SOUTH Devon have asked Ali Wright to take over as captain following the shock departure of Jon Martin to Barton.

It will be second time round for Wright, who was skipper in 2014. He stood down at the end of that campaign due to work commitments and handed over to Martin.

With the new campaign barely 10 weeks away – pre-season friendlies start earlier than that – South Devon have got their coaching plans organised.

South Devon captain Ali WrightSenior players Ian Shepherd and Mark Andrews, both ECB-qualified coaches, will be running net sessions on Wednesday nights once the season gets under way. Nets wil be on grass wickets thanks to the aquisition of a new batting cage.

Former Devon batsman Dave Webber has agreed to fill the new job of playing manager, liaising between the players and the captains.

Shaun Taylor, who was a whisker away from leading the second team to promotion last summer, is carrying on for another year.

“Losing the captain unexpectedly was a problem we hadn’t expected, but one we have had to deal with quickly,” said chairman Barry Widdicombe.

“We are lucky to have a strong core group of senior players like Ali, Mark Andrews and David Knowles who have all been captains in the past to help us through a difficult time.

“Ali has got straight to work talking to possible new recruits and we hope to have some news on that front soon.”

South Devon have to replace the 29 league wickets Martin took last season and also nearly 1,000 league runs scored by South African Divan Marais, who is not returning to the club.

By the time the season starts the club will have a new, fully electronic, £10,000  scoreboard in operation.

The old scoreboard in the Kingsteignton Road corner of the ground has remained almost unchanged since it was built in 1972.

South Devon have a busy summer ahead with a packed programme of Saturday league games and youth fixtures at U12 and U16 level in the Wollen Michelmore South Devon Youth League.

Highlight of the season will be a visit from Somerset on Tuesday, June 20 to play a testimonial game for James Hildreth.

South Devon hosted a similar match in 2015 for Peter Trego, played out in front of nearly 1,000 cricket fans.

West Indian star Chris Gayle, who was on a short-term T20 contract with Somerset at the time, went along to watch and delighted the crowd by emerging from a hospitality tent in borrowed kit to smash a few sixes.

Guest of honour at the game will be former South Devon and Somerset player Tony Sutton, who will be 92 by the time the match is played.

Sutton, a retired solicitor who lives in Teignmouth, played for Somerset in 1948 and is their oldest surviving player.

He played for South Devon for more than 20 years, captaining the 1st XI from 1954-1962.

South Devon start indoor nets for colts this Sunday at Teign School in Kingsteignton. Start time for colts is 3pm. Details from Brian Allen on 07771 867131.

Seniors start pre-season on March 5, also at Teign School. New players of all abilities welcome. Contact Wright (07886 019643) or Taylor (07492 303816) for more details.