DEVON bowler Ryan Bougourd’s seven-for-41 haul against Wales was the best return by a county debutant for 106 years!
Bovey Tracey seamer Bougourd put the skids under Wales in the Minor Counties Championship opener at Wales, which Devon won by five wickets to open their defence of the title they won last year.
County archivist Harold Shaw had to blow the dust of years of scorebooks before he could find a better debut performance by a Devon bowler.
When Shaw got back to 1906, he finally found a better set of bowling figures.
George Mark Hawksworth, who hailed from Leicester, took seven for 22 against Cornwall at Kelly College, Tavistock on his Devon debut.
In three seasons with Devon – 1906-1908 – Hawksworth took 106 wickets at an average of 15.06. He left Devon in 1909 for Berkshire, where he remained until retiring in 1928 aged 48.
“All I can say is how chuffed I am to have a small place in Devon cricket history,” said Bougourd.
“It doesn’t get much better than taking seven wickets on your debut, although the important thing was that the team won.
“It took me eight seasons to take five wickets in a league game for Bovey Tracey - and I go and take seven in my first Minor County game for Devon. How unexpected is that?”
Bougourd wasn’t in Devon’s plans at all last season, but worked hard during winter training to force his way into the reckoning.
Devon gave Bougourd his chance in the one-day MCCA Trophy, and he impressed sufficiently to get a place in the three-day Championship side.
It has only taken a handful of games at Minor Counties level for Bougourd to realise it is a hefty step up from Premier Division cricket on a Saturday afternoon.
“Premier cricket is quite intense, but Minor Counties takes that to another level,” said Bougourd.
“Every now and again on a Saturday afternoon you can relax. You can’t do that in a Minor Counties game.
“All the time you are making sure you get the ball in the right place, and checking your field with the captain.
“It has made me raise my game and given me more confidence in my bowling and batting.”
Devon go to St Austell this Sunday to continue their defence of the Minor Counties title against Cornwall.
There will be three Bovey Tracey players in the 12 as club captain Peter Bradley has been considered for the first time and will be playing under his older brother Chris, who is county skipper.
“I can’t say I am that surprised as Pete has been playing really well in the league,” said Bougourd.
“He has scored more than 300 runs already and is there as another bowling option if needed.
“When we were eight or nine I played for Shaldon and used to bowl at Peter, who played for Stokeinteignhead.
“Who would have thought then we would be county colleagues when we grew up?”
Devon go to St Austell looking to bounce back from Sunday’s five-wicket defeat by Wiltshire at Corsham in the quarter-finals of the MCCA Trophy.
Matt Thompson (53) and Rob Woodman (52) were Devon’s main run-getters in a total of 258 for nine.
Wiltshire knocked off the runs with an over to spare.
Gary Chappell and Matt Wood, who played at Corsham, are unavailable for the trip to Cornwall. Their places go to Peter Bradley and Paignton’s Seb Benton.
Devon (v Cornwall): R J Woodman (Taunton), R J Holman (Exeter), J E Burke (Budleigh), D F Lye (Exmouth), J J Bess (Sidmouth), P Bradley (Bovey Tracey), M W Thompson (Torquay), T S Anning (Exmouth), R J Bougourd, C Bradley (Bovey Tracey), M C Goulding (Bradninch), S R Benton (Paignton).
MCCA TROPHY QUARTER-FINAL
Devon 258-9 (R J Woodman 52, R J Holman 39, M W Thompson 53; A Morrison 3-53), Wiltshire 259-5 (E R Kilbee 73, J R Levitt 47, J J Breet 83, H J Langford 31; R J Bougourd 2-39). Wiltshire bt Devon by 5 wkts.