By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
FORMER Bradninch captain Tim Piper is on the move for the 2020 season to Tolchards Devon Cricket League Premier side Exmouth.
Piper stuck with Bradninch last season following their 2018 relegation from the Premier Division in the hope of helping them back into the top flight.
“Tim wants to play Premier cricket in a quicker timescale than we can offer,” said Acton, whose side finished a distant third behind Cornwood in last season’s A Division.
Exmouth captain Andrew Buzza, a former Bradninch team-mate of Piper’s, has tried signing the keeper-batsman before. He is delighted to have got his man at long last.
“It is no secret that I have wanted to sign Tim to play at Exmouth for a while, both as a player and a friend, and I am glad that it's happening this summer,” said Buzza.
“In my opinion Tim is one of the most under-rated keeper-batters in the county.
“Tim is a player who loves the battles that cricket can bring, plus has an awareness for the game which will be invaluable for Premier Division cricket.”
Losing Piper, who smacked 720 A Division runs at an average of 51.43 last season, is a real blow for Bradninch captain Acton.
“Ideally, we don't want to go down the overseas player route but we do need to replace Piper's runs,” said Acton.
“We are looking at local players and will have to see what the next month or so brings.”
One new player already on board for 2020 a Kensham Park is early order batsman Darren Paul, who has switched from Cullompton.
Piper started his cricket career with Clyst Hydon and was talent spotted in the village side’s youth ranks in his early teens. He toured South Africa with Devon U15s in 2003 in the same squad as Acton, future Devon CCC captain Josh Bess, the late Tom Allin and future Torquay captain Justin Yau.
Piper left Bradninch for the first time at the start of the 2005 season when he signed for Premier side Torquay, but the travelling commitment proved too great and the player was back at Kensham Park by mid-season.
Piper re-joined Torquay for the 2015 season under Yau’s captaincy, but only played five matches before returning to Bradninch. Torquay won the Premier title that summer.
Acton said if it does not work out for Piper at Exmouth the door is open for him to re-join Bradninch.
“I would not bet against a return for the third time as he leaves with no bad feeling and we would welcome him back gladly,” said Acton.
Bradninch invited Piper to skipper the 1stXI in 2013 and 2014. He resumed the role in 2016 after his brief spell at Torquay.