PUBLISHED: 09:11 15 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:11 15 April 2014
DEVON’S pre-season preparations have been hit by a change of date and venue for the 50-over friendly against the University of Exeter, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.
The game should have taken place at Budleigh Salterton on Easter Sunday, but the Ottermouth outfield isn’t in peak condition.
So the game has been moved to Bank Holiday Monday at nearby Sidmouth with an 11.30 start, which presents problems of a different kind.
Devon had wanted to get Exmouth big-hitter David Lye out in the middle before the serious stuff starts with a Minor Counties Cup game against Wiltshire at Instow on April 27.
Lye can’t play on Monday due to work commitments, and neither can pace bowling clubmate Trevor Anning for the same reason.
Devon’s plan had been to field their likely side for the Cup game, but without Anning and Lye they can’t.
With spinner Chris Bradley out for the season due to a shoulder injury, Gary Chappell comes in as the likely one-day replacement.
The second spinner slot is being contested by Sidmouth’s Charlie Miles and Bovey’s Matt Golding.
Anning will feature in the Cup and on paper Devon are well covered for seamers with James Burke skipper Josh Bess certainties to play.
The dilemma for Bess and team boss Keith Donohue is what to do about a sixth bowler?
Lye and Liam Lewis can do a job, but Matt Kidd and Ryan Bougourd both have respectable claims for a place,
And Devon have had some unexpected good news with Scott Barlow asking if he can return to the fold after a couple of years with Dorset.
Barlow has been used as a one-day specialist by Devon in the past and is ability to tie up one end would be an attraction.
Devon had no inkling Barlow wanted to return until he contacted them asking if they would be interested.
“I didn’t go to any of Dorset’s nets in the winter and wasn’t picked for their game against Hampshire 2nd XI on Sunday,” said Barlow.
“My availability is for three of the four games in the group stages and one of the attractions for me is the game against Dorset at Sidmouth.”
Barlow re-appeared for Devon against Somerset 2nd XI at Heathcoat on Sunday, but got mowed around the park by Pete Trego as the visitors ambled to an eight-wicket win.
Devon were all out for 97 in the 36th of their 50 overs – Bess (25) and Sam Smith (21) the only batters to reach double figures.
Lewis was unlucky – he was caught of his arm from a rising delivery – and Matt Thompson was run out backing up when Trego deflected a Bess drive on to the stumps.
But most of the rest of the dismissals had an early of early season rustiness about them, not helped by the quality of the Somerset bowling.
After 1st XI regular Trego softened Devon up, Ireland international George Dockrell spun his way to five for 17 as the last six wickets went for 23 runs.
Devon 97 (J J Bess 25, S J Smith 21; G D Dockrell 5-17, P D Trego 3-27), Somerset 98-2 (P D Trego 44no).