Bradninch invite Eliot Acton to follow Chappell as 1st XI captain

Eliot Acton, who is following in his father
Eliot Acton, who is following in his father's footsteps as captain of Bradninch

BRADNINCH will have a new captain in the A Division for 2019 following Gary Chappell’s decision to stand down.

The new man at the Kensham Park helm is Eliot Acton, who is a 12-season veteran with 60 Premier Division appearances to his name.

Acton went through the Devon age-group ranks from under-13 to under-21. He was picked as an opening bowler and lower-order batsman.

The new skipper won’t be short of advice if he wants it as dad Chris and cousin Ross have both been 1st XI skippers. Uncle Rob has had a couple of turns as 2nd XI captain.

Gary Chappell, keen to concentrate on playing without distraction of captaincyAnd in what is probably a first for Devon cricket, a brother and sister are captaining the respective men’s and ladies teams. 

Megan Acton, Eliot’s sister, is will be leading Bradninch Ladies in their Maiden Devon Women’s League campaign next summer.

Chappell led Bradninch for two and a half seasons after taking over from Tim Piper midway though the summer of 2016.

Chappell finished what Piper had started by steering Bradninch to promotion back into the Tolchards DCL Premier Division after an absence of three seasons.

The highlight of Chappell’s term as captain was the 2017 campaign when he led the side to runners-up spot behind Bovey Tracey. It was Bradninch’s highest league finish since they joined the competition in 1987.

Bradninch failed to build on their successes in 2018. They were involved in a three-way scrap with Sandford and Hatherleigh to avoid relegation and ended up dropping back into the A Division.

Chappell, a bowling all-rounder in Devon CCC’s one-day side, is a close-season target for Premier sides looking to strengthen for 2019. Torquay, Bovey Tracey and Sidmouth are among the clubs thought to have shown an interest in him.

The man himself has hinted he won’t be going anywhere.

“I am staying put at Bradninch at the moment, but relinquishing the captaincy so I can just enjoy cricket again,” said Chappell.

One player definitely on the way out of Kensham Park is seam bowler Matt Parker, who has departed for Premier champions Sidmouth.

Parker, who went through the Devon youth system, joined Bradninch from Whimple for the 2017 season.