Hatherleigh skipper Mark Lake is aiming to keep the club’s latest stint in the A Division as short as possible.

This time last year Hatherleigh were preparing for their first season back in the top flight of the Tolchards Devon Cricket League since 1991.

Like so many teams before them the promotion experience was followed by a struggle to stay up. Of the 18 teams promoted into the Premier Division since 2009, only four have survived longer than one season. First World War fighter pilots had better survival odds.

Although Hatherleigh came straight back down, that has not blunted Lake's appetite for Premier cricket.

Promotion straight back is the target Lake and his side are aiming for.

“Our aim is to go straight back up and it would be a disappointment if we don't make it,” said Lake.

Lake has almost all the squad available that won promotion in 2017, which is one of the reasons he is confident.

A promotion-winning side is not necessarily one capable of surviving at the next level up, something Lake admits.

“Our bowling in the A Division won us matches, but there were times last season when we were a bowler short and that cost us,” said Lake.

“Premier attacks generally contain five good bowlers. In the A Division it tends to be three good bowlers, one that is okay and one that isn't so good.

“On days when you are 80 for six in the A Division – and it happened to us – you can recover to make 200-odd and defend it. Eighty for six in the Premier Division generally becomes 120-130 all out.”

Simon Gillespie, who bats and bowls, was barely seen last year but has better availability this summer.

Ryan Dennis, a top-order batter, has followed in the footsteps of Dan Fogerty and made the switch from Bridestowe.

Hatherleigh's overseas player is Tino Mutombodzi, a former Zimbabwean international currently playing First Class cricket for Mashonaland Eagles.