Experienced cricket heads on the Bideford summer menu

North Devon Gazette

Bideford’s new skipper Tom Brend hopes to add some experience to his youthful squad for the season ahead in the Tolchards DCL B Division.Â

Bideford finished just below halfway in a table of 10 last season and flirted with relegation for a while before taking a maximum of 40 points by winning their last two games.Â

A run of six games without a win in mid-season was the root cause of Bideford’s worries and the situation looked particularly bleak after the team was bowled out for 89 at Chudleigh.Â

Reliable run scorers were few and far between – only Brend (40.07), Ollie Hannam 34.25) and James Hayter (33.0) of the regulars averaged more than 20 – and in a predominately young side there is one thing Brend needs.Â

“Experienced heads,” said Brend. “We are a young side and I am really looking forward to the challenges of leading it.Â

“Promotion is not unachievable from what is a difficult division to get out of, but we need players with a bit more experience.Â

“We need to find a little more consistency and with a couple of experienced heads in the side, and everyone being a year older and wiser, I'm confident and looking forward to a good year.”Â

When the new season gets under way in May a familiar face will be missing from the dressing room as young all-rounder Jack Ford has moved to Premier side Sandford.Â

Ford, currently in Australia playing Grade cricket and working on his game at the Darren Lehmann Academy in Adelaide, averaged a fraction under 20 with the bat and took 35 wickets.Â

Brend said Ford’s contribution will be missed, but added: “I wish him all the best at Sandford and he will have our full support.Â

“We are working to bring in an overseas player – likely to be an Australian – and I am hoping to secure other new signings before pre-season starts,” said Brend.Â

Brend has taken over as skipper from Alex Hannam, who is in the final year of his studies at university in Bristol and wants to concentrate on those.Â

For details of Bideford’s winter training programme call Brend on 075106 76753 or go to www.bidefordcc.co.ukÂ