PUDDLETOWN have announced a change in first-team captain for the 2023 season.

Outgoing skipper Adam Barrett has decided to step down after five years, astonishingly leading the club from County Division Four to the Dorset Premier League.

Experienced all-rounder Ryan Norman takes over the reins after the club was cruelly relegated back to County Division One by a single point on the final day of the 2022 campaign.

But Barrett leaves with his head held high, telling Echosport: “It’s something I started thinking about at the back end of last season and then over the last couple of months.

READ MORE: Puddletown relegated by ONE point after final game

“I’ve done five years as captain, so I think it’s time for me to step down and Ryan was up for doing it, so he got voted in.

“I’m handing over to Ryan from now onwards, I’m sure he’ll do a good job and keep the good times coming.

“When I took over it was a proper village team, playing in Division Four.

“To get to where we did, being in the Premier, especially in such a short space of time, we can be very proud of our achievements.

“It would’ve been nice to stay up last year but I’m still very proud. The fact we even got Puddletown into the Premier was excellent.

“Now it’s down to Ryan to try and get us back there in a few seasons’ time.”

Explaining more about his decision, Barrett added: “We were struggling with availability and I was doing a lot of work helping prepare the pitches.

“I just thought after five years I’ve given up quite a lot of time. I just wanted to step back a little.

“I’m still going to be involved in playing and preparing wickets at Plush. In terms of captaincy, it’s time to pass the reins over.

“Ryan captained the last couple of games last year when I was out injured, he did a good job and everyone seems happy to play for him.”

Norman, who following the club’s AGM will continue to skipper Puddletown’s Evening League side, said: “It was always decided that with my experience of doing it I’d be the natural replacement.

“You can’t take anything away from Adam, he’s done a fantastic job and still does.

“To lead them up through all the divisions, you can’t say enough about what he’s done. It’s not an easy job and he’s taken a lot of it on single-handedly and done fantastic.”

And Norman has high hopes of a good season in 2023.

“I’m fairly confident going into the season,” he said. “It’s no disrespect to any team in Division One, there are some very good teams.

“We’ll be looking to bounce back if we can.”