HOLSWORTHY skipper Ryan Walter is again targeting the top four as the Trees to look for another exciting summer at Stanhope Park.

The Devon-based club finished third in Division Two East of the Bond Timber Cornwall Cricket League in 2023 as well as winning the Division Two T20 Cup, and for long parts were in with a shout of taking the sole promotion slot which eventually went to Wadebridge Seconds.

However the club continues to move in the right direction with a thriving youth section, a Sunday team that plays in the North Devon League, a ladies team and two men’s teams.

After the first three games of the season were rearranged due to the poor weather in March and April, they got their season underway with a six-wicket victory over St Blazey on May 4.

They followed that up with a disappointing 17-run defeat at Callington Seconds on Saturday having been set 177 to win.

Walter feels they are ready for another exciting campaign.

He said: “We had a really good pre-season, which was at Shebbear College for the first time this year and started in January.

“In the end I think it was 14 weeks we did due to the delayed start to the season and they were attended by all areas of the club.

“We worked really and built it up as we went along with Jack Greening leading most of the sessions.”

Holsworthy’s hopes of going one better have been hit by the loss of all-rounder Matt Shepherd who has gone back to Callington, but they are still in good shape and have South African overseas Herschelle Poggenpoel back for a second summer.

Walter said: “We’ve signed Guy Beagley who has moved to the area and looks a good addition with the ball and lower down the order. 

“Herschelle is also back and it’s great to have him back after such a successful season last year.

“Hopefully it’ll be more of the same with the ball and he’ll build on his performances with the bat.”

Batsman Sam Stacey is also available once more, as is all-rounder Dan Smith.

“It’s also fantastic that Sam (Stacey) is back to full health after his illness, and Dan (Smith) is around for most of the season and is a good, solid cricketer.

“Basically, apart from Matt (Shepherd) going back to Callington again, everybody else is staying which is pleasing, so we’re in a good position.”

So what is he expecting from the league?

Walter said: “I think the likes of Callington and Werrington (Seconds) will be strong, and probably Lanhydrock although they had a tough afternoon in their first game.

“St Minver have also started well and look good, so I’m sure it’ll be another tough league.

“It maybe a little split but I’m sure every game will be a challenge and we’re hoping to progress again.

“We finished third last year which could easily have been second, so the aim again is to be in the top four and from there we’ll see once get towards the middle of the season.

“If we can have nine or ten of our core 12 available every week then that’ll put us in a good position where we want to be.”

The second team are captained once again by Lyndon Piper as they aim to improve on last year’s mid-table finish in Division Five East.

Walter said: “Like us, the seconds want to progress and we have a lot of youngsters and a few experienced heads, but we won’t be putting any pressure or targets on them.

“It’s about the youngsters progressing and becoming better cricketers to start pushing for the first team.”

Holsworthy were much improved on their travels last summer, and Walter knows they will need to be so again.

He said: “We’ve always been very good at home, but the progress last year from 2022 was that we started to win more away from home.

“We’ll be looking to repeat that again, and there’s no reason to fear anyone now we’re established in this league!”