Hal Kerton batting for Plymouth<br>credit: Al Stewart

ALL change! Plymouth’s first and second teams will have new captains for matches in the Tolchards Devon Cricket League next season.

Hal Kerton has taken over as 1stXI captain from Jonny Varcoe, who has stepped aside after four years in place.

Kerton started his cricket career with Plymstock, switched to Plympton in 2011, went back to Plymstock in 2012, joined Plymouth the first time in 2014, switched back to Plymstock in 2019 before re-signing for Plymouth in 2020.

Dave Burke, who is well into his third decade as a Plymouth player, is the new captain of the 2ndXI.

Burke replaces John Kerridge, who shared the captaincy at with Jimmy Haffenden at times during a disrupted 2021 season for the second-team.

Both appointments were confirmed at Plymouth’s recent annual meeting, which was held in the Mount Wise pavilion.

Kerton, who is 26, takes over as 1stXI captain at a time when Plymouth have consistently been among the top four-sides in the Premier Division’s final tables. He knows Kerridge will be a tough act to follow.

“Jonny did a fantastic job and has continued to move the club forward,” said Kerton.

“The club is in a great place now and we will look to use this momentum as we move forward next season.”

Varcoe, who won the Premier Division award for captaincy based on marks submitted by umpires in 2021, said he backs Kerton to keep the club moving closer to the Premier top spot.

On his four-year stint as captain Varcoe said: “It has been great to see us develop our younger players who have helped with our progress.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute, however the time was right to step down and bring someone new in to lead the group.”

Joe Cunningham, the outgoing Plymouth chairman, said Varcoe had been a ‘brilliant’ captain and added: “His leadership has been exemplary.”

Cunningham handed over to Martin Hancock at the annual meeting. It will be Hancock’s second stint in the chair.

Burke, who will be 47 when the new season starts next May, has been at Plymouth since he switched from Roborough in the mid-1990s.

When Plymouth went through a playing depression in the late 1990s that led to relegation down to the B Division, Burke stayed loyal to the club despite numerous attempts to lure him away.

Under Burke’s captaincy from 2000-2008 Plymouth rose back through the divisions and by the time he handed over to Callum Whittaker in 2008 the city side were back in the Premier Division again.

As Burke was a regular in the 2ndXI side that finished fourth in the C Division West last season, he has a feel for how the team ticks and will be employing a light touch of possible.

“I can’t see the team needing much captaining as there are a lot of experienced cricketers in the group,” said Burke.

“Hopefully, I can help those who wish to develop individually to become the best they can be regardless of their experience.

“It is an enjoyable side to play in and I want to retain that enjoyment while making sure individual can meet their own ambitions.”