SIDMOUTH will be mounting an all-out effort to win the Premier Division title after surrendering it to Torquay last season.
New skipper Luke Bess – he has taken over from long-serving Will Murray – hasn’t limited his pre-season to wait-and-see type comments.
Bess wants to regain the title Murray won five times in six seasons, although he has plenty of respect for the competition.
“We take our cricket seriously at Sidmouth and go out trying to win every game,” said Bess.
“Yes we want to win the title again, but to do that we need to have a good first half of the season.
“There is going to be a different look to the side this year as some of the old faithfuls have moved on or won’t be available until mid-season.
“Nick Gingell is playing golf, Liam Lewis won’t be around until halfway and my brother Josh isn’t due back from Australia until early June.
“We have lost Pete Randerson to Heathcoat and Dan Powell, who would have kept wicket, is playing rugby for Devon for the first few weeks of the season. Fortunately, we have Matt Hewer to keep.
“The first half of the season is an opportunity for players to come in and make a name for themselves, players who haven’t always had a chance because we have been so strong for so long.
“It has been good to see the Gaters playing again – particularly Henry who took a hundred off a good Exeter side last Saturday.”
It is no surprise at all that Zak Bess, one of the captain’s brothers, has returned to the Fortfield after a spell with Exeter. He opens the bowling for Devon and can bat a bit too.
On his way back in mid-June is Josh Bess, who was the Devon captain in 2013-14. He has been working in Australia for the past 20 months.
Kyle Brockley, a brisk medium pacer, has come over from Western Australia as Sidmouth’s overseas player.
Gone from last season are keeper-batter Pete Randerson, who has rejoined Heathcoat. Devon U19 keeper Dan Powell will pick up the gloves.
Expect to see a younger look to Sidmouth 1st XIs this season as some of the old guard stand aside.
They have to be considered a threat to anyone, although it may be mid-June before opponents are on the receiving end.