By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
EXETER opening batsman Sam Read hopes to put into practise what he learned during a season in Australia – starting in Devon’s game against the University of Exeter on Sunday.
Read, 19, was one of the first names on the list when team boss Dave Tall sketched out a 13-man squad for the game at Sidmouth.
Read, who completed his A-levels at Exeter School last year, jetted out to Adelaide last October to take up a place at the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy.
During the week he studied at the academy and at weekends he played for Prospect CC in the Adelaide grade competition.
Read went into the A Grade 1st XI four games into the season in South Australia and quickly moved up the order to open the batting. He totalled more than 300 runs in 15 innings and at an average in the low 20s.
Grade cricket games are generally two-innings affairs played over two days – with some one-day matches thrown in – which means batters have to occupy the crease longer than they would in a Devon League game.
Read said the big take away for him was the need to put a high price on his wicket.
“Batting in Australia has really taught to value my wicket as you can go two or three weeks without getting a hit in a game,” said Read.
“Your need to make most of opportunities and the time you get in the middle.”
Read worked closely with former Australian one-day player Mark Cosgrove on his batting while at the academy and ironed out a few issues.
“We made a few technical changes which will hopefully bring me success in the UK,” said Read.
Exeter team-mate Ed Middleton, like Read a graduate of the youth system at Clyst St George before stepping up to Premier cricket, is also in Sunday’s side.
Middleton went Down Under in 2019-20 to attend the Lehmann Academy.
Left-handed batsman Dan Pyle gets an early opportunity to show what he can do following his close-season switch from Heathcoat to Exmouth.
The teenage stars of last Sunday’s 13-run win over Clevedon CC at Instow all keep their place in the side.
Elliot Hamilton made a century and runs from Ben Beaumont, Ben Privett and Adam Small to supplement a half-century from skipper Zak Bess helped Devon total 308 for six.
Clevedon, whose captain is journeyman NatWest Blast pro Jake Lintott, made a real attempt at winning the game thanks to a century from Henry Ellison.
Privett picked up three wickets and there were two each for Bess and Jamie Stephens as Devon clinched victory in the last over by dismissing Clevedon for 295.
Seven members of the side are aged below 20, which is a conscious decision by Tall to look at the talent pushing for a place in the one and three-day sides later in the season.
“The good thing about the pre-season games we have is they will help the younger players prepare for when we will need them later in the season,” said Tall.
“There are two more games coming up and other players I want to look at in them.”
Sunday’s game is the last at which spectators won’t be allowed to attend before Covid-19 regulations are lifted on Monday.
Devon: A W R Barrow (Sidmouth), J A Stephens (Taunton Deane), B H Hamilton (Plympton), J H G Degg (Plymouth), B H Privett (Plympton), B A Beaumont (Cornwood), M C Golding (Bovey Tracey), S O Read (Exeter), A J Small (Sandford), A E Farkins (Paignton), D J Goodey (Plymouth), D R Pyle (Exmouth), E W O Middleton (Exeter).