Sidmouth CC latest – ‘A pre-season chat with the chairman’

Sidmouth CCs overseas player for the 2018 Tolchards League season, Aviwe Mgijimi

Sidmouth CCs overseas player for the 2018 Tolchards League season, Aviwe Mgijimi - Credit: Archant

Here, we start a new season of weekly chats with the chairman of Sidmouth Cricket Club, Fionn Wardrop.

First up, we asked Fionn for his thoughts on what has been a soggy pre-season that has seen many local clubs unable to play any pre-season warm-up cricket. Fionn replied: “Yes, it has been an issue with all the wet weather and at Sidmouth we have certainly not been able to train outside as much has we would have liked.

“That said, Colin Whitehall [Sidmouth CC head groundsman] has worked wonders to get us playing for the last two weekends and that has meant that most of us have had some useful game time on wickets that are much better than anyone could reasonably expect given the recent weather.”

Next up, we asked him about those weather issues that have impacted the pre-season period. Fionn said: “There’s no doubting that cricket groundstaff have certainly had it tougher than usual this pre-season.

“Poor Colin was a month behind with his work coming into the season, so the fact we’ve played at all is a massive credit to his hard work and his helpers.”

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We then moved onto the matter off the campaign ahead and to the sort of expectations ahead for the club’s three senior teams. Fionn replied: “Each new season, our 1st XI go into the campaign looking to end it as the top team and nothing has changed as we head into the 2018 campaign.

“The 2nd half of the season will see them bolstered by the return of Liam Lewis and Zac Bess.”

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He continued: “With regard to the 2nd XI and the new all-in league, 2nd teams apart (Sidmouth are in the new C Division East along with Exeter 2nd XI and Budleigh Salterton 2nd XI), we really have no idea what to expect! It’s a similar story to the third XI. What really is so encouraging this time round is that we have such a big pool of players to draw from and that suggests that this league term we will be selecting, rather than scraping together, a third team.”

On incoming players and youngsters to look outt for, Fionn says: “Elliot Rice has joined from Budleigh and Ben Sapiecha from Exeter, and both have fitted in really well.

“Byron Knowles took five wickets for the 2nd XI last week and is available all summer, which is a big plus and, continuing the ‘youngsters’ theme, Tom Simmons, Jash Patidar and Jordan Fowler are all improving fast and we hope to see the benefits of the winter coaching that they have all had.”

Last but not least, the chairman spoke of the club’s recently arrived player-coach for this season – Zimbabwean Aviwe Mgijima. Fionn says: “Aviwe has arrived and will run our training and coaching, as well as playing.

“He is clearly a high class cricketer, coming from a successful first class season and is a lovely bloke, so it is exciting to see what he can bring to our players while he is here.”

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