Premier preview: Exeter hand debut to spinner Middleton + Acton back for Bradninch + Home games crucial says Hatherleigh skip

Ross Acton - back for Bradninch against Heathcoat
Ross Acton - back for Bradninch against Heathcoat

HEATHCOAT want to build on their win over Sidmouth in the derby clash with Bradninch.

Back-to-back wins over Hatherleigh and Sidmouth have hoisted Heathcoat to third in the table.

Can they make it three out of three and put pressure in the top two? Skipper Peter Randerson hopes so.

“Saturday will be a big test for us,” said Randerson.

“After winning well the previous week we have been known not to be ruthless and keep the pressure on sides.

“We lost to Bradninch twice last year and will be looking for get one back on them.”

One change of personnel is necessary as Jack Dart is watching Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership final.Missing - Jack Dart

“With the dry weather this week we are going to go with Jack Menheneott (unavailable last Saturday) as an extra spinner. 

Bradninch, aiming to avoid a third straight defeat welcome back bowling all-rounder Ross Acton but lose Will Greig.

Bradninch captain Gary Chappell knows in-form Heathcoat will be a handful.

“Heathcoat have won their last two games so will be full of confidence,” said Chappell.

“From our perspective we need to bat better and field better.

“We need batters to start getting big scores as we haven't got anywhere close to our potential yet. I am at the top of the list!”

“We need match-winning contributions, not 20s and 30s.”

HATHERLEIGH entertain Sidmouth looking to get back on track after two successive Premier Division defeats.

Last time out the Premier new boys lost by four wickets at Exmouth, who chased down 199 to win with more than 15 overs to spare.

After two road trips on the trot, Lake is looking forward to being back at home.

“I think our home games are vital this season so we will be looking for a big performance,” he said.

Opening bowler Dan Fogerty will return having missed the Exmouth game to go on a rugby tour to Belgium with Okehampton.

Sidmouth are without keeper-batter Rob Powell so Tom Wainwright come in.

Half-term week means Devon batter Liam Lewis is available. He replaces the unavailable Elliot Rice.

Former 2nd XI captain Declan Lines has now returned from Australia. Having had an outing in the T20 wins over Torquay and Paignton on Sunday, he goes straight into the side.

THE pressure is on Bovey Tracey to get a result in the basement battle at Sandford.

Bovey are already 14 points adrift at the bottom of the table after losing to previously winless Plymouth last time out.

Toby Codd’s men have to go past Sandford to get out of the bottom two, which is why the game is so important.

“It goes without saying it's a huge week for us - a must-win game,” said Codd.

Kelly College student Abraham Kopparambil, newly arrived from Ivybridge, comes in for his debut.

Kopparambil is highly rated by Devon’s youth management, prompting Codd to say: “He looks a real prospect for the future.”

Runs – or the lack of them – are preying on the mind of Sandford captain Richard Foan.

In three games so far they have scored 209-5 (v Exeter), 146-9 (v Bradninch) and 186 (v Sidmouth). The only win was by a handul of runs over Bradninch.

“We need to score more runs," said Foan.

“Lots of players are getting starts we need to go on and score big scores.

“Last season in the A Division 200 would have been enough most weeks, but as we have found out this year it's not!”

Batter Chris Jelley has a knee injury and is replaced by Shaun Hawkins.

“Shaun scored 117 against Newton Tracey in the North Devon League on Sunday, hopefully he can do the same against Bovey,” said Foan.

NORTH Devon can’t afford to rest on their laurels when Exeter pay a visit to the Sandhills on Saturday.

Matt Westaway’s side got off the mark at the third attempt with a hefty 132-run win over Bradninch.

Ed Middleton - set to make his debut for Exeter against North DevonAussie all-rounder Isherwood slammed an unbeaten 112 for North Devon, sharing a stand of 119 for the third wicket with Dan Bowser (75) in a total of 296 for six.

Man of the match Isherwood then took four wickets for 12 runs as Bradninch, softened up by Jamie Overton (3-19) were bowled out for 137.

It was a convincing performance over a side who finished second in the Premier Division last season, but have not picked up where they left off.

Westaway suspects second-placed Exeter, with three wins to their name, will be a lot tougher.

“Exeter are on form so the guys are ready for a tough encounter,” said Westaway.

“The weather is set fair so I anticipate a good deck and a high-scoring game.

“Jamie is unavailable so it will be interesting to see how Josh King goes as he is still recovering from shoulder surgery.”

Exeter welcome back early order batsman Rob Holman and hand a debut to leg-spinner Ed Middleton.

Middleton, a first-team cricketer at King’s College in Taunton, previously played for Clyst St George – parent club of Somerset and England U19  all-rounder Ben Green.

Alex Barrow, the Exeter skipper, said Middleton has been keen to test himself at a higher level.

“He spoke to me a couple of times over the winter about joining and I am looking forward to seeing how he goes,” said Barrow.

Middleton topped the bowling averages for the Devon U16 side in 2017.

ELSEWHERE in the top flight, leaders Exmouth go to Plymouth, who got off the mark for the season last Saturday by beating Bovey Tracey.

Former Somerset and Surrey all-rounder James Burke was at a wedding last Saturday, but is available to face Exmouth.

“Exmouth will be tough, but we feel like we have got the players to get the job done,” said Plymouth skipper Jon Varcoe.