Devon ask Foan to skipper Lions against Gloucestershire 2nd XI

Dan Pyle - doubtful for the Lions against Gloucestershire 2nd XI

DEVON Lions return to action after a lengthy break with a 50-over friendly against Gloucestershire 2nd XI at Heathcoat on Sunday.

Richard Foan as a young Devon player in 2003The Lions, Devon’s development side, haven’t played since they ran into the University of Exeter in a pre-season game on the County Ground back in mid-April.

It didn’t go well for the Lions last time out as the Students thrashed them by 248 runs after piling up 342 for four.

The Lions is a development squad and setbacks are part of the learning curve.

Devon and Gloucestershire have had close links for years with players going in both directions between the counties.

Jack Davey and David Shepherd had long careers with Gloucestershire after learning the ropes in Devon’s Minor Counties side.

Graeme Parker, an ex-Gloucestershire player, captained Devon in the 1950s after taking a teaching job at Blundell’s School.

More recently, Bob Dawson, Matt Hunt and Ryan Horrell have all spent time on the staff at Bristol – and Jack Gibbs is part of the current academy programme.

The head coach at Gloucestershire is former England off-spinner Richard Dawson, who played for Exmouth and Devon while studying at the University of Exeter in 1999-2000.

Sandford captain Richard Foan, a Devon regular between 2002-08, will skipper the side the Lions.Matt Hunt  - one of the many Devon players talent spotted by Gloucs

The management have used the captaincy as part of the learning process in the past, but have had a change of tack this season.

“Richard is a strong competitor who will bring out the best in the players and maintain the high standards we set ourselves within the Devon Lions set-up,” said coaching director Tim Western.

“We wanted to bring in an experienced player who has represented the county in the past and is still playing in the Devon Cricket League.

“Importantly, this will allow the emerging players to concentrate on their own performance.”

Devon have named a 13-man squad for the game, although there will be a change if Dan Pyle drops out due to a groin-type injury sustained in the Minor Counties game against Dorset earlier this week.

Only five of the players in the squad – Joe Thompson, Matt Skeemer, Tom Ansell, George Benton  and Hal Kerton – have not played for Devon in either one or three-day cricket in the past.

“It is very positive that we can select a team of this quality on the same day the senior side has a knockout cup quarter-final and the under-17s are playing Worcestershire,” said Western.

“As always this fixture provides players with an excellent opportunity to seek their claims for selection in the Minor Counties side, where there is undoubtedly competition for places.”

Devon (from): R J Foan (Sandford), T P P Ansell (North Devon), D J Wolf (Paignton), R A Mawdsley (Heathcoat), J W Y L Yau (Torquay), H J Kerton (Plymouth), D J Pyle (Exmouth), M J Petherbridge (Torquay), D J Goodey (Plymouth), T R J Codd (Bovey), J E Thompson (Torquay), M P Skeemer (Cornwood), G Benton (Paignton).