Devon have steelier look to batting for Cheshire clash at Sidmouth

Matt Thompson - back for the game against Cheshire

DEVON have made four changes to the side beaten by Oxfordshire for the Minor Counties Championship game against Cheshire.

Sidmouth’s Liam Lewis comes in on his home ground to open up having been a peripheral figure in the three-day side last season. He only played one match.

Tom Lammonby, the Exeter all-rounder who bats high for Somerset 2nd XI, is the likely opening partner for Lewis.

Luke Bess and Reid Mawdsley, who opened up against Oxfordshire at Banbury, have been omitted from the team.

Max Curtis, a regular last season but busy with professional exams this year, helped out behind the stumps against Oxfordshire. He makes way for vice-captain Matt Thompson.

Alex Barrow returns – back problems forced him to withdraw from the match against Oxfordshire at short notice – and will go in at first or second wicket down.

Seamer George Benton, who had an encouraging debut against Oxfordshire, is unavailable and replaced in the change-bowling department by Josh King.

Middle-order man Jack Dart remains unavailable as he is following the Lions in New Zealand.

Even without Dart there is a steelier look to the top half of Devon’s batting than was the case at Banbury.

Former Somerset staffer Barrow and Surrey’s James Burke will bat three or four with skipper Josh Bess at five and Thompson at six.

With Matt Golding and Zak Bess at seven and eight – both have Devon centuries on their record – there is depth to the batting. Devon need a bit of that having stuttered to defeat at Oxfordshire when the game was there to be won.

Needing 16 runs to win with five wickets in hand and a session and a half to go, Devon lost four wickets for six runs and a fifth three runs later to hand victory to Oxfordshire by six runs.

Cheshire had a disappointing season by their own high standards last year, finishing fourth from bottom with only two wins, one of the over Devon at Alderley Edge.

Only four members of the Cheshire side that beat Devon will be making the trip to Sidmouth as the management decided to make changes.

Among the faces Devon will run into is that of journeyman pro Wayne White, whose career took him to Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lancashire and back to Leicestershire. He was released by Leicestershire at the end of last season and is currently playing for Leek.

Devon’s first home game of the season is the chance for supporters who haven’t already done so to renew their memberships. A county committeeman will be available on all three days to take care of business.

Members are automatically entered into a draw every month to win a day’s hospitality at a home game.

Unlike previous games at the Fortfield, no parking is available at Sidmouth RFC.

Devon: A W R Barrow, T A Lammonby (both Exeter), L J Lewis (Sidmouth), J E Burke (Guildford), J J Bess (Sidmouth), M W Thompson (St Fagans), M C Golding (Bovey Tracey), Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), J A Stephens (Falmouth), H M Whitlock (Bovey Tracey), J V King (North Devon).

Chesire C Rowe, D N Leech, R A L Moore, W A White, T L Robinson, L F Dixon, W J Evans, J J Williams, O H Freckingham, C J White, D A Woods. 12th man: H J Killoran

Umpires: R C Hampshire & A J Wheeler.