Devon in the wars at Sherborne as injuries take their toll

Three of a kind - The Bess brothers Zak, Luke and Josh, who are playing for Devon against Dorset


DEVON’s dressing room bore more than a passing resemblance a casualty ward well before day one drew to a soggy close at Sherborne.

When rain stopped play mid-afternoon halfway through the 61st over, Dorset were 220 for two with Tom Arnold unbeaten on 104.

Devon were fielding with ten at the time – including 53-year-old director of cricket Keith Donohue, who was down at fine-leg in borrowed whites.

The day started badly when Zak Bess was called into work at short notice, meaning 12th man Toby Codd was on the field from the start.

Dorset skipper Chris Park sportingly agreed Codd could fill in before Bess arrived, which more than two hours into the game.

By the time Bess arrived to join brothers Josh and Luke on the field, Donohue was already on. Spin bowler Matt Golding had slipped bowling his first ball and was on the players’ balcony with a bag of peas on a badly sprained ankle.

Jack Popham didn’t last much longer. He sprinted down the hill into bowl, only to pull a hamstring and collapse in a heap on the square. With Codd deployed as sub, Devon still had 11 on the field.

Casualty number three was Dan Pyle, who pulled a quad muscle. By now all the frozen peas were in use so he had to find a bin liner and pack it with ice to relieve the pain.

Popham has no chance of reappearing in the game. Golding and Pyle are the wrong side of 50-50.

Donohue will probably bring in reinforcements for days two and three to avoid having to field himself.

The problem for Devon will be finding short-notice stand-ins who won’t bat or bowl.

“It’s not going to be easy as people are at work and can’t just drop what they are doing to make up the numbers in a cricket match,” said Donohue.

“It looks like we will need at least one player, possibly two, but won’t know that until the morning.

“Jack is out for five or six weeks by the looks of it. We will have to see how Dan and Matt are.”

All three hobbling wounded are bowlers, which left Devon’s resources depleted.

While the going was good there was an early breakthrough when skipper Josh Bess had Dorset opener Gordon Whorlow caught behind.

Second-wicket pair Josh Digby and Arnold put on 177 either side of lunch, although they had some luck along the way. All the seamers found the edge or prompted false shots, but balls refused to go to hand.

The bowling deficit meant a rare spell for Jack Dart, whose swing bowling is seldom seen at Minor Counties level.

Digby had never seen it before and when he got the one that went away second ball he poked it straight to skipper Josh Bess at mid-off.

Digby’s 70 came off 115 balls and contained seven fours.

Weather permitting – the forecast isn’t good – play will start at 10.30am today and can continue until 7.30pm.

Devon had three debutants in the side: Luke Bess, Alex Barrow and Hugo Whitlock. The inclusion of Bess meant Devon fielded a Championship side with three brothers in it for the first time.

Dorset 220-2 (T P Arnold 104 no, J G Digby 70). Rain stopped play.