Zac Bess to skipper Sidmouth in the 2020 Tolchards Devon League campaign

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Picture: Thinkstock - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Devon all-rounder Zak Bess has been asked to skipper Sidmouth 1st XI on a regular basis next season, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Bess, who will be 27 when the new season starts, was de facto Sidmouth captain for much of last season without actually being appointed.

Nick Gingell was appointed 1st XI captain in succession to Luke Bess at the 2018 annual meeting, but changed his role to that of club captain once the season started.

A series of availability issues blighted Sidmouth's continuity of selection last season, ruling out Gingell and other senior players on a regular basis.

Gingell felt he could not operate as captain if he was regularly unavailable - and was uncomfortable about going straight back into the side after missing games.

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Gingell only led the side in four games and left Zak Bess in charge for the rest of the Premier programme.

Although Zak Bess works in the East Midlands he got back to Devon to play in 14 of Sidmouth's league games in 2019. His availability is unlikely to be an issue.

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No vice-captain has been appointed yet, although with past captains Gingell and Luke Bess in the team, as well as Devon county captains past and present Josh Bess and Alex Barrow on board, there is no shortage of cover for one-off games.

The first-team captaincy was settled on at Sidmouth's annual meeting in the club pavilion on Friday night.

Anthony Griffiths was reappointed 2nd XI captain with a brief to get the team promoted from the C Division East after two successive near misses.

Tim Chapman, who was caretaker captain of the promotion-winning 3rd XI in 2019, has been given the job full-time for 2020.

There was a change at the top where Richard Sommers replaced Fionn Wardrop at club chairman for a three-year term.

Sommers, a self-confessed sports nut, retired to Sidmouth in 2016 after a distinguished career in banking and latterly education finance. He has been cricket club treasurer for the past two years.

He had a 29-year career with the Barclays Group, and held senior positions in retail and commercial banking, including chief financial officer for Barclaycard.

Sommers spent eight years as treasurer and a fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, a college in the University of Oxford, before retiring.

Other posts past and present include non-executive directorships of the West Bromwich Building Society and Al Rayan Bank PLC. In addition he is a council member at the University of York.

Sommers is a man for all seasons. Another voluntary sports post he holds is as Sidmouth RFC company secretary.

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