Exmouth aiming to trim Bovey's lead at the top + Torquay going for four on the trot

Matt Parker - back in the Bradninch attack against Heathcoat
Matt Parker - back in the Bradninch attack against Heathcoat

SECOND-placed Exmouth can make inroads into Bovey Tracey’s lead at the top by beating them on the Maer.

Bovey top the table on 140 points after their win over Heathcoat last time out. Exmouth are 22 points behind following their 105-run win over Plymouth.

Bovey captain Pete Bradley is respectful of Exmouth as opposition, but not afraid of them either.

“Exmouth are hitting big runs, but if our bowlers perform, it should be a different level for them,” said Bradley.

“Win or lose we will be top of the table, at the half way stage.

“We are surprised but very happy to be in the position we are in.

“We go into the game confident but know where we need to improve.”

Richard Baggs, the Exmouth captain, was equally bullish about his side’s prospects.

“Bovey are top of the table for a reason, but if we play to our ability we will win,” said Baggs.

“I will admit Bovey do have a very good, all-round bowling attack, but we are scoring a lot of runs. Let’s see what happens shall we?”

Batters Andy Fairbairn and Josh Mailling come back in for Bovey. Dan Green and Charlie Sheen drop down to the 2nd XI.

Also in is Chris Yabsley, an up-and-coming off-spinner taking wickets cheaply in the second team.

Fitting in - Torquay's South African star Cody Gertze“He's a great talent and we are all pleased for him to come in to the team for a top-of-the-table clash,” said Bradley.

Jon Evernett replaces the honeymooning Chris Metters for Exmouth.

TORQUAY skipper Justin Yau wants to see more of the fighting spirit that earned a win over Paignton when North Devon visit the Rec.

Paignton seemed to be cruising to victory before a four-wicket burst from Mitch Pugh swung it Torquay’s way. They won by nine runs.

“We showed great fight last week and hopefully we can make it four from four,” said Yau.

Torquay were hit and miss in the first month of the season, but reach the halfway stage fifth in the table.

“Players are starting to take responsibility well and understanding their individual roles better, which has had a big impact on our recent run," said Yau.

“Cody Gertze has settled in well, which has been a big help, and George Allen is scoring runs for fun. Hopefully he can keep going and break through to the county set up.”

PAIGNTON go to Exeter looking to get over the defeat by Torquay.

“Obviously last week was massively disappointing, but we are still playing good cricket,” said skipper Richard Ashworth.

“This weekend is all about trying to finish the first half of the season with a positive result.”

Seamer George Yates is away at a concert this weekend.

“We're hoping  (all-rounder) Rob Shergold will be fit for but he is doubtful at the moment,” said Ashworth.

Exeter are third from bottom on 87 points, 11 clear of the relegation places.

SIDMOUTH host Plymouth fresh from handing out a 172-run hiding to North Devon.

North Devon skipper Ed Yeo tipped Sidmouth to win the Premier Division after the game, which is some prediction for a side 42 points behind the leaders.

Sidmouth heard that sort of stuff at the start of the season when rival captains predicted the 2016 champions would walk the league.

Skipper Luke Bess was unconvinced then and nothing has changed.

“Its nice to have that said, but it doesn't mean anything,” said Bess. “We need to focus on our cricket.”

Josh Bess returns to the side with his brother and captain saying: “We will be looking to build on a good team performance last week.”

Plymouth need a win in a hurry to start climbing away from the red zone.

Fahad Ali is in holiday so left-arm spinner Dave Burke is in. Rob Bennett out and Joe Hagan-Burt replaces him.

“Sidnouth, away, will be a tough game as always and they have climbed up the table as expected.

“We need to take our chances this week and put in a good account of ourselves.”Ross Acton - back for Bradninch

HEATHCOAT and Bradninch go into the derby clash at Knightshayes looking in opposite directions.

Bradninch are looking up the table after consolidating third place following their 39-run win over Exeter last time out.

“I am really happy with how we've been playing and hopefully it'll continue this week,” said Ninch skipper Gary Chappell.

“We're looking up rather than down as that positive approach has served us well so far, but we're well aware things can change quickly given how tight the league is.

“Heathcoat are a dangerous side and I'm surprised with their league position.

“They've got some handy players and I'm sure they'll be putting in better performances in future weeks.

Heathcoat are anxiously looking behind them as they are one of the bottom in a division with two relegation places. They don’t want to stay there long.

Heathcoat’s 40-run defeat by leaders Bovey Tracey left them without a win since beating Torquay on the last Saturday in May.

“I love the Premier Division this year,” said Heathcoat captain Peter Randerson.

“It is the most exciting it's been for a number of years, but it is time to win some games of cricket.”

Heathcoat are boosted by the return of batter Sam Smith and bowler Matt Hodson. Jack Menheneott should return in the spin department and Gill Crouch has finished university, which adds to the seam bowling options.

Bradninch are without Dan Hardy, Tim Piper and Matt Parker. Ross Acton is back and Charlie Walker plays again having reappeared against Exeter for the first time in three years.