Devon name squads for first two warm-up games
NEW signings Ned Leonard and Kasey Aldridge have been named in Devon’s 12 for the pre-season warm-up match against Somerset 2nd XI at Instow.
Devon have two 50-over warm-up games and a T20 trial days before the season proper gets under way.
Somerset are the opposition on April 8 at North Devon CC, followed by the traditional match against the University of Exeter at Sidmouth on April 15.
The emphasis switches to T20 cricket on April 22 with a full day of crash-bang-wallop cricket at Seaton.
The Devon management are keen to have a look at Somerset pair Leonard and Aldridge, who have been joint-registered this season as part of the increasingly closer relationship between the two counties.
Aldridge, a 6ft 4ins fast bowler, took six wickets in the match on his England U19 debut in Bangladesh earlier this year.
Leonard, who at 16 is two years younger than Aldridge, was talent spotted playing for Middlesex at under-14 level. He switched to Somerset after arriving at Millfield School and was part of the ECB Elite squad last season. Leonard bowls medium quick and bats.
The Devon management hope Aldridge and Leonard will fill some of the gaps in the squad left by availability changes since last season.
Devon reached the semi-final of the Unicorns T20 competition and were beaten finalists in the 50-over KO Cup competition.
Gone from the squad of players used are skipper Josh Bess, who has retired, all-rounder Gary Chappell and Scott Barlow. Chappell and Barlow don’t wish to be considered this season.
Matt Thompson the new Devon captain in succession to Bess, knows there is a turnover in players during the season and getting through eight T20 games will require a sizeable squad.
For that reason a clutch of possible candidates will be given chances in the pre-season phase.
Spinner Max Hancock – three-day cricket only for Devon in 2018 – is in the squad to play Somerset. Exeter’s Ed Middleton, another spinner, gets a whirl in the same game.
Mitchell Pugh, Torquay’s South African-born batting all-rounder, will play against the University. He has become eligible for Minor Counties cricket following a change in registration rules.
Matt Skeemer, the Cornwood captain and a reliable performer with bat and ball, is offered a step-up opportunity from the Lions Development XI.
Jack Popham, North Devon’s injury blighted fast bowler, gets an early chance to show he is fit for the season ahead.
Devon v Somerset II: M W Thompson (St Fagins), J A Stephens (Falmouth), L J Lewis (Heathcoat), M Pugh (Torquay), D R Pyle (Heathcoat), K L Aldridge (Brislington), E Leonard (Bridgwater), Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), D J Goodey (Plymouth), T R J Codd (Bovey), M W Hancock (Sidmouth), J V King (North Devon).
Devon v University of Exeter: M W Thompson (St Fagins), A W R Barrow (Sidmouth), G B Allen, M Pugh (both Torquay), D R Pyle (Heathcoat), J A Stephens (Falmouth), M P Skeemer (Cornwood), T R J Codd (Bovey Tracey), E W O Middleton (Exeter), M J Petherbridge (Plymouth), J R Popham (North Devon), L F O Bess (Sidmouth).