Byron Knowles – one of three new signings made by Sandford skipper Jackson Thompson<br>credit: Conrad Sutcliffe - no re-use without copyright owner's consent

PREMIER champions Sandford have added some firepower to their bowling attack for the season ahead by signing England under-19 seamer Raphael Weatherall.

Sandford, who finished 26 points ahead of Bradninch & Kentisbeare in the Tolchards Devon Cricket League Premier Division last season, already have UAE international Ayran Lakra on board for the defence of their title.

Weatherall is a student at the University of Exeter and will feature for Sandford during the first half of the season when his other commitments allow.

Weatherall went through the Buckinghamshire youth ranks before being talent-spotted by Northants, which led to a place in the ECB Elite Player Development programme.

He played in two U19 Test matches against Australia last season, in which he operated with the new ball, and played in one 50-over international against Ireland.

Weatherall was part of the England under-19 squad that competed in the Quadrangular U19 One-Day Series in India in November last year.

His best day with the ball in 2023 was against Leicestershire when he took six wickets for 37 runs in the second innings.

Jackson Thompson, Sandford’s title-winning captain, said: “Raphael is a good addition to the squad and adds to the quality of bowlers we already have.”

Other signings in the pipeline for Sandford are Ben Handley, who has switched from Ottery St Mary, and Sidmouth’s Byron Knowles. 

Handley, who played in Ottery’s under-15 side last season, is a batter regarded as one to watch out for.

“Ben will play in our senior sides,” predicted Thompson.

Knowles, who started out with Sidmouth as an under-15 player, has won games with bat and ball during his time at the Fortfield. Highlights during 139 league and cup games include a century against Seaton in 2017 and a six-wicket haul against Sandford in 2022.

“Byron will add strength and depth to our squad” said his new captain.