Another good year for the Devon Lions says team chief Tim Western

Devon Lions in 2016

ANOTHER successful year for the Devon Lions, which is one tier down in the player pathway from the Minor Counties side.

The aim of Devon Lions remains to identify and develop the next generation of Devon CCC players and it was therefore very pleasing to see a significant number of those involved within the Devon Lions represent the county at the highest level during 2016.

Jamie Stephens, Dan Wolf, Jamie Drew, Reid Mawdsley, Justin Yau, Dan Pyle and Josh King all appeared.Jamie Stephens, who stepped up to Minor Counties cricket in 2016

Stephens, who has been an excellent captain of the Devon Lions over the past two seasons, won this year's Devon Lions' player of the year award.

Convincing wins over Somerset, Gloucestershire and a Cornwall XI showed belief and skilled performances under pressure. The other games against Warwickshire, Dorset and University of Exeter were great opportunities for players to show off their talents against good opposition.

Thank-you again to the clubs who offered their facilities to host these important fixtures.

Reviewing the position after the 2016 season, we agreed to enhance our commitment to educating and preparing the players about physical conditioning and reaffirming its importance. We are very fortunate to have Oli Whitton, leading the strength and conditioning side of the Devon Lions set-up.

In 2017, we will be looking to work closer with Tolchards Devon Cricket League clubs to maintain the progression of the emerging players in that environment and also to identify additional players who have the potential to represent the county at the highest level. This is not restricted just to the Premier or A Division clubs. It is vitally important emerging players use their Saturday cricket to press claims for selection in the Devon Lions.

A big thank-you to the support team who respond to the needs of the individuals and challenge the players to be the best they can. This volunteer team take their rewards from seeing the players' performances improve and for some progress into the senior side.

The close season programme had to adapt with so many players being overseas or at universities too far away from the South West. A series of one-to-one sessions with local Devon Lions' players were held at the Devon Cricket Centre, together with weekly physical conditioning sessions.

We have an exciting summer programme of fixtures in 2017 and again welcome the whole Devon cricket family to come and support the hungriest and most talented young players, who will represent the county and wear the lion with pride.

Tim Western