THORVERTON have run into an unexpected problem ahead of the derby clash with Shobrooke Park – Aussie all-rounder Seppe Barletta has gone home.
Family reasons’ is all skipper Andy Pitt is able to say about Barletta’s departure, which could not have come at a worse time as keeper George Greed and spinner Nick Barton are missing this week.
“It is a real shame Seppe had to go home as he's been great to have around and leaves big shoes to fill on and off the pitch
“Paul Stirling comes up from the 2nd XI to keep. He has been batting well this season, which is a bonus.
Looking ahead to Shobrooke, Pitt said: “After winning last weekend it would be great to build some momentum and move up the table.”
Thors edged towards safety in the B Division thanks to a two-wicket win over fellow strugglers Ottery St Mary.
Shobrooke will want to bounce back from the six-run defeat by Ipplepen that dropped them back to third in the table. Shobrooke skipper Chris Simpson said it was a close shave and not a result to worry about it his side overturn recent history and beat Thors.
Thorverton have had the best of it since I've been at the club and we need to turn that round,” said Simpson.
“Our team is nearly at full strength so there are no excuses. The boys are right up for this one.
“Last week was very positive so hopefully take it into this week.
“Ben wonnocott drops out to make room for Tom Youngman.
“Tom is a quality spinner who takes wickets and we really missed him against Ipplepen,” said Simpson.
BIDEFORD will want to make up lost ground when they face old rivals Filleigh at Pebbleridge Road.
While Bideford were being rained off at Abbotskerswell last Saturday, Ipplepen were winning at Shobrooke Park to go past them at the top of the table.
Pens now have an 11-point lead over Bideford, whom they meet next Saturday in a top-of-the-table clash.
Bideford skipper Paul Heard hopes to have an unchanged side on duty for a game his side will be expected to win.
Filleigh are bumping along in the bottom three, but Heard is taking nothing for granted.
“Derbies tend to bring the best out of teams and individuals so we will be wary of Filleigh and their potential,” said Heard.
“We are in good form and our game is strong when we stick to what we know.
“I am confident we can produce a good performance.”
Filleigh skipper Simon Prideaux, is targeting a fresh start after a disappointing batting display against Barton
“We have enjoyed lots of great games at Bideford in the North Devon League over the years and has always found it a good wicket with pace and bounce,” said Prideaux.
“We know the pitch and their players well so I am hoping we can perform to the level Iknow we can on the day and cause an upset.”
Mark Prideaux is missing this week but all-rounder Jack Brazier and batter Jas Kalsi return.
All-rounder Ryan Bowden will require a late fitness text to see he can recover from a leg injury.
BARTON, who had Filleigh on the ropes at 88 for six when rain stopped play, make the long trip to Seaton.
Adam Parker’s side are only two points clear of the drop spots and need some wins in a hurry.
Seaton have had a tough transition from the C Division East, but winning at leaders Ipplepen two weeks ago showed they can cut it with the best.
Barton skipper Parker said: “We need to get a win under our belts and then look to build on that and get our season going.”
“We need to pick up where we left of last week when it comes to bowling and fielding and get our head down when it comes to batting.”
Seaton didn’t play last week due to wet weather, which frustrated skipper Ben Morgan.
“I am hoping our lads can take some confidence from our last outing where we beat top-of-the-table Ipplepen,” said Morgan.
“Barton look to have had some indifferent results – a bit like us - and it is a big game as we are both level on points with both looking to climb away from the bottom three.”
Dependable batter Steve Pritchard is away working so Ollie Pinnock comes into the side.
Seaton and Barton are virtual strangers in the league with just one meeting between them since 1999.
Barton had the best of it at Cricketfield Road back in 2005 when they won a Premier game by seven wickets in a relegation battle. The first game between the teams was rained off.
Aqeel Ahmed (5-29) and Damon Calland (3-23) spun out Seaton for 136 – Matt Hewer making a battling 31 off 96 balls.
Nick Watkin (45no) and James Toms (31) saw Barton to victory. Seaton were relegated at the end of the season and teams have not met since.
You have to go back to July 24, 1999 for Barton’s last visit to Court Lane, and another three wicket win.
Kevin Daye (69) and Mike Cottam (74) were the run getters for Seaton in a total of 220 – Lee Elmore taking three wickets for Barton.
Andy Pugh (60) and Darren Cowley (44) were the prime Barton run scorers.
BOTTOM side Ottery are at home to Abbotskerswell.
Ottery are winless and 32 points adrift at the bottom already.
Skipper Will Harrison remains optimistic though, saying” It has been a tough season so far but we are getting closer every week.
“Unfortunately, the team changes from week to week due to availability.”
Abbotskerswell welcome back former skipper Dickie Acton, who has been working in Bristol, which gives them a lift in all departments.
Richard Harmer is out due to a back injury, but will play for the 2nd XI against Ottery as a batter.
Charlie Mitchell will take over Harmer’s other job behind the stumps.
TAVISTOCK hope to make a statement of intent when the visit leaders Ipplepen in the first meeting between the teams.
The Moorlanders are in the peleton behind Pens at the top of the table – and now they need to make a move before the climb becomes too steep.
“Ipplepen are top and playing well, but we're confident we can win if we apply ourselves,” said Tavvy skipper Shaun Daymond.
“This middle part of the season is where you need to be consistent and put results together if you want to be at the front.”
Pens are in good spirits after a narrow win over Shobrooke Park last time out.
Skipper Sam wakeham says the leaders are not the finished article yet.
“We need to work on our batting still and post scores that will bat the opposition out of the game,” he said.
“Team spirit and confidence is high after getting over the line last week.”
Mawgan penrice is away and replaced by Jack Wylie
“Not played Tavistock before so it’s going to be an interesting game.”
Pens joined the league in 1984 and have not met Tavistock in a league match before.