Max Shepherd – just one of Devon's battery of spinners in the 12 going to Wargrave<br>credit: Conrad Sutcliffe - no re-use without copyright owner's consent

DEVON will wait until toss-up time before deciding on the final XI for the NCA Trophy clash against holders Berkshire at Wargrave.

Devon have so many all-rounders in the 12-man squad they have adequate cover for almost every bowling option – as well as batting right down the order.

Dave Tall, Devon’s team manager, said the decision will be whether to pick an additional bowler or batsman – and that may well depend on tomorrow’s conditions at Wargrave.

Said Tall: “We have a lot of spin bowlers in the side –specialists like Max Shepherd and Jamie Stephens; all-rounders such as Sam Reed – and batting into double figures,” said Tall.

“The choice will be a simple one: an extra bowler, or an extra batsman. We will have a look at the pitch before making a decision.”Charlie Sharland – the University of Exeter and Bunbury Festival batter who is in Devon's 50-over side for the first time

Tall had hoped to use the NCA Twenty20 competition as a white-ball warm-up for the 50-over group stages, but was thwarted yet again by bad weather.

Devon only started three of their six pool fixtures – and one of them failed to go the distance due to rain!

“Our preparation has not been ideal, just like last year, but at least there has been some cricket played and the league season has started,” said Tall.

Winless Devon failed to get past the group stages of the 50-over competition last season, but were beaten quarter-finalists in 2021 and 2022. Berkshire and Dorset respectively ended Devon’s interests in the competition.

Tall is optimistic Devon can qualify from their group for a place in the knockout stages. Oxfordshire, Cornwall and Buckinghamshire are the other team’s in the group.

“We know we are in a strong pool, but to win anything you have to beat the best,” said Tall.

“Three years ago we were rebuilding the squad and now we are starting to see the benefits of sticking with players and letting them develop.

“Seven of the 12 going to Wargrave were in the 2021 squad and the younger ones – the Beaumonts, Horlers, Hamltons and Reads – now have three years’ experience behind them and are established players.”

Devon: J D Horler, B H Privett, C M Sharland, B A Beaumont, C J Haggett, S O Read, M W Thompson, J A Stephens, F J Hill, W R Christophers, K B Syzmanski, M B Shepherd.