Exmouth skipper Baggs drops himself after run of low scores

Dropping down - Exmouth skipper Richard Baggs

EXMOUTH skipper Richard Baggs has dropped himself for the clash with Bradninch on the Maer.

Although Exmouth have won more games than they have lost this season, Baggs hasn’t had much success with the bat

Baggs has only scored 81 runs in visits to the crease this season, the last of which was a two-ball duck against his former club Sandford.

Baggs reckons the last time he played in Exmouth’s 2nd XI was as a 15-year-old youngster in 1989. He feels the time is right for another tour of duty with the IIs.

“I haven’t got a run for a couple of weeks and with everyone available it makes sense drop down, get my head down and make some runs,” said Baggs.

Vice-captain Callum French assisted the 2nd XI against Heathcoat last Saturday and returns after scoring runs and taking wickets.

Exmouth won by a whisker at Sandford and Baggs wants the team to build on that success.

He added: they are always tight games against Bradninch and I am sure they will be getting everyone available to play us.”

Exmouth old boy Gary Chappell, now skipper at Bradninch, probably won’t be as strong as he would like after having a depleted side out at Exeter last Saturday.

“We will be light again as we still a few injuries, but we have Charlie Sheen and Tallan Burns back and hopefully Matt Parker will be available,” said Chappell.

On the challenge of the match, Chappell said: “We've had a healthy rivalry with Exmouth over the last few years with players moving back and forth and had some good games.

“On paper they're very handy, but they do have off days so hopefully it will be one of them.” 

CHASERS Exeter (2nd) and Heathcoat (3rd) meet at Knightshayes in what should be the Premier Division clash of the day.

Exeter will be that much stronger for the return of Somerset duo Tom Lammonby and Ben Green at the top of the order, along with young all-rounder Ed Middleton lower down.

Heathcoat are without opener Liam Lewis, but an unexpected bonus is the appearance of former captain and batter Sam Smith, who has become regularly available.

“We are really excited to play Exeter and are looking forward to a hard game of cricket,” said Heathcoat captain Peter Randerson.

“We will play hard and, win or lose, have a beer after the game.”

HATHERLEIGH skipper Mark Lake has been hit by availability issues for Saturday’s home game against Bovey Tracey.

Batter Gareth Tidball, seamer Dan Fogerty and all-rounder Charlie Nielson are all on holiday.

“With Shebbear College also having a game, I have been left very short,” said Lake.

In come Simon Gillespie, Tom Strawbridge and Adam Quick.

Hatherleigh are hovering on the brink of the Premier Division relegation places after losing by six wickets to fellow strugglers Plymouth.

Defeat left Hatherleigh one place and four points clear of Bradninch, who are in the second relegation place.

Bovey are down in relegation danger with Hatherleigh, which makes their first visit since 1997 a significant one as it is a chance for Lake’s men to get ahead of them.

“Despite the changes I am still looking for a big performance,” said Lake.

“With us being short of some experienced 1st XI players, I hope players will step up a level.

“We will give it a crack and see what happens.”

Bovey, two wins in the last three starts, are only 12 points clear of the drop spots and need to bounce back from a 202-run hiding at Sidmouth.

“It is a huge game and we're wary of the threat that Hatherleigh pose at home,” said Bovey skipper Toby Codd.

Off-spinner Chris Bradley comes back in as well seamer Ash Causey to bolster the bowling department.

NORTH Devon new boy Ben Howe is set to make his 1st XI debut in the side entertaining Premier leaders Sidmouth.

Howe marked his arrival at the club two weeks ago with a second team half-century in the defeat by Barnstaple & Pilton.

Last time out the former Bridgend Town batsman cracked a century in the win that took Heathcoat’s II unbeaten record in the D Division East.

And with free-scoring Dan Bowser still missing due to injury, Howe is given a chance to show what he can do if he steps up.

“With Dan still injured I am looking for someone to score the runs we are missing from him, said skipper Matt Westaway.

“Ben has had two strong performances in the second team so it is only right to progress him into the first team.”

Westaway was missing from the side that lost by eight wickets to Heathcoat last Saturday.

Although Sidmouth crushed Bovey last time out, skipper Luke Bess wants his table-toppers to stay grounded.

“It is important not to get complacent after last week and makes sure we start again,” said Bess, who took a ton off Bovey. 

“Never quite sure who is playing for N Devon but they can put out some very strong sides.

We will be expecting another tough one, which we have had plenty of this year so far.”

Elliot Rice and Zak Bess are missing from the side that defeated Bovey. Nick Gingell is recalled after a spell in the 2nd XI at Nick Mansfield gets his first trot of the season.

Sandford are eyeing a chance to get away from the bottom two when they visit Plymouth.

A win at Mount Wise, coupled with defeats for Bradninch and Hatherleigh, would do the trick.

Plymouth’s record is patchy – their win at Hatherleigh last time out was only their second of the season – so Sandford travel with more than just hope.

Narrow defeats by Exmouth (5 runs) and North Devon (8 runs) tell Sandford skipper Richard Foan his team are competitive.

“Even with the results we have had we are still in touching distance,” said Foan.

“We have to keep it that way and a win this week will help that. 

“We are playing well as a team everyone is contributing and I have no doubt results will change. When they do you can easily move up the table.”

Plymouth welcome back new dad Dan Robotham to keep wicket, allowing veteran Steve Luffman to drop back to lead the 2nd XI.

Seamer Adam Talbott (16) keeps his place after an impressive debut at Hatherleigh.