By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
DEVON all-rounder Ben Privett is on the way from Plympton to Cornwood for next season’s Premier Division campaign in the Tolchards Devon Cricket League.
Privett came back from a season-long injury lay-off last summer with bat and ball for Plympton and was also an integral member of the Devon side that won the National Counties Western Division title for the first time in more than a decade.
Privett’s scored more than 570 runs for Plympton in their first season back in the Premier Division, which was a substantial contribution to keeping them in the top flight for another summer.
A half-century for Devon in the win over Herefordshire that clinched the Western Division title showed that Privett was comfortable at the next level up from league cricket.
As Cornwood were among the also-rans behind champions Sandford last summer, it seems the attraction of playing in a side challenging for honours was irresistible for Privett.
It has been an open secret in Premier circles for some time that Cornwood were hoping to lure Privett away from their nearest rivals. Left-arm spinner Jacob Caunter has already made the same move.
Privett’s arrival will help compensate for the departure of Indian run machine Jay Bista, whose 1,471 runs over the past two seasons have underpinned the Wood’s batting efforts.
Elliott Staddon, the Cornwood captain, is naturally ‘delighted’ to welcome Privett to Oak Park.
“Ben is an exciting cricketer, a good lad who will be a great fit in the team and someone who helps improve us in all areas,” said Staddon.
“We saw what Ben was able to do last year for Plympton and Devon with both bat and ball– and we hope we can provide the opportunities for him to do much the same and keep improving.
“With Jacob Caunter, an exciting prospect with bags of potential to keep improving also coming across, we look forward to pre-season.
“Hopefully, with a couple more players inbound, we can improve on last year’s finish.”
Losing Privett is yet another blow for Plympton captain Alex Carr, who has already lost Caunter (Cornwood), Justin Wubbeling (Bradninch & Kentisbeare) and Jonty Walliker (Didsbury CC) since the end of last season.
Carr had hoped Privett would delay making a decision on whether to stay at Harewood Park until after Christmas, which would have allowed some time for recruitment to plug the gaps.
Privett is currently playing club cricket Down Under in Perth and informed Carr of his decision during a phone conversation.
Said Carr: “Obviously it is disappointing to lose a player of Ben's ability, but he has to do what feels right for him.
“Ben was a very big part of the rebuild we started six seven years ago with a bunch of fresh faces. We thank him for all his efforts helping us get to where we are now and wish him all the best at Cornwood next year.”