Hancock to captain Devon

SIDMOUTH CC S star all-rounder Neil Hancock has accepted the job of captaining his adopted county next season.

SIDMOUTH CC'S star all-rounder Neil Hancock has accepted the job of captaining his adopted county next season.

Hancock, who was born and raised in Australia, but has lived in Devon since 1996, will replace Budleigh Salterton's Bob Dawson as county captain in 2010.

The 33-year-old big hitter and fast bowler is currently enjoying his second spell with Sidmouth, having left the club to play for Paignton (2003-06).

Hancock has been an integral part of the Sidmouth team that has won back-to-back Devon Premier Division titles for the past two summers - and did the league and cup double in the season just ended.

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He topped the Premier Division bowling aggregates with 49 wickets at 12.57 runs each and made 560 league runs at an average approaching 47.

Work commitments have limited Hancock to one-day appearances for Devon over the past three seasons but, from next year, he will be available for three-day Minor Counties games as well.

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Devon chairman Roger Moylan-Jones announced that Dawson was standing down earlier this week and that Hancock would be taking over.

Moylan-Jones is convinced Devon have the right man in Hancock - and pleased that Dawson will be staying on as a player.

"Neil Hancock is well known and highly respected in local cricketing circles, and a most capable cricketer with a proven record at Minor County level," said Moylan-Jones.

"Neil has been available for the one-day fixtures only in the past three summers, but is now able to take a full part in the county's programme. He is seen as the ideal candidate to take the county team and new young players forward in the coming seasons.

"A successful team at this level must, however, maintain a core of experienced players, and Bobby Dawson will continue to play his part as the premier batsman in support of the new captain."

Hancock will be giving up some of his holiday time to play for Devon and said he was only able to take the post thanks to the backing of wife Clare.

"It is an honour and a pleasure to be asked to captain Devon," said Hancock. "I am lucky to have a very understanding and supportive wife."

Dawson, captain from 2003, has been quick to pledge his support for his replacement, saying Devon have plumped for the right man.

"If the chance had come up anytime in the last two years to stand down I probably would have gone for it then, but there was no obvious replacement around," said Dawson.

Sidmouth chairman Tom Overthrow said Hancock's appointment caps a memorable season for the club.

"Neil is an outstanding and respected all-round cricketer, who will lead by example in all aspects of the game," said Overthrow. "His return to the longer, three-day game will be hugely beneficial to the county.

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