No play on day two at Exeter

THERE was no play at Exeter yesterday on day two of the Minor Counties Championship game between Devon and Oxfordshire.

Mid-morning rain ruled out an 11am start on the County Ground – and a brief inspection after lunch ruled out play for the day.

Devon were 134 for three overnight in reply to Oxfordshire’s 273 all-out – Dom Bess taking six for 65.

Play can start half an hour earlier today (Tuesday) to make up some of the lost time.

To get a result from the game – or the chance of one - will probably require some co-operation between Devon captain Matt Thompson and opposite number Johnnie Cater.

Devon had hoped to field former Somerset paceman Alfonso Thomas in the game having lined him up as their player-coach earlier in the season.

Thomas’ Minor Counties registration was delayed by the ECB and MCCA while he obtained UK citizenship, which was granted last week.

Overseas players are banned from Minor Counties cricket and most club competitions other than leagues sanctioned by the ECB.

Devon are now waiting on an eligibility issue to be resolved before Thomas can be registered.

The race is on to get the paperwork completed before Devon play Western Division leaders Cornwall at Sidmouth later this month.

Neil Gamble, Devon’s chief executive, said the stumbling block now is how much time Thomas has spent in the UK over the MCCA’s qualifying period.

“The issue centres on how many days Alfie was out of the country over the last four years, and there is some controversy over precise numbers,” said Gamble.

“Alfie went on tours abroad with Somerset on three occasions in the last four years.

“Those activities count as domestic arrangements and therefore are removed from the data for ECB calculation purposes.

“Early next week we may have a definitive set of figures on which to make a judgment.”