Sidmouth skipper playing down talk of back-to-back Tolchards League Premier titles

Sidmouth Cricket Club at The Fortfield

Sidmouth Cricket Club at The Fortfield - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth’s new captain Nick Gingell has played down talk of a second successive Premier Division title, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Outgoing skipper Luke Bess led Sidmouth to a last-day title triumph with a win at Exmouth that took the team past Heathcoat to the championship.

Sidmouth appear to have strengthened significantly during the winter by signing free-scoring batter Alex Barrow from Exeter and opener Rory Thomas from Bradninch.

South African Aviwe Mgijima – 473 runs, 27 wickets – is not returning and there are no signs of a replacement overseas player on the roster this season.

It is highly likely Somerset will release Dom Bess to play for his home town club if he is not in the 1st XI at Taunton, which more than makes up for no overseas player.

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There are not too many clubs in any league anywhere that can call on a player who earned two England Test caps in 2018.

Sidmouth have had no significant departures since last season, although one or two 2nd and 3rd XI players have drifted away.

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Throw in the odd game here and there from miserly seamer Scott Barlow when he is home from his job in London, and the availability of Devon all-rounder Zak Bess from halfway onwards, and the dressing room looks strong.

Gingell said appearances can be deceptive, which is why he is tipping Heathcoat to win this season’s title.

“Heathcoat have recruited a lot of talent during the winter – especially batting – and looking at who they can pick from it is theirs to lose,” said Gingell.

“If we could get out best eleven out for every game, or something close to it, we could beat anyone in our division. The problem is we won’t be able to do that.

“It must be an age thing but we have too many players who have said in advance they are going to miss four, five or even six games because of weddings, stag dos or a combination of that and holidays.

“At full strength we will take some beating, but I cannot see us getting the same side out two weeks running and that won’t help.”

Sidmouth’s season starts tomorrow (Saturday) with an away game at Bovey Tracey.

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