By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
TORQUAY’S season was a qualified success according to director of development Mike Pugh.
One of two eyes were raised when the mini-divisions that comprised the cut-down Tolchards Devon League season were published at Torquay were not in the Premier Tier.
Although they were relegated from the Premier Division proper at the end of the 2019 season, Torquay 1st XI were initially counted as one of the top-16 teams in the league and worth of a place in one of the four divisions of four teams that made up the top tier.
Torquay argued they had lost so many players since relegation they needed a breathing space to rebuild, so they were placed in Tier Two instead. Four wins in five starts later Torquay were South One winners.
Torquay went on to beat Heathcoat 2nd XI in the play-off semi-finals, only to lose a high-scoring final against Ipplepen by a handful of runs.
Chris Kelmere’s 1st XI were losing semi-finalists in the Aaron Printers T20 Cup. The 2nd XI under Matt McCann fell at the same hurdle in the Brockman Cup.
Torquay may have had no trophies to show for their efforts in trimmed-down season, but Pugh saw numerous benefits.
“It was great to get some cricket played and give a major chance for some of the young lads to grab opportunities without any pressure, which they all did,” said Pugh.
“Next year they will be stronger and will have developed into better players.
“I have had the chance to install the standard expected in training as well as games into our young players.
“The season we had was perfect for implementing the club’s rebuilding plan, which will continue during the winter ready for next year.”
Teenagers Harry Passenger, Noah Rider and Sonny Baker all got overs in and wickets logged in the first team.
James Tyler, a mid-winter recruit from lower-division Alphington & Countess Wear CC, made a name for himself with bat and ball. His league batting average was 35.40 and he booked eight wickets at 26.88 each. Not bad for 15.