THE only way is up for Bovey Tracey Cricket Club this season after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) rule book saved them from the drop last season.

The bottom two teams usually go down at the end of the season and Bovey Tracey finished ninth in a 10-team division. ECB rules regarding Premier Division youth criteria denied Kilmington the second promotion place from the A Division, so Bovey were spared after a difficult season.

Former Devon spin bowler Toby Codd will make his return for a second stint as captain after Lewis Hammett, who became a dad near the end of last season, stood down at the end of the campaign.

Codd has enjoyed the good times with Bovey Tracey – he was a member of Pete Bradley’s title winning team in 2017 – and wants to see his team do a bit more than just survive in the division.

‘After a pretty disappointing season last year, there is a lot of positivity around the club,’ said Codd. ‘We are lucky to have a lot of promising and talented youngsters, who will be getting opportunities this year.

‘Our goal will be to consolidate our position in the Premier League and to give these lads as much exposure and experience along the way.’

Adam Kent, Chudleigh’s captain for the past two seasons and a reliable run maker, has switched clubs to have a stab at Premier cricket with Bovey Tracey.

‘Adam looks a quality opening batsman and ‘keeper, who will hopefully contribute a weight of runs this season,’ said Codd.

Another Bovey arrival from Chudleigh is seamer Ben Holmes, whom Codd has predicted will make an impression with the ball.

‘Ben bowls with good pace and will give our attack a point of difference,’ said Codd. ‘I think he will be one to look out for in the league this season.’

Bovey have not had much luck with overseas players in recent seasons, which have been blighted by early departures and other problems. Alex Bevilaqua, who came over from Australia last season, was ruled out during the second half of the summer due to a registration issue.

Musa Twala, a top order batter who has played for South African Emerging Players, has signed on with Bovey Tracey after a strong domestic season at home.

‘Musa is a top order batter, who will hopefully be a match winner for us,’ said Codd.

‘The Premier Division has been dominated by strong overseas players in recent years; hopefully Musa will help give us that extra quality.’

Bovey Tracey get the new season up and running on the road at Cornwood this Saturday, May 4.