SOUTH Devon skipper Jon Martin is braced for a trying season ahead in the B Division.
The Newton Abbot club only just stayed up last season and were glad of Paul Hooper’s last day 5-0 against Braunton for the win that dodged the drop.
Former Devon captain Neil Hancock, who topped 960 runs in 2015, has retired from cricket after 18 seasons at the coalface with Torquay, Buckfastleigh, Sidmouth, Paignton and Bovey Tracey.
South African Divan Marais, who has been a consistent run getter for Chudleigh and Chagford in recent seasons, comes in as the club’s new overseas player and Hancock’s replacement.
Sean Day, the Australian all-rounder who played a big role in getting South Devon out of the C Division in 2014, was less regularly available last season. He has warned Martin not to expect to see much of him this summer.
Otherwise there have been no significant ins or outs at Marsh Road, despite regular recruiting calls during the winter by the captain.
South Devon struggled last season with Hancock on board and Martin knows it is going to be tougher without him.
“No one is under any illusions at all about the challenge facing the players this season,” said Martin.
“For the past couple of seasons we have had a comfort zone knowing if something went wrong we had Neil or Sean to bale us out.
“The new word at the club this season is responsibility. Players have to take responsibility in games as there is no one to tidy up behind them.
“We need two or three players in every match to play out of their skins. Do that and we can be competitive,”
South Devon are away to Braunton in their first outing.