Exmouth Cricket Club has a new skipper following the news that Fin Marks has taken over as captain following the resignation of Tim Piper on health grounds, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.
Piper, who only took on the job at the start of the current season, has been battling a health issue for some time and is on the waiting list for an operation.
Although his operation could be weeks or even months away, Piper has been struggling to play and won’t be turning out for Exmouth again this season.
“I have not been particularly well all season and for that reason have stepped down as captain,” said Piper.
Mark Davies, the Exmouth chairman, said stepping aside was the right thing for Piper to do.
“Health has to come before cricket and Tim has struggled on for some time despite not being very well at all,” said Davies.
“Everyone at the club wishes Tim all the best and hopes he can be sorted out by surgery and that he will be back playing again next season.”
Marks, who is 22, has been with Exmouth since arriving from Budleigh Salterton in 2013 and made his 1stXI debut two years later against North Devon in the opening game of the 2015 season. His career highlights are two scores of 63, against Exeter this season and Paignton in 2019, and three wickets for 14 runs against Cornwood earlier this summer.
Piper’s last game as captain was Sunday’s 13-run defeat by his former side Bradninch at Bovey Tracey in the final of the Sunbelt Rentals T20 Cup.
Premier side Exmouth should have been favourites to beat A Division pacesetters Bradninch, although a combination of suspensions and other availability issues meant they certainly weren’t red hot!
Bradninch made 144 for seven in their 20 overs – opener Rory Thomas top scoring with 41 off 28 balls.
When Exmouth were 45 for none in reply in the fifth over – Richard Baggs and Piper the men who had been battering the bowling – Bradninch were on the back foot.
Two wickets in four balls – Piper (17) first, Baggs next for 29 – changed the dynamic for a while and by half way Exmouth were fractionally behind the clock at 64 for three.
Andy Buzza (29) and Fin Marks (21) started catching up and by the 14-over mark the target was 41 to win with seven wickets in hand. Cup glory was in Exmouth’s reach, or so it seemed.
A double strike by Ninch skipper Gary Chappell – Buzza then Lawrence Greenway in successive balls – was the start of Exmouth’s downfall. Marks was run-out by Chappell in the next over and from then on there was only one likely winner.
Aryan Raigangar (2-22) and Chappell (2-22) slowed Exmouth’s scoring rate to the point that they arrived at the final over from Chappell needing 24 to win. That was never going to happen and they came up short on 131 for eight.
Piper said external issues potentially cost Exmouth their shot at the cup.
“A lot of things didn’t go our way this year,” said Piper.
“Suspensions to Louis Morrison and George Greenway, James Horler playing for Devon and Pete Turnbull getting injured against Heathcoat the day before meant we had quite a few big names missing for finals day.
“We beat Cornwood fairly easily in the semi-final – and the same went for Bradninch against Plymouth.
“The final was a good match Between two quite even teams. It could have gone either way, but I think Bradninch just about deserved the win.
“The pitch was 200 overs old by the time we batted in the final and chasing was never going to be easy with the spinners they have. Not a toss to lose.
“All the lads put everything in and unfortunately we were on the wrong side of it this year.”