King swaps North Devon for Sandford
- Credit: Fiona Tyson
Pace bowler Josh King is on his way from North Devon to Sandford for the 2021 season in search of a fresh start.
King, 28, joined North Devon from Bideford for the 2015 season in search of Premier cricket and a place in the Devon county side.
He had five full seasons in the Sandhills at Instow, but took a sabbatical in 2020 rather than play in the Covid-restricted mini-divisions.
King picked up 125 Premier Division wickets for North Devon between 2015-2019 at an average of 24.06. His best day with the ball was five-for-35 against Exeter in 2016.
King’s batting could be a hit-or-miss affair at times, but when his eye was in he was impossible to contain. Plymouth learned that one afternoon in 2016 when he lashed 58 off just 18 balls against them.
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“Josh said he wanted a fresh challenge, which I fully understood and respected,” said captain Tom Popham.
“Sometimes people need a change of scenery in order to remotivate themselves again and Josh needed that.
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“As a club we wish Josh all the best and hold absolutely no ill feeling towards him at all, he’s a great lad and top player.
“I want and need players who are fully committed to us and want to be a part of what we want to do going forwards at North Devon.
“Josh will be greatly missed and will add quality to Sandford in all three aspects of the game as well as a great attitude.
“The fact Josh didn’t play last season means we are more used to not having him in the side and it allowed others to take a more prominent role with the ball.”
Richard Foan, the Sandford captain, has been an admirer of the pace bowler for a while and has seen at close quarters in the Premier Division how effective he can be.
“Josh is very handy with the ball and can be destructive with the bat on his day,” said Foan. “He wants to play at the highest level and push for Devon selection, which is great for us.”
The fact Sandford play in the Premier Division of the Tolchards Devon League would have been a factor in King’s decision to change clubs. North Devon were relegated from the top flight into the A Division in 2019.
King was talent-spotted by the Devon Lions coaching programme in 2013 and by 2014 was playing development games against first-class county 2nd XIs.
A six-wicket haul against Somerset 2nd XI in a two-day game caught the eye of Devon’s then director of cricket Keith Donohue, who promoted King to the senior side in 2015.
Between 2015 and 2019 King played 23 times for Devon in competitive games and took 25 wickets. In a three-way T20 tournament at Truro his victims included Somerset’s rising stars Tom Banton and George Bartlett.