By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
LEFT-arm spinner Matt Petherbridge has left Plymouth to play for Callington with the expressed intention of landing a place in the Cornwall county side.
Petherbridge has been a consistent wicket-taker in the Tolchards Devon League for Plymouth and Torquay, but nailing down a regular place in the Devon side has proved impossible.
Devon have turned to Petherbridge off and on since 2015, but most of his appearances have been in Twenty20 cricket, not three-day or 50-over competitions.
Petherbridge said he wants to play National Counties cricket and said his ‘best chance’ of doing that lies on the other side of the Tamar Bridge.
“I am 21 and want the best chance of playing National Counties cricket, particularly in the three-day format,” said Petherbridge. “Unfortunately, that doesn’t look likely in the current Devon set-up.
“I know a few of the Callington team, having guested for them over the last couple of years, and think it’s now time for a new challenge.
“It is up to me to keep improving and continue taking wickets. if that happens and the opportunity comes in Cornwall then I will be delighted.”
Petherbridge joined Plymouth for the 2018 season having earned his spurs in Premier Division cricket taking 78 wickets in three seasons with Torquay. He said he leaves with happy memories of his time at Mount Wise.
“I have enjoyed my three years at Plymouth and would like to thank Jon Varcoe for getting me there initially,” said Petherbridge.
“Taking my 100th Premier Division wicket at Sandford on the same day Faizan Riaz passed 1,000 runs for the season was one of the highlights.”
Riaz, Plymouth’s Pakistani professional, scored 156 in a high-scoring match, which Plymouth won by six runs.
Varcoe, still the Plymouth captain, said he was disappointed to lose Petherbridge but understood his reasons.
“Matt wants to have a crack at National Counties cricket on a more consistent basis,” said Varcoe.
“Cornwall approached him, however they wanted him play cricket in the county.
“It is sad to see him go and I know it wasn't an easy decision for him. He's been an important part of our side the last few years.
“We have got lots of bowling options at the club so it'll be a good opportunity for others to step up as our frontline spinner.”
Petherbridge followed dad Dave into the first team at Cornwood in 2014, but left at the end of the season to join Torquay.
Petherbridge spent three seasons at the Recreation Ground and was a member of their Premier Division title-winning team in 2015. He took 37 wickets that season including five for 27 against Plympton, which remains his career best.
In two full seasons at Plymouth – 2018 and 2019 – Petherbridge bagged another 33 wickets. His best performance was taking five for 31 against Exeter in year one. A further 15 wickets were added in the mini-league played last July and August.
Petherbridge made his only three-day appearance for Devon in a defeat by Shropshire at Shrewsbury in 2015. He took three wickets for 63 runs.
Eight outings in T20 cricket produced 12 wickets, eight of them taken in a double-header against Wiltshire at Salisbury.