Jack Ford hitting out<br>credit: All photos Conrad Sutcliffe

SANDFORD have made another significant signing as they strengthen their squad for an assault on the Premier Division title next summer.

Jackson Thompson, the former Gloucestershire professional and latterly captain of Cornwood, was confirmed as a Sandford new boy last week.

Sandford’s latest signing is Bideford all-rounder Jack Ford, who wants to step-up from B Division cricket to play in the top flight.

Ford, 18, went through the county age-group system and has seldom been out of the Bideford 1stXI since 2017.

His off-spin claimed 39 Tolchards DCL wickets in the season just ended at an average of 12.54. With the bat he totted up 304 runs at an average in the low 20s.Jack Ford - on the way to Sandford for 2022

Ford’s North Devon League statistics for Sunday cricket include a knock of 174 against Lynton & Lynmouth in an opening stand of 282 with James Greenleaf (132).

In age group games for the Devon Cricket Board XI, Ford hit half-centuries against Somerset and Gloucestershire as well as taking 10 wickets.

Ford said it was a ‘tough’ decision to leave Bideford, but the ‘challenge’ of Premier cricket is irresistible.

“I am massively looking forward to joining a Sandford team who will challenge for the title and a club where I can develop even more as a cricketer,” said Ford. 

“My reason for leaving Bideford is solely to play Premier cricket and challenge myself, and see if I can go further and play an even better level of cricket in the future. 

“After turning 18 and having a solid season, now feels the right time to leave and pursue my goals. 

“I cannot say ‘thank-you’ enough to everyone at Bideford for everything they have done for me growing up. It was an immensely tough decision to leave.”

Richard Foan, the Sandford captain, said he had been after Ford for some time and is happy to have finally got his man.

“He stayed loyal to Bideford but decided to make the move this summer,” said Foan.

“Jack is a regular wicket taker for Bideford and Devon age groups, decent in the field and more then capable with the bat as well. 

“He joins Adam Small and Lawrence Walker as regular Devon age-group players, which is important for us as a club to have around. 

“We have the team and facilities to be able to prepare these young players for the next stage of their cricket journey and I can't wait to see what Jack has to offer at premier level. 

“I know a few clubs will be disappointed Jack has joined as I am sure plenty were chasing him.”