Torquay captain pays tribute to champs in waiting Sidmouth

TORQUAY captain Justin Yau has tipped his cap towards Sidmouth ahead of the meeting between the outgoing champions and the champions elect at the Recreation Ground.

Sidmouth wrapped the title up by winning at Brixham last Saturday, although that was merely confirmation of what their rivals had known for a while.

Torquay are still concerned with staying away from the bottom two as a defeat tomorrow could put them in jeopardy if second bottom Cornwood beat North Devon.

Cornwood play Torquay on the last day of the season and if Torquay are within 14 or 15 points of them they could get dragged down if the result goes against them.

The first thing Yau wanted to talk about was Sidmouth and the example they have set to the rest of the Premier Division.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the champions this week and I hope we can put up a good performance against them,” said Yau.

“They have dominated this division for the last decade and thoroughly deserve to win the title again this year.

“Luke Bess has done a fantastic job - he's marshaled them brilliantly throughout the season and they have proved once again to be the best team by a distance.

“As a club Sidmouth are exactly what all the other clubs in Devon strive for - to consistently compete at all levels and maintaining success at all standards.

“It's incredible to see the longevity of the club and it really is a credit to Sidmouth who have got their system spot on.

“They have quality throughout their side, mostly all home-grown and look like they will be strong for some years to come.

“We've done well to win a title as well as winning the T20 trophy in the last year or so which we can be proud of.”

Outgoing champions have been relegated in the past – Sidmouth (1989, Bovey 2003) – so it’s not unthinkable Torquay could suffer the same fate.

Yau knows Torquay aren’t safe yet, but says the same applies to a number of clubs in the bottom half of the table.

“There are still plenty of points to play for in the last couple of games and with it being so close between five clubs, anyone of us can join Brixham next year in the A,” said Yau.

“We need a win somewhere and it is vital now to pick up as many points as we possibly can to keep the momentum going.

“North Devon versus Cornwood is a big game this week but the important thing is we have control over our own destiny and I'm confident we can pull through.

“We are back to full strength for the last two games and will do our utmost to play good cricket to maintain our status.”

Nick Watkin, Kazi Szymanski and Yau are all back in the side for the visit of Sidmouth after missing the Exmouth game.

SIDMOUTH skipper Luke Bess feels his side has made a point this season by winning the Premier title with two games to spare.

Sidmouth visit outgoing champions Torquay on Saturday confirmed as Premier winners after their 10-wicket win at Brixham.

The leadership changed hands five times in the first half of the season before Sidmouth hit the top spot – and there they stayed.

Bess said he was aware Sidmouth had their detractors at the start of the season, but he was always quietly confident.

“We always thought we could win it,” said Bess.

“People thought we wouldn't be as strong this year with a different look to the side, especially at the start of the season.

“The younger players coming through, such as Dan Powell, Henry Gater and Harvey Sargent, have proved they are good enough to take the club forward.

“We haven’t relied on certain individuals this season, like we have in the past, and everybody has contributed.

“That was crucial in such a competitive division this year.”

BOVEY Tracey have to pick themselves up after a one-wicket defeat at Exeter for a crunch home game with Exmouth.

Brixham’s fate is already settled, but any one of Cornwood (165pts), Plymouth (171), Bovey Tracey (172) or even Torquay (182) could go with them.

Bovey have Exmouth (4th) and Heathcoat (3rd) to finish and will be watching results involving Cornwood and Plymouth closely.

Instead of being downcast at losing by such a tiny margin, Bovey captain Hickinbottom was encouraged.

He said: “We had chances to win it, and in games that close you can look back at nearly every ball and say ‘what if’.

“To run Exeter that close shows how good a side we are.

“I hope we can believe in ourselves for the last two games and get the results we need.”

HEATHCOAT skipper Brad Barnes wants a comeback after the rain-off against Cornwood last time out.

It was disappointing not to get a result last week,” he said. “Hopefully we can get a win in Plymouth, which is never easy to do.”