Torquay open new chapter with appointment of George Allen as 1st XI skipper

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I'm in charge - George Allen, who has taken over as Torquay 1st XI captain

GEORGE Allen has accepted the Torquay 1st XI captaincy for the 2018 season as the club looks to bounce back into the Premier Division at the first attempt.

The 2015 Premier Division champions were relegated at the end of last season after losing at North Devon CC on the final day.

Title-winning captain Justin Yau, who led the team for nine of the past seasons, resigned as skipper last week and said he was leaving the club.

Nick Watkin, vice-captain to Yau, has left the Recreation Ground after nine years and joined A Division rivals Abbotskerswell.

All-rounder Joe Thompson, who started his cricket career in the youth section at the Recreation Ground, announced 24 hours after Yau and Watkin said they were leaving that he is going too.

And a tumultuous week for Torbay’s oldest club ended in young spinner Matt Petherbridge saying he won’t be returning next season either.

Tim Western - DoC at Torquay CCNew skipper Allen has been with Torquay for two seasons since moving to the area from Birmingham, where he was part of the Warwickshire Academy programme.

Allen, with 579 runs at an average of 52.63, topped Torquay’s league batting averages in 2017.

Tim Western, the director of cricket at Torquay, said: “It is with great sadness we will be saying goodbye to three stalwarts of the playing side of Torquay Cricket Club, Justin Yau, Joe Thompson and Nick Watkin.

“We wish them well with their new cricket challenges and hope to see them back at the Rec at some time in the future, where they are always welcome.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank them for all of the hard work they have put in over the years to get Torquay Cricket Club to where it is today.

“Torquay CC is looking to move forward in 2018 in a positive way. The club is confident that with George, and the support of his vice-captain Mitchell Pugh, leading the 1st XI, it is in good hands moving into a new era.”

Yau and Thompson have been commuting from Bristol, where they live and work, to play for their home-town club.

Yau said there was a feeling in the club it was time for a change of direction, which made his position as captain untenable.

Thompson said he wanted a new challenge, adding: “I want to enjoy cricket again.”

Both have said they are considering their options next season, either in the Bristol area or elsewhere in the Devon League with Bradninch thought to be at at the front of the queue.

Petherbridge joined Torquay from Cornwood for the 2015 season in search of 1st XI cricket. There will be no shortage of clubs in and around Plymouth interested in the young left-armer, just as soon as he returns from a winter in Western Australia.

SOMERSET and England Lions fast bowler Jamie Overton is the guest of honour this Friday night at the Torquay CC awards evening.

The evening starts at 6pm at the Riviera Hotel.