Exeter hit with five-point deduction over Sargent transfer error

Bob Dawson, who returns to the Exmouth side

EXETER have some ground to make up when they travel to Plymouth this Saturday after a first-round game against Bovey Tracey they will want to forget.

Not only did Exeter lose by five wickets, the batting and bonus bowling points they earned in defeat have been wiped off the record.

Exeter have been hit with a five-point penalty by the league for playing Harvey Sargent, who was still registered with Sidmouth.

Sargent’s move from the Fortfield to the County Ground has been widely reported – and Exeter believed the paperwork was all in order. It wasn’t.

Glenn Lammonby, the director of cricket, said: “We thought everything had been done by the book and are trying to get to the bottom of what happened.”

The consequence of the deduction is Exeter are bottom of the table on nil points, a situation they will want to change sharpish.

Plymouth skipper Sam Stein hopes lessons learned the hard way in the defeat by Heathcoat will be taken on board against Exeter.

“We have looked at what went wrong last weekend and are hoping to implement that this weekend.

I just hoping that the weather holds as it doesn't look too great.

“We are hoping to ensure that we make Mount Wise a hard place to come too and win.

“We are all looking to get that first win on the board.”

Veteran seamer Dave Burke, now re-training in the arts of spin, comes in for Tom Hughes.

BOVEY Tracey skipper Peter Bradley may be tempted to make changes for the visit of Torquay.

Although he has the same 11 available who won at Exeter, there are players knocking on the door.

We have the same 11 available from last Saturday

Charlie Sheen, Tom Andrew and Ben Ayres are all available and Zimbabwean international all-rounder Luke Jongwe may arrive in time to play.

“There will be some tough decisions to be made,” agreed Bradley.

Torquay crushed Bradninch first time out by 186 runs, but are unlikely to do the same to Bovey.

Bovey’s record against Torquay in recent seasons isn’t great and Bradley has a healthy respect for them.

“Torquay will be a tough game,” said Bradley.

“They have signed some decent players, have three good spinners and a couple of medium pacers, that I'm sure will look to keep things tight.

“Mitch Pugh is a good batsman and Joe Thompson can be dangerous.

“George Allen scored a ton last week, but I haven't seen him before.”

Bradley said Bovey would carry on doing what they have ben doing.

“We just need to keep the enjoyment up and improve from last week,” said Bradley.

“We are trying to create a fun but productive environment.

“That starts with specific midweek training session, that everyone is buying into.”

Torquay will be unchanged, which means no signs yet of their South African Cody Gertze or Glamorgan Academy prospect Kasi Szymanski.

 “Cody and Kazi are a couple of weeks away ,which will strengthen us when they become available but I have lots of faith in the XI we have at the moment,” said skipper Justin Yau.

“Everyone scored runs, took wickets and fielded well which was a great effort considering we had no pre-season games.

“We want to start well as we know how tough this division is.

“Bovey we know it will be a much sterner test than Bradninch.

“They had a great result at Exeter last week and we are looking forward to a good battle.”

EXMOUTH are set to welcome back former Devon captain Bob Dawson and seamer Alvin Pollard for Saturday’s trip to Paignton.

Dawson and Pollard both missed the 100-run win over North Devon that opened the season, as did captain Richard Baggs whose back went into spasm.

Dawson and Pollard will replace Chris Metters and Jack England respectively, With George Greenway absent this week, Baggs will return if fit. If not expect Jon Evernett to feature.

Callum French led the side in Baggs’ absence last week, a probable sign of things to come next season.

Although Exmouth won quite easily, French felt there was room for improvement.

“We should have scored more runs against North Devon, which is someting we need to look at,” said French.

“At 140-odd for one with 15 overs to go and wickets in the shed, we should have been up around 230-240.

“It turned out 203 was a winning score this time, but it won’t be in future.”

Paignton have a lot to live up to after winning at defending champions Sidmouth last Saturday.

“Last week was a fantastic result for us and the best possible way to start our season back in the Premier,” said captain Richard Ashworth.

“There is still a lot to improve on especially with our fielding.

“Exmouth will be a very different game I'm sure. They have a lot of experience in their side and are coming off the back of a convincing win against North Devon, so we know it is going to be a tough.

“We've taken a lot of confidence from last week and want to follow that up with another good performance.

“Having Stephen George back is a real bonus. His ability to tie up an end and take wickets in the middle overs is invaluable to us.”

Oli Higgs is away due to university exams and Connor Ashworth is out injured. In come Stephen George and Aaron Hearn.

SIDMOUTH go to Bradninch still smarting from a hefty seven-wicket defeat by Paignton.

Captains all round the Premier Division were tipping defending champions Sidmouth as favourites to win a third title in four years before a ball was bowled in anger.

There may be a rethink after Paignton dismissed Sidmouth for 177 – George Benton and George Yates the destroyers with the ball – then knocked off the runs with more than two overs to spare.

Half-centuries from opener Noah Wright and Dan Wolf (72) underpinned Paignton’s win.

Beaten captain Luke Bess said of the three elements of the game – batting, bowling and fielding – Sidmouth were only up to scratch in one.

“We batted poorly and when we bowled we missed about five chances,” said Bess.

“You are never going defend 170 when fielding that poorly.

“We bowled okay, but that was irrelevant with no back-up from fielders.”

On the game coming up, Bess said: “Bradnich, like us, did not start the season as they had hoped, and I am sure both teams will be turning up with a point to prove.”

HEATHCOAT make the short trip to North Devon on Saturday keen to build on their opening day win over Plymouth.

Jon Varcoe top scored with 75 not out in Plymouth’s total of 190 for eight – which Heathcoat knocked off with more than 15 of their 50 overs to spare.

Seamer Matt Hague – two for 40 against Plymouth – is missing at North Devon and replaced by James Onley-Gregson, who was on the Ten Tors Expedition last Saturday.

Dart has university exams on his timetable so Simon Sobczak steps in.

“Simon has been injured for a couple of weeks,” said skipper Peter Randerson. He bats sensibly and is as good  fielder as you will come across.”

North Devon spinner Matt Dart is out due to an elbow injury. Rob Ayre comes in as an extra batter.

“It is the same problem I had last season, a possible torn tendon on my left elbow,” said Dart.