Devon leaving it late to finalise side for 50-over final against Cheshire

Zak Bess - back from accompanying a school rugby tour to Holland

DEVON team chief Keith Donohue and skipper Josh Bess will make late decisions on who from the 14-man squad is in the starting XI for the Unicorns KO Trophy final against Cheshire at Wormsley (Wednesday, 11am).

Devon have had a day to get over the 50-run drubbing by Berkshire in the Bank Holiday Monday Unicorns T20 semi-final at the same Buckinghamshire venue. Berkshire went on to beat Cheshire by eight wickets in that final.

The 14-man squad shows one change for the final: Sidmouth big hitter Zak Bess comes in for Joe Thompson.

Donohue and Bess are leaving it as late as they can to ensure top-order batter Alex Barrow is fit and to have a good look at the pitch.

Barrow, who captains and sometimes keeps wicket for Exeter in the Devon Premier Division, was laid out by a wild return throw during last Saturday’s league game with Heathcoat.

Alex Barrow - hoping to feel 100 per centThe former Somerset batsman travelled with the Devon squad to Wormsley on Saturday night, but felt less than 100 per cent on Monday morning so sat out the T20 finals.

A fit and healthy Barrow will play, which will be one change. The other depends on getting the balance of the side to match the conditions.

“The pitch will have been under cover for most of the last couple of days and that affects the way it plays and the attack we want bowling on it,” said Donohue.

“It is not a case of whether we want another spinner rather than a seamer, but whether we want an extra bowler at the expense of a batsman.”

Both teams go into the game on the back of hidings by Berkshire, which is hardly the ideal preparation. Devon are wary of the danger of playing opponents on the rebound.

“Everyone is pretty downbeat about Monday but it’s another day, we have a good attitude in the side and everyone is raring to go,” said Devon captain Josh Bess.

“We’ve played Cheshire quite a bit over the last few years so we know about them, but it was good to have a sighter of them on Monday.”

Cheshire will give a late fitness test to keeper-batter Will Evans, who suffered a bruised foot batting in Monday’s T20 final.

Evans, who made 183 in the Trophy quarter-final victory over Lincolnshire, withdrew from the Minor Counties side that played MCC at Wormsley (Tuesday) as a precaution.

Cheshire have called up Alderley Edge opening batsman Calum Rowe with Didsbury’s Nick Anderson missing out.

“We have played a lot of cricket against Devon over the years. We know they have got some very strong players and we are expecting a very tough game on Wednesday, said Cheshire captain Rick Moore.Last man standing - Scott Barlow

“We were disappointed to miss out on Monday but a little silver lining is that we are back on Wednesday and so we have the chance to come back and hopefully go one better.”

Cheshire will be making their first appearance in a Trophy final since 2007 but it is 22 years since they last won the competition.

Devon are four times winners of the cup – 1992, 1994, 1998 and 2008 – and finalists seven times since 1991.

The lone survivor of the Devon side that defeated Berkshire at Lord’s in the 2008 final is seam bowler Scott Barlow. 

Cheshire:  W A White, W J Evans, T L Robinson, E B Fluck, R A L Moore, J G T Crawley, C Rowe, S Normanton, J J Williams, C J White, A J Davies.

Devon: J J Bess (Sidmouth), M W Thompson (St Fagans), A W R Barrow (Exeter), L J Lewis (Heathcoat), Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), D R Pyle (Exmouth), S Barlow (Sidmouth), J A Stephens (Falmouth), D J Goodey (Plymouth), G R Chappell (Bradninch), J H J Mailling (Bovey Tracey), J E Burke (Plymouth), T J R Codd (Bovey Tracey), G Benton (Paignton).

Umpires: H Adnam, N Pratt.