Tomorrow's Tolchards DCL Premier Division previews
EXMOUTH go into the game against Paignton on the Maer looking to bounce back from their defeat at North Devon.
Bovey Tracey cashed in on defeats for chasers Exmouth and Bradninch to open up 22-point lead at the top.
Skipper Richard Baggs is back at Exmouth’s helm having missed the defeat at North Devon due to a holiday. Back too is fit-again batter Chris Metters.
Missing are keeper Sandy Allen, hitter Jon Evennett and all-rounder Billy Rudolph.
Louis Morison, Exmouth’s highly rated young wicketkeeper, comes in behind the stumps to make his debut as cover for Allen.
Paignton lost by 23 runs when the sides last met and all the signs are it will be another close encounter.
Paignton ended a losing streak by defeating defending champions Sidmouth last time out.
“It will be a tough game this weekend, Exmouth are near the top of the table for a reason,” said Paignton captain Richard Ashworth.
“Last week was a great result for us and this weekend is all about building on that performance.
“We had a very close game with them last time and I’m expecting another.”
FORM side Torquay can’t wait to have a crack at table-topping Bovey Tracey down by the seaside.
Last Saturday’s win at Bradninch was the fifth on the trot for Torquay – the best run of any team in the top flight.
“We've built up some great momentum and we are looking forward to hosting the leaders,” said skipper Justin Yau.
“We have nothing to lose and nothing to fear so we will go into the game trying to make it six on the bump.
“We know Bovey Tracey are a good, all-round side and we look forward to another good battle.
“Really looking forward to a run of four games out of five at home now.”
Batter George Allen misses out as he is at a wedding. James McMurray comes in for him.
Bovey Tracey defeated Torquay under Duckworth-Lewis rules when the sides met earlier in the season.
That result means little or nothing now, according to Bovey captain Peter Bradley.
“Torquay will be confident with five on the trot - and will be a different side from the game at Bovey,” said Bradley.
“Mitch Pugh is now scoring runs and their overseas (Cody Gertze) looks a good player with bat and ball.
“We just need to keep doing what we have been doing, which is enjoying playing for each other, but also being selfish when we bat.
Four of our top five have scored tons this season – and five guys have scored more than 200 runs. That's the difference for us from last year!
“Our bowling has always been strong, but we must keep bowling to our game.”
PLYMOUTH skipper Sam Stein wants to continued the progress show in the win over Heathcoat in the inter-city clash with Exeter on the County Ground.
Plymouth moved off the bottom by beating Heathcoat and sent their opponents there instead.
They still have to get out of the bottom two though, which means getting past North Devon and Exeter.
“It is a big game for both sides wanting to climb higher in the table,” said Plymouth captain Stein.
“We are hoping to get another win under our belts after a good win last weekend.”
Exeter are without skipper Miles Lenygon due to work issues – and have other selection headaches to grapple with.
“It is a big game against a decent side and it will no doubt be tough to win,” said Lenygon.
Plymouth’s one team change is Jon Kerridge out and Jake Luffman in.
NORTH Devon visit Heathcoat in another game with impact on the fight for survival.
North Devon’s win over Exmouth stopped them dropping into any more trouble, but their 16-point safety net isn’t a lot.
Ed Yeo, the North Devon captain, is under no illusions how important the game is.
“We will be a couple missing which will make it tough game against a side that will see it as a must-win game,” said North Devon skipper Ed Yeo. “We will have to be at our best.”
Yeo must have been reading opposite number Pete Randerson’s texts.
“Saturday is huge for us,” said Randerson. “Loose and we are in a tricky spot. Win and we are right be in the hunt.
“It is about time we put to bed the issues we've had and show the Premier Division we mean business.”
Heathcoat are strengthened in the bowling department by the inclusion of Tommy Sturgess, who played one game earlier in the season to ensure he was eligible after the transfer deadline passed.
Sturgess, who has been studying at Wellington School, has played for Cornwall.
“Tommy playing for us for the rest of the season is a big boost,” said Randerson.
BRADNINCH, away to Sidmouth, are keen to get back on the bike after their pursuit of top two Bovey and Exmouth was slowed by a 72-run defeat by Torquay.
Defeat hasn’t cost Bradninch third place in the table, but does leave them 29 points behind leaders Bovey Tracey.
Said Chappell: “If we have any hope of pushing Bovey then this is a must win, and to be honest so are all remaining games.
“It may seem a tad unrealistic but we're a positive, ambitious side and a challenge makes us play better.
“Last Saturday was a disappointment and we want to return to winning ways and continue pushing at the top.
“Sidmouth won't be an easy game as they're a very good side, particularly at home, and will be looking to bounce back after last weeks loss.
“The Fortfield a great ground and games like this are the reason why we play cricket.
“We're at full strength so there can be no excuses.”