MINOR Counties cricket will return to the County Ground in Exeter next summer after an absence of two years.
Devon only have three home games a season under the current Minor Counties Championship format and chose not to play one of them at Exeter last season.
The Mount Wise ground in Plymouth was offered the chance to stage a three-day game for the first time since 2001 and hosted Devon against Herefordshire during the July heat-wave.
Herefordshire won a low-scoring game by 23 runs, spinning Devon out for 177 in the fourth and last innings.
As umpires Ray Allen and Bob Hampshire submitted a low mark for the Plymouth pitch in their report to the Minor Counties Cricket Association, the decision to return to Exeter is not a surprise.
Exeter will host the final game of the three-day programme when Devon entertain Cornwall between September 1-3.
White-ball cricket dominates the first half of Devon’s season with qualifying rounds in the Unicorns T20 tournament either side of the 50-over Unicorns KO Trophy second-round tie with Wiltshire at Warminster.
Devon, beaten semi-finalists in 2018, have again been grouped with Wales, Wiltshire, Dorset and Cornwall in the T20 tournament. The home games are Wiltshire at Sidmouth (May 6) and Cornwall at North Devon (June 16).
Devon will visit North Perrot CC for the first time on May 26 to face Dorset.
As Devon were losing finalists against Cheshire in the Unicorns KO Cup last season they have been handed a bye in the first round.
If Devon get to the 50-over final again in 2019 they will have done it the hard way as they have been drawn away from home in every round.
The finals of both white-ball competitions will be on the Getty Ground at Wormsley in late August.
The three-day season swings into action on June 23 when Wales are the opposition at Pontarddulais CC.
Devon are away again in round two – Herefordshire at Eastnor Castle (July 7) before they opening home game against Wiltshire at Sandford (July 21).
Devon captain Matt Thompson will have happy memories of his first appearance at Eastnor as he scored his maiden county century there in
Devon hit the road to Alderley edge to play Cheshire (August 4). Then it is back to Sidmouth to face Oxfordshire (Aug 18) before the concluding game against Cornwall at Exeter.
Devon do not play Shropshire, Berkshire or Wiltshire next season, which will be the last to be played in a six-game format.
From 2020 the renamed Associate Counties Championship will be the pinnacle for players in the recreational game. The current arrangement of 10 Minor Counties playing each other twice every three years in 10-team divisions – East and West will be replaced by two regionalised division of five counties with promotion and relegation between them.
For those who cannot wait for the cricket season to come round again, Devon’s first warm-up game is on April 7 when Somerset 2ndXI play a 50-over game at Instow – weather permitting.