By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
BRIXHAM have invited all-rounder Craig Eaves to captain the 1st XI next season and plot a path out of the Tolchards DCL D Division West at the first attempt.
Eaves went through the Brixham and Devon youth systems as a colt and became a 1st XI regular in his teens before a job move took him to Sussex in 2017.
Now, after five seasons in Sussex League cricket with Glynde & Beddingham CC, Eves is back with his home-town club.
Brixham needed a skipper following Tom Hopper’s resignation at the end of last season and Eaves quickly went to the top of a very short list of candidates.
The new man at the helm has wasted no time starting the recruiting process and has lured former team-mates Tim Robinson and Tom Blundell back to Boundary Park.
Blundell has been with Paignton for the past three seasons and skippered the 2ndXI in 2020 and 2021.
Robinson will be embarking on his third stint with Brixham having punctuated his time at the club with spells at Paignton and Bovey Tracey.
A completely new face at Brixham next season belongs to Steve Silver, who has moved to the area from Kent and resumed playing cricket after a five-year injury absence.
Silver, predominately a right-arm medium pacer, will be 37 by the time the new season gets under way next May.
He played 2ndXI cricket for Leicestershire and Essex early in his career and has featured for Dartford, Lordsword and Bexley in the Kent Premier League.
Brixham were relegated from the C Division West on the final day of the 2021 season when a defeat by Ashburton handed fellow strugglers South Devon a get-out-of-jail card.
Eaves is keen to keep Brixham’s stay in the D Division West as short as possible.
“I'm confident we will do some good things over the next couple seasons,” said Eaves.
Eaves said the only significant departure is Pakistani pro Abdul Muzammil – 587 runs in the league at an average of nearly 60 – who won’t be returning in 2022.
“Muzzy isn't returning as we do not feel the need for an overseas player at the moment,” said Eaves.
“Tom Hopper is staying – which is good – and we should keep hold of our whole team and have already made some strong additions.”
Blundell, one of the additions Eaves referred to, said it did not take long for him to decide it was time to ‘go home’.
“I thought I needed a change and, after speaking to Brixham, I liked their idea of bouncing back up the divisions,” said Blundell.
“As Brixham is my home club I thought it would be the best place to go and help them get back up the divisions again.”
Brixham have never operated as low as the C Division since they joined what was then the unsponsored Devon Cricket League in 1980.
They were promoted to the Premier Division for the 1992 season but only survived for two seasons in the top flight.
Premier cricket returned to Brixham as recently as 2016, but second time around it was only for a season. Since then Brixham have fallen steadily down the divisions as their playing strength dwindled.
Player numbers are on the up again now and Brixham are aiming to restart their 2ndXI in the Tolchards DCL next season. New players welcome.