger Lake – Andrew – will be available for the second half of the season.

Bovey have signed seamer Hugo Whitlock and batter Tom Andrews from Abbotskerswell. Both have done well pre-season.

Former Devon captain Chris Bradley has said he hopes to play more often this season – a real boost to the bowling department.

Stock bowler Ryan Bougourd has rib injury sustained on the football pitch and may make a delayed entrance this season.