Devon have to beat Oxfordshire to stay in running for Trophy KO stages

Rob Woodman - back in Devon

DEVON can’t afford another slip-up when they play Oxfordshire at Sidmouth on Sunday (11am) as the group stage of the Unicorns Trophy reaches round three.

A 44-run defeat against Berkshire at Henley two weeks ago has left Devon third in the five-team Group One table.

Berkshire are unbeaten at the top after two matches with Dorset level on four points but from three games.

Devon and Oxfordshire have one win each, but Devon hold a game in hand on Oxfordshire, who are definitely out if they lose on Sunday

Keith Donohue, Devon’s director of cricket, said nothing less than a win will do at Sidmouth to stay in the competition.

“It is hard to qualify with less than three wins so we know what we have to do on Sunday,” said Donohue.

“We will still have to beat Cornwall at Werrington next week, but if we lose this one that will be a dead rubber.”

Devon didn’t always meet Donohue’s expectations at Henley, although he would be first to admit his standards are high. Some improvements are necessary.

“It is easy on the sideline to be critical as you sometimes see a bigger picture of the game,” said Donohue.

“In fairness to our lads they were up against a good team, but having said that we should have made a better fist of chasing a target below five an over.

“We still might not have won as Berkshire had a powerful attack, but were should have done better than we did.”

Donohue has sketched out a squad of 14 for Sunday’s game, but won’t know until later in the week who will be playing.

Ben Green, Dom Bess and Tom Lammonby could be required by Somerset, although they are unlikely to withdraw all three and Finlay Trenouth’s first claim is to Millfield School.

Batter Alex Barrow is still recovering from an ankle injury and may not be fit to play. Bowling all-rounder Zak Bess is still out with a side strain that prevents him bowling.

Gone from last Sunday’s starting side are keeper-batter Matt Thompson and middle-order batsman Jack Dart.

Rob Woodman is added to the squad and will bat up the order.

Jack Popham’s seven-wicket haul for North Devon against Exmouth may have proved his fitness after a collarbone injury, but didn’t early him a recall to the side.

“It is probably a week too early to be bringing Jack back, but it is good to see him taking wickets for North Devon again,” said Donohue.

Dan Wolf, who featured in the side last season, hit 72 for Paignton at Sidmouth last Saturday in a league game.

Wolf was considered but university exams prevented him playing.

Devon  (from): J J Bess (Sidmouth), R J Woodman (Taunton Deane), L J Lewis (Sidmouth), A W B Barrow (Exeter), F R Trenouth (Millfield), M C Golding (Bovey Tracey), B G F Green, T A Lammonby, D M Bess (all Exeter), D R Pyle (Exmouth), S Barlow (Sidmouth), H M Whitlock (Bovey Tracey), D J Goodey (Plymouth), J A Stephens (Falmouth).