BIDEFORD’S new skipper Tom Brend hopes to add some experience to his youthful squad for the season ahead in the Tolchards DCL B Division.
Bideford finished just below halfway in a table of 10 last season and flirted with relegation for a while before taking a maximum of 40 points by winning their last two games.
A run of six games without a win in mid-season was the root cause of Bideford’s worries and the situation looked particularly bleak after the team was bowled out for 89 at Chudleigh.
Reliable run scorers were few and far between – only Brend (40.07), Ollie Hannam (34.25) and James Hayter (33.0) of the regulars averaged more than 20 – and in a predominately young side there is one thing Brend needs.
“Experienced heads,” said Brend. “We are a young side and I am really looking forward to the challenges of leading it.
“Promotion is not unachievable from what is a difficult division to get out of, but we need players with a bit more experience.
“We need to find a little more consistency and with a couple of experienced heads in the side, and everyone being a year older and wiser, I'm confident and looking forward to a good year.”
When the new season gets under way in May a familiar face will be missing from the dressing room as young all-rounder Jack Ford has moved to Premier side Sandford.
Ford, currently in Australia playing Grade cricket and working on his game at the Darren Lehmann Academy in Adelaide, averaged a fraction under 20 with the bat and took 35 wickets.
Brend said Ford’s contribution will be missed, but added: “I wish him all the best at Sandford and he will have our full support.
“Jack will be difficult to replace as he has been so reliable for us with bat and ball.”
Ford may have gone but Brend is confident there will be new kit bags in the dressing room by May.
“We are working to bring in an overseas player – likely to be an Australian – and I am hoping to secure other new signings before pre-season starts,” said Brend.
Brend has taken over as skipper from Alex Hannam, who is in the final year of his studies at university in Bristol and wants to concentrate on those.
Brend, 22, went through the colts programme at Bideford and scored his first ton in adult cricket at the age of 13. Since then he has quietly gone about the business of totting up runs, which includes 14 league 50s so far and a century against Heathcoat in 2021.
John Weeks has resumed the second-team captaincy after a two-year break and should have no difficulty settling back into the role as is last stint as skipper lasted a decade.
For details of Bideford’s winter training programme call Brend on 075106 76753 or go to www.bidefordcc.co.uk