Captain marvel looks to a future of just playing cricket
- Credit: Archant
The most successful captain in the history of Devon Premier Division cricket is looking forward to being just a player again, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.
Since Will Murray took over as Sidmouth skipper for the 2007 season, the Fortfielders have dominated league and cup cricket in Devon.
Sidmouth have won five league titles – the last one in 2014 – four Devon Senior Cups and the Devon T20 competition twice.
Other clubs have enjoyed golden eras – Torquay and Exeter in the 1970s when the Premier title shuttled backwards and forwards between them – and Exmouth won six on the trot and eight in all in the 1990s.
But no team had the same captain all the way through, unlike Sidmouth in the Murray era.
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A combination of work commitments and impending marriage put pressure on seam bowler Murray’s free time and made the decision to stand down almost inevitable.
The good news for Sidmouth is Murray intends to carry on playing – and has his sights set on taking stacks of wickets in 2016.
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“There is a lot to being captain, not just leading the team on Saturday afternoons but all the work captains are expected to do,” said Murray.
“I have enjoyed being captain and playing with a great group of cricketers from all over the world.
“I have been lucky to play with my friends for so long in a successful side and winning five league titles with them was wonderful.
“It will be nice to go back to being a player again and contributing a bit more to the side.”
Murray said he is aiming to recapture the form that made him one of the leading bowlers in the Premier Division now he is free from the burden of captaincy.
“Maybe when I can concentrate on playing and nothing else my own performances will get better,” said Murray.
“When we won the league in 2010 I was the leading wicket taker in the Premier Division that year with 50.
“I would like to give Sidmouth better value in 2016.”
Murray took over as captain from Anthony Griffiths, who is now the senior player in the side and doubles as club secretary.
Griffiths said 34-year-old Murray is going to be a hard act to follow.
“Hardly a season has gone by while Will has been captain that Sidmouth haven’t won something,” said Griffiths.
“It will be a challenge finding someone to replace him and it isn’t a decision we will rush into.
“We have a few weeks before our annual meeting and will start sounding people out now.”