Premier previews: Bovey 'fear no one' says skipper Codd + Lammonby back for Exeter
SIDMOUTH go into Saturday’s game against Bovey Tracey on the Fortfield as the latest leaders of Premier Division after beating Exeter by three wickets.
Six games into the season Hatherleigh and Exmouth, Exeter and now Sidmouth have all taken turns at the top of the table.
Exeter were top until Sidmouth chased down 166 to win on the County Ground last time out.
Sidmouth’s run chase wasn’t without its problems – they were three for five in the third over – but opener Josh Bess batted on and on for a match-winning half-century.
Victory allowed Sidmouth to slip past Exeter at the top of the table, but only by a point.
Bovey have won two on the trot, a point not lost on Sidmouth skipper Luke Bess.
“Bovey are gaining a bit of momentum so expecting another tough game,” said Bess.
Bess is probably right to be wary of Bovey judging by the noises from their camp.
“The teams on a real high after the last few weeks and we go into this game with no fear at all,” said skipper Toby Codd.
Devon all-rounder Zak Bess, home from work in East Anglia for the weekend, comes in to strengthen the Sidmouth side.
Bovey Tracey call-up 2nd XI skipper Jeremy Christophers – 52 this year and still going strong – as a replacement for spinner Chris Bradley.
“Jerry is a quality and experienced bowler who I back to do a great job for us,” said Codd.
Exeter, at home to Bradninch this Saturday, are keen to get back to winning ways before Sidmouth start pulling away from them.
Glenn Lammonby, the chairman of selectors, said: “People will say we lost because our top three (Barrow, Green, Holman) didn’t come off, but we are a better side than that.
“Our batting has a fair bit of depth, but for one game it didn’t come through.
“There is only one point in it and when the margins are that tight things can change quite quickly.”
Lammonby’s son Tom should be back on duty for Exeter against Bradninch now he has completed his A-level exams.
Bradninch have lingering issues with their bowling attack, which are a worry for captain Gary Chappell.
“We are going into this weekend light on bowling, which isn't ideal when up against the best top order in the league,” said Chappell.
“We have a few injuries and a couple unavailable and Eliot Acton is unlikely to be fit to bowl as well.
“It will be a tough game but it’s a great opportunity for others to put in good performances and stake a claim.”
Exmouth skipper Richard Baggs is anxious to avoid a third straight defeat when his side host Sandford.
Back-to-back defeats by Exeter and Bovey Tracey have dropped former leaders Exmouth to fourth in the table.
Bob Dawson, Billy Rudolph and Pete Turnbull all return, which strengthens the side in both departments.
Jon Evernett is not available and there are 2nd XI stints for George Greenway and vice-captain Callum French.
“It is great to have more options with both bat and ball,” said Baggs.
“We have had a couple bad results but still plenty of time to get back into it starting this week.”
On the decision to drop his number two, Baggs said: “He needs a good bat and get some runs under his belt.
“I have no doubt he will do exactly that and be straight back into 1st XI and playing well.”
Baggs skippered Sandford to three Premier titles in a previous incarnation and will be playing against a couple of survivors from those days in the early 2000s.
Opposite number Richard Foan, one of the survivors from that era, is looking forward to running into Baggs and ex-team-mate David Lye.
The reminiscing will have to wait until after the match though as bottom side Sandford have a game to win first after losing to North Devon last week cast them 10 points adrift at the bottom.
“Obviously we know they have some very dangerous players and we will have to play well to get anything from the game,” said Foan.
“Last week was the best we have bowled all year hopefully put on a similar display and put some pressure on them after a couple of average performances.”
HATHERLEIGH skipper Mark Lake has targeted struggling Plymouth as a must-win game this Saturday.
Plymouth dropped into the bottom two after losing to North Devon last time out – and Hatherleigh are only two places and six points ahead of them.
On paper it looks a big game as Plymouth down and around us,” said Lake.
“It is at home so I'm targeting nothing less than a win.”
All-rounder Imran Philander is not available this Saturday so Niall Leahy comes in.
NORTH Devon are going for three in a row when they make the short trip down the link road to Heathcoat.
Back-to-back wins over Plymouth and Sandford have lifted North Devon out of immediate danger at the bottom of the table and up to fifth in the table of ten.
Skipper Matt Westaway feels the corner might have been turned after a poor start that yielded just one win in four games.
“The side has got through two very close games and the feeling around the team is very positive.
“Heathcoat, at their place, will be a tough prospect but we're ready for the challenge.”
Opener Dan Bowser will miss the game due to a thumb injury and Westaway isn’t around as he is on holiday. Tom Popham will lead the side.
Until mid-morning today (Friday) it seemed Heathcoat would be facing Somerset pair Craig and Jamie Overton.
Jamie has since dropped out as he is required for an ECB XI squad.
Heathcoat will be missing opening bowler Louis Stephenson, but gain prolific spin bowler Jack Menheneott.