DEVON captain Matt Thompson and director of cricket Keith Donohue have had their work cut out getting a side together for the game against Wiltshire starting at Sandford tomorrow (11am).
A 13-man squad sketched out at the start of the week has been eviscerated by cry-offs for numerous reasons, ranging from Dom Bess’s inclusion in the Somerset side to play Pakistan through a round of in injures to a player forgetting he was on holiday.
Five of the original 13 are no longer available to play against Wiltshire – and that 13 showed six changes from the team that tied with Herefordshire last time out.
Now the gaps have been filled and Devon have a bare XI for the game, only three of whom, Thompson, Matt Golding and Josh King played in the previous game.
That is quite a turn-over and a growing problem for Devon as the strive to compete in the Minor Counties Championship.
The side that tied with Herefordshire showed three changes from the one beaten by Wales, which underlines the recurring nature of the problem. Devon used 21 players last season getting through six games, again highlighting the problem.
Donohue said the issue for the team management is how to stop the chopping and changing.
“Going forward we have to identify players who will be both committee and regularly available,” said Donohue.
“At the moment we are blooding lots of young players and aiming to identify the ones who take the opportunity to show the have the ability to play Minor Counties cricket.”
Typical of the players being given a chance against Wilthshire are spin-bowling all-rounder Jamie Stephens – dad Phil played for Cornwall between 1983-89 – and opening bat Reid Mawdsley.
Mawdsley and Stephens have both been groomed for Minors cricket in the Devon Lions Development team, which was set up seven years ago as a stepping stone into the senior side.
Devon suffer because they have a high number of players attached to Somerset in one form or another.
Dom Bess, who has just been registered by Somerset for First Class cricket, Ben Green and Tom Lammonby are all playing regularly for Somerset in 2nd XI matches.
Devon officials would like Somerset to be a bit more flexible releasing players for Minor Counties games, although for contracted players that is unlikely.”
Devon (from): R A Mawdsley (Torquay), M W Thompson (St Fagans), L J Lewis (Sidmouth), D R Pyle (Exmouth), M C Golding (Bovey Tracey), M H Curtis (North Devon), T A Lammonby (Exeter), Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), J V King (North Devon), T A Pedal (Exeter), J A Stephens (Tavistock).
Wiltshire: P J Grieshaber, L R De Souza, A A Morrison, J B Lintott, D W Cope, W J Wade, J P Sore, T G Afridi, A P Carroll, J P Roberts, J M King.
Umpires: J S Beckwith & R C Hampshire
DEVON'S new programme will be on sale for the first time at the game, priced at £2 each.
The 32-page programme contains information about the county club, the players and some career statistics.
A thousand copies have been printed and will be on sale at the three Minor Counties Championship home games this season.
Volunteers will be selling scorecards and programmes around the ground during all three-days of the game.