Dawson bowing out after more than 30 years in the game

Bob Dawson on his way to half century for Exmouth against Bradninch last Saturday

FORMER Devon captain Bob Dawson is poised to announce his retirement from 1st XI cricket with Exmouth after Saturday’s home Premier Division game against Sidmouth.

Dawson, who was 48 in March, shuttled back and forwards between Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton during his career, which started in his mid-teens.

He had eight seasons on the staff with Gloucestershire between 1992-1999, scoring three First Class hundreds and 12 half-centuries.

Dawson returned to Devon after leaving Gloucestershire, skippering the county side between 2003-09.

When Dawson retired from Devon cricket after the 2011 Minor Counties Championship title win over Cambridgeshire he had appeared in more than 170 games for the county in all competitions. He led Devon to a shared title and an outright one, a KO cup win at Lord’s and victory over the pros of Leicestershire in the C&G Trophy

Dawson played league cricket for Budleigh (2000-01) Cornish side St Buryan (2002-03), Budleigh (2004-13) and returned to Exmouth one last time at the start of the 2014 season.

It has been quite a career, but with a young family growing up fast the lure of the cricket field has dimmed a little.

“It probably won’t be a complete finish as I expect I will play the odd game when Exmouth are short,” said Dawson.

Callum French, who took over from Dawson as Exmouth skipper earlier this month, confirmed the news.

“It looks like Saturday will be Bob’s last game for us,” said French.

“He will be sorely missed as he has been fantastic at the club.

“Over the three seasons I've been involved at Exmouth his contributions and cricketing brain have been fantastic.

“Bob is excellent with any young lads coming through and a pleasure to have around the club and team.

“His contribution across his career must have been exceptional.”

The game the Maer is on of three which will determine the outcome of this season’s Premier Division title race, which really has gone down to the wire.

Leaders Heathcoat take on relegation worriers Sandford at Knightshayes knowing they are champs if they win.

Sandford show two team changes for tomorrow

Faisal Iqbal has returned to Pakistan and Peter Steer broke his finger fielding against Plymouth last Saturday so is unavailable.

Matt Theedom and Ryan Glass - both very experienced players - come back in.

”Ryan took five wickets at Heathcoat last week in the 2nd XI so should be used to the conditions,” said Sandford captain Richard Foan.

On the challenge of the weekend, Foan said: “One more point then Bradninch, it is that simple.

“Our form is good: four on the bounce then a loss to Plymouth by six runs.

“Heathcoat obviously have a lot to play for, so it is going to be tough. But we were dead and buried a month ago so nothing to lose.”

Chasers Exetere have to win at Hatherleigh and hope Heathcoat slip up, which is not beyond the realms of possibility. Sandford have won four of their last five games scrapping to stay up.

Exeter are without skipper Alex Barrow, still groggy at times after being hit on the head fielding a ball against Heathcoat last Saturday. Ben Green will skipper and England U19 star Tom Lammonby returns after nearly eight weeks out with a foot injury.

Sidmouth have to win at Exmouth and hope Exeter and Heathcoat both lose.

At the other end of the table Bradninch have to win at Plymouth or if they lose garner more points than Sandford to stay up. The teams are level with a game to go.

North Devon entertain Bovey Tracey knowing they need nine points in a defeat or better still a win to avoid being overtaken by Bradninch and Sandford, should both win.