Captain Ed Yeo looks for youth to form nucleus of new look North Devon squad

North Devon are straight into Premier Division action on Saturday when they visit Exmouth.

For new North Devon skipper Ed Yeo it is a return to the ground where he spent the 2008 season, a not altogether happy one as Exmouth were relegated at the end of it.

Yeo’s experience around the league – he has had stints with Torquay and Braunton too – were one of the reasons North Devon asked him to take over as captain from the departed Barney Huxtable.

Experience is something a bit thin on the ground at Instow this season, not that Yeo seems worried about it.

“We have got a great bunch of young cricketers, plus myself and Matt Westaway,” said Yeo.

“Our promising, local youngsters will form the nucleus of the side.

“We have a similar squad to last year, strengthened by the return of Jack Popham from Gloucestershire and the arrival of his brother Tom from Barnstaple & Pilton.

“Josh King, now established in the Devon side, continues to provide strength with bat and ball.

“And our squad is bolstered by the arrival of Callum Hotham, from New South Wales.

“Last season he scored more than 500 runs for Glastonbury in the West of England Premier League. I hope he brings that form with him to North Devon.”

Huxtable and Max Curtis have gone for the time being – student studies and placements have taken them away from Devon – and keeper Brett Mason is working on a new business venture in Cape Town this year.

Hotham keeps wicket, which is one less thing for Yeo to worry about.

Few Premier captains would disagree that defending champions Sidmouth are anything other than favourites to retain the title. But nothing is certain in cricket.

When North Devon were top of the table six games into last season, Sidmouth were five places and 17 points behind them. They went on to win the league by a 33-point margin.

“We are in it to win it and not in it just to take part,” said Yeo.

“Sidmouth are strong and with Scott Barlow back this season possibly stronger than last year.

“But as they showed a couple of wins can change everything very quickly.”