Torquay skipper Allen busy on Rec Ground recruiting drive

Torquay captain George Allen, who has been busy snapping up signings ahead of the 2019 season

TORQUAY have made their first signings in preparation for returning to the Tolchards Devon League Premier Division next summer.

Off-spinning all-rounder Chris Kelmere is making the short trip along the sea front road from Paignton, who where the other side promoted with Torquay at the end of last season.

Kelmere, a hard-hitting batsman on his day, has had two spells with Paignton either side of a stint with Abbotskerswell.

George Allen, the Torquay captain, said Kelmere is a real capture for the club.

“His premiership experience and skills will be a great asset to the club with both bat and ball. 

“Chris has many bowling variations, which will be extremely useful in different scenarios. 

“He will also add some backbone to the middle order.”

George Benton, the Paignton captain, said he knew in advance Kelmere was looking for a move, but is destination came as a surprise.

“He said he was looking to play elsewhere with less commitment for work reasons, so why he has gone to a club in the same division is anyone’s guess,” said Benton.

James Degg - one of Torquay's new signings“Torquay are getting a very good player, but I am not that fussed about the move.

“We knew it was coming and had already started looking for a quality spinner to replace him.”

Kelmere is one of four players to sign on the dotted line for Torquay as part of the squad building process.

Jordan Hoffman, who has moved down from Birmingham to work in the West Country, is a pace bowler Allen knows well.

“Jordan is a product of the Warwickshire Academy and I played with him at Walmley in the Birmingham Premier League,” said Allen.

“He is a quick, opening bowler and will bat lower to middle order. 

“Jordan's pace will only enhance the current seam attack we have of Kazi Symanski, Mitch Pugh, Sonny Baker and Tom Drake.”

James Degg has committed to switching from Plympton and will be asked to open the batting.

“James impressed us, last summer after hitting a match-winning innings against us at the Rec,” said Allen.

“He featured for the Devon Lions and impressed. Jason will be opening the batting and also gives us another useful spin option.”

Degg caught the eye with a knock of 76 as Plympton chased 220 two win and got them with three wickets in hand.

A fourth player heading for the Recreation Ground is keeper-batter Steve Lewis.

Lewis was at Babbacombe in the B Division last summer, but has also had two spells with Barton. 

“Steve is currently developing his game in Australia and we look forward to having him at the club next season,” said Allen.

“Our recruitment drive is going well and we have other signings in the pipeline.”