OLDER and wiser this time around, Cornwood are back in the Premier Division two years after they bowed out of it.
The Corns beat long-time leaders Brixham on the final day of last season to pinch the A Division title.
This is Cornwood’s third attempt at getting established in the Premier Division. The first was in 2000-01 and the most recent between 2013-14.
Former Devon keeper Duncan Boase – a Lord’s winner with the county in 1994 – played regularly in the 2000-01 side and helped out a time or two on the last Premier visit.
Now installed as director of cricket, Boase hopes this will be third time lucky in the top flight for the Corns.
The statistics aren’t good for promoted sides in recent seasons – if they survive the first year there is no guarantee they will survive a second – but Boase is undeterred.
“Almost all the side that came down two years ago is still here and they haven’t suffered because of the experience,” said Boase.
“What we had then was a lot of talented young players who really didn’t now what Premier cricket is all about.
“What was lacking was maturity last time we were there.
“The difference for me now is the players who were boys then are grown-up cricketers now and capable of making the jump.”
Elliot Staddon was one of the young players pitched into the Premier Division last time round and his gutsy batting in tough situations earned the respect of team-mates and rivals alike. He was in the side for his bowling.
Staddon is captain now, having taken over from Jason Hall.
Hall stood aside during the winter due to work commitments, but Cornwood hope he will carry on playing.
Definitely gone is keeper Mark Horwell, who has retired due to persistent injury problems.
Gone for now is early order batter Chris Parker, who is taking a year off.
Cornwood still have match pro Jackson Thompson and Kiwi left-armer Craig James. They have also signed left-armer Shazhad Ahmed.