Devon need two wins over Wales to avoid run-rate lottery coming into play

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By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE

DEVON will be aiming for their second semi-final booking of the season on Sunday when they face Wales in a T20 double-header at North Devon CC (11.30am).

A place in the last four of the 50-over Unicorns KO Trophy is already assured after beating holders Berkshire by 22 runs at Sidmouth last Sunday.

Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Wales are all competing for one qualification place from Pool Four in the Unicorns KO Cup, which has reached the final round of qualification games.

Devon are second in pool four behind Dorset, who have already completed their programme.

Two wins over Wales will guarantee Devon top spot, and qualification for finals day in August, irrespective of results elsewhere. Two defeats will rule Devon out completely. 

It gets interesting if Devon win one game and lose the other, a scenario that opens the door for Wales or Cornwall to get ahead of them on run rate.

Cornwall would have to win both their games against winless Wiltshire, which the formbook suggests is highly likely.

It is possible Dorset, Devon and Cornwall could all finish on 10 points, which would mean using run-rate over the course of all eight games in the group to decide who qualifies. If Wales finish on 10 points, and they can, it will mean Devon lost both games and are out of the running.

For the record the run-rates are: Dorset 0.0647, Devon 0.0842, Cornwall 0.5488 and Wales -0.1064.

Keith Donohue, Devon’s director of cricket, said he hoped it could be decided in a more clear-cut way.

“Run rate is a bit of a lottery, but you have to have some way of deciding it if there are two or more teams level,” said Donohue.

“The way to avoid run-rate coming into play is to win both our games, then no one can touch us. That is what we will be aiming to do.

“To do that we have to be in the right frame of mind from ball one to the last ball of the second game.

“Things happen fast in twenty20 cricket and you have to react fast.”

Devon have lost Somerset all-rounder Ben Green (rested) and keeper-batter Matt Thompson from their original 14. Green hasn’t been replaced. Thompson’s spot has gone to Ed Yeo from the host club.

“Ed is a mature cricketer who knows the ground well, who can keep wicket and is capable of getting useful runs lower down the order,” said Donohue.

A notable omission from the squad is Plymouth left-armer Matt Petherbridge, who was a late replacement in the last round of games against, Wiltshire, in which he took eight wickets for 20 runs.

With off-spinner Jamie Stephens fit and able to play again, there was no room in the squad for Petherbridge.

Donohue said it was a tough decision to omit Petherbridge, but should not be seen as a snub.

“Jamie and Toby Codd have proved themselves over a number of games and we can’t take four slow bowlers,” said Donohue.

“It was a tough call to make, especially to a young and ambitious cricketer.

“Matt is a positive lad who, hopefully, can make his mark in future opportunities.”

Devon (from): J J Bess (Sidmouth), A W R Barrow (Exeter), L J Lewis (Heathcoat), T A Lammonby (Exeter), E T Yeo (North Devon), J E Burke (Plymouth), Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), G R Chappell (Bradninch), J E Thompson (Congresbury), T J R Codd (Bovey Tracey), J A Stephens (Falmouth), J R Popham, J V King (both North Devon).

Wales: S W Griffiths, T F Smith, B L Wadlan, G C Holmes, , O M D Kolk, C D Matthews +, R D Edwards, A M T Keane, S J Jardine, D R Lezar, K B Szymanski.

Umpires: P A Smith & A J Wheeler.