A DIVISION PREVIEWS
HATHERLEIGH skipper Mark Lake is oozing confidence going into Saturday’s tussle with Chudleigh.
Hatherleigh made it six from six at the top of the A Division last time out when they defeated second-placed Sandford by 21 runs.
Both sides were unbeaten going into round six so something had to give.
When Hatherleigh were 75 for six after a roughing up from Matt Theedom (3-40) and Pete Steer (3-31), Sandford seemed in the driving seat.
Hatherleigh recovered to make 223 for nine – Charlie Nielson hitting a match-turning 61 – and Sandford couldn’t catch them.
Armed with a 20-point lead at the top of the table, Lake said: “I am looking for seven from seven and nothing less!
“Chudleigh are a team I respect and we've had some close games against them in the last couple of seasons.
“But I am confident of a positive result, especially being at home.”
Sean Letheren is unavailable due to an injury picked up last weekend.
“There could be another couple of changes because I have a full squad to pick from,” said Lake.
Chudleigh skipper Ed Foreman is an admirer of Hatherleigh’s and knows what’s coming.
“Hatherleigh are a good side and we have had some good games with them in the past few years,” said Foreman.
“It is no surprise they are in the position they are.
“We need to be at our best to compete.
“Matt Heather, Ben Holmes and Callum Heath return, but we are missing Will Heather.”
PLYMSTOCK go to Brixham for a basement battle they can’t afford to lose.
Brixham are the only team below Plymstock as the table stands – and Plymstock are 11 points short of getting out of the drop zone.
Plymstock have only won once since winning promotion and have learned the A Division is an unforgiving environment.
“If we are going to compete we must learn that things you may get away with in the B Division it’s a different story in the A,” said skipper Scott Mansfield.
“One mistake and it's generally over.
“If we can get back to enjoying cricket we'll be fine.”
Spinner Ian Whalley is unavailable this week, but coming back is top-order batsman Charles Martin.”
Plymstock have re-signed keeper-batter Dan Robotham in the past few days, but the transfer has not gone through yet as former club Plympton have not signed the paperwork.
LEWDOWN, at home to Ivybridge, have a stronger look to their side with Tallan Burns, Leon Horn and N Smith all back.
Jack Williams appears for the first time this season, but there is no Billy Searle who is on holiday.
Dave Ball was the man of the moment against Budleigh last time out with 80 in a total of 179 for five.
“Last week Dave Ball kept the innings together well on a poor pitch, which has been something we have needed,” said club captain Harry Geering.
“This week batting the overs again is a must.”
CORNWOOD have named Mo Salman in the side to face visiting Budleigh Salterton, on the off chance he can play.
The former Pakistan keeper-batsman has been hired as Cornwood’s player-coach, subject to a visa being issued.
The visa should have been issued this week, but Salman and Cornwood are still waiting.
“We are sweating on Sal’s visa which still hasn’t arrived,” said Cornwood’s director of cricket Duncan Boase.
“It is unlikely he will be here for Saturday although there is a chance so he is named in the side.”
Room will have to be found for Salman, if he becomes available.
Highly rated Owen Gannon makes way for Ryan Rickard.
“Owen is definitely one for the future and he will break into the first team soon if he keeps putting good performances together,” said Boase.
Budleigh’s selection picture remains fluid with doubts over the fitness of seamer Joel Murphy and the availability of Somerset’s Max Waller.
SANDFORD skipper Richard Foan doesn’t want another slip up that could harm the club’s promotion chances when they visit Plympton.
Table-topping Hatherleigh defeated Sandford by 21 runs last time out. Sandford are now 20 points behind Hatherleigh. The crumb of comfort for Foan rain elsewhere stopped Cornwood below gaining ground on them.
“It was not a great day at the office, but I was encouraged that we got so close against a well-organised Hatherleigh team,” said Foan.
“We must be looking to get back on the winning track and put in a more professional, all-round performance as we know we can.”
With batter Adrian Small unavailable, Brian Leach comes in. Grant Ward replaces Greg Lewis in the bowling attack.
Plympton make one change to the side rained off against Conwood. David Wrench is working so James Degg has a slot again after playing for his school last Saturday.
The weather was hit and miss over Devon last Saturday – games were played in the east but not the south and west of the county – which Plympton skipper Craig Dononhue feels is a disadvantage,
:It was a shame we were unable to play the full game last week as, after losing the toss, we started well and you just never know with local games what can happen,” said Donohue.
“I do think the six points for a cancellation needs to be looked at though.
“Unless everyone in the division is called off it really does give the teams playing a big advantage.”
Sandford have only lost once so far this season, and then not by much to leaders Hatherleigh.
Donohue has a healthy respect for Sandford’s batting, sprinkled as it is with former Devon players.
“They look strong on paper and with players like Richard Foan and Matt Theedom we will have to bowl well,” said Donohue.
“We are yet to really hit our potential yet as it has been a bit of a stop-start season because of the weather.
“I feel we are not far away from being at our best and hopefully that will be this week.”