Chris Read returns to Devon side after 20 years in First Class game

Chris Read - playing for Devon against Shropshire
Chris Read - playing for Devon against Shropshire

FORMER England wicketkeeper Chris Read is set to play for Devon again – 20 years after he last represented his home county.

Read’s name jumps out of the Devon team sheet for the three-day Unicorn’s County Championship game against Shropshire starting at Sandford on Sunday.

Read, who is 39 next month, is coming to the end of a long career with Nottinghamshire. He is retiring at the end of the season and taking up a post as director of cricket at Uppingham School in Rutland.

Chris Read with his winner's memento after helping Paignton to victory over Totnes in the 1993 Brockman Cup finalBefore embarking on a career than included more than 50 appearances for England in all formats of the game, 600-plus games for Notts and skippering Notts to success in the County Championship and two Lord’s limited overs finals, Read played for Paignton and Devon.

Read’s last appearance for Devon was in the 1997 Minor Counties Championship play-off game at Dunstable against Bedfordshire.

A stand of 78 between Read and Keith Donohue in a low-scoring game set Devon on course for victory and a place in the Minor Counties record books.

Devon won by 76 runs to claim the Minor Counties title for the fourth year running. No county before or since has won four successive titles.

Donohue is now Devon’s director of cricket having retired from Minor Counties action in 2000.

When Read expressed an interest in playing for Devon, Donohue had no hesitation putting him in the 13.

It may seem at first glance a sentimental request by Read, but Donohue said it was nothing of the sort.

“Chris is still captain of Notts’ County Championship side through to the end of the season and takes the responsibility very seriously,” said Donohue.

“The counties are going through their T20 phase at the moment and Chris no longer plays in that for Notts.

“”There are County Championship games later in August and through September, which Chris wants to be in good shape for.

“Playing for us means he can keep wicket and bat in a competitive environment during the break in the First Class season.

“The way the fixtures fall, Chris can play for us in this game and against Berkshire at Exeter in two weeks.”

Devon have made a number of changes to the side that defeated Wiltshire at Salisbury last time out.

In come Read, who will keep wicket which allows Matt Thompson to concentrate on his batting, opener Liam Lewis, paceman Hugo Whitlock and Exeter’s England U19 all-rounder Tom Lammonby.

Seamer Dan Goodey and middle-order batter Joe Thompson have been left out of the expanded pool of players for the game.

Whitlock (side strain) and Heathcoat batter Jack Dart (knee) will need to prove their fitness for a three-day game before the side is finalised.

Devon (from): T P P Ansell (North Devon), L J Lewis (Sidmouth), M W Thompson (St Fagans), C M W Read (Notts), J J Bess (Sidmouth), J F S Dart (Heathcoat), Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), M C Golding (Bovey Tracey), T A Lammonby (Exeter), H M Whitlock, T J R Codd (both Bovey Tracey), J A Stephens (Falmouth), J V King (North Devon).