Maer men keep the third team playing
PUBLISHED: 11:11 09 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:11 09 August 2018
At a time when many a cricket team seems to be struggling with numbers – last weekend Uplyme and Lyme Regis were unable to field either a 1st XI or a 2nd XI for their respective Tolchards Devon League matches, and the league have already ‘lost’ two teams this season who have fallen foul of the ‘cancel three games and you’re out’ rule, but Exmouth continue to ‘buck the trend’ and have managed to field three XIs on a regular basis.
For Exmouth chairman Mark Davies, the club’s third eleven, who are this season playing in what is effectively the bottom division in the league, is every bit as important in terms of the very fabric of the club, as the 1st XI who ply their trade in the Premier Division.
Davies says: “I will not say it’s been a stroll fielding three XIs on the same Saturday – far from it, and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to seasoned campaigner Julian ‘Shaggy’ Page who really has been brilliant in terms of helping us through the campaign.”
He continued: “The third eleven is so important in the grander scheme of things. Our 1st XI is of course the main team and it’s important we look to continue to make sure the best of cricket is played at the Maer, but it is equally important that we continue to offer a good cricket grounding to local youngsters. That means we end up with quite an age range in the thirds which this season has seen players from 12 to 62 playing on a regular basis.”
After what has been a disappointing past weekend – the Exmouth 1st XI were thrashed at Exeter in a Premier Division game and the following day exited the ECB National T20 competition, well beaten by Penzance.
Davies says: “It was a reality check really. Look, at that level your side comes up against teams with big budgets, but is that really the way forward? I prefer a model whereby we develop our own from within, but continue to provide a platform for the best club cricketers we can encourage to play at our Maer ground. If anything, I’d have to say that if we have to take a step back to eventually take two strides forward as a club, then that’s the route I’d champion us going down.
“Under my chairmanship we shall continue to embrace the development of younger cricketers. Take last Saturday and our 3rd XI with the Corney siblings, James and Emma, putting on close to 200 for the unbroken fifth wicket and then the Austin brothers, Sam and Josh claiming four wickets between them. They are special moments in a cricket season and long may such incidents keep happening at our club.”