Drew, Hagan-Burt and Yau come into Devon squad

DEVON captain Matt Thompson is keeping his fingers crossed for no more cry-offs before the side travels to Eastnor tomorrow to play Herefordshire.

Devon have had a hard time in all forms of cricket this season as player availability has been patchy.

The side that beat Cumberland at Barrow on Sunday in the one-day Unicorns Trophy quarter-final showed six changes from the team that got there.Devon captain Matt Thompson

Getting the strongest side out for three-day cricket is little easier this time of year as a number of players can’t get time off work, or are taking exams.

Just when Thompson and team chief Keith Donohue thought they had a 12 to take to Eastnor, bowling all-rounder Zak Bess had to drop out as he can’t get Monday off work to play.

Jamie Drew, the Heathcoat seamer, has been pencilled in to replace Bess and if he plays he will be making his debut.

So, too, will Plymouth’s Joe Hagan-Burt, a 17 year old batter who bowls as well.

Torquay captain Justin Yau is in the squad for the first time and will keep wicket to take some of the burden off Thompson.

Thompson has been captaining, keeping and opening, which is a huge ask for any player.

Thompson said as Devon are short on three-day experience, picking Yau makes plenty of sense.

“We have some young and exciting players coming through, but what they have not played is a lot of cricket,” said Thompson.

“The rational behind bringing in Justin is he is an experienced league cricketer whose keeping is exemplary and by playing him it takes some of the pressure off me.

“I have tried, opening, keeping and captaining and it is tough. Right now I have to go in early as we don’t have too many other options. Having Justin to keep might just help me score some runs.”

Eastnor is a ground with happy memories for Thompson as he scored his maiden Championship ton there in 2010, becoming the youngest Devon batsman to make a century at the time at the age of 18 years, 206 days. Ben Green has since broken the record.

Said Thompson: “It would be nice to do it again, but all I would swap that for a win for the team.”

Devon’s first Minor Counties outing this season was a seven-wicket reversal against Wales, who won a three-day game with more than a day to spare.

Donohue said the defeat by Wales had to be taken as part of the learning process.

“We did well in the first innings to recover from 60-odd for four to make 261, but lost the focus that enabled us to do that when we batted again,” said Donohue.

“Whether we win, lose or draw against Herefordshire, it is the quality of the performance that matters.”

Herefordshire: L Gwynne, Kieran Smith, C J Whittock, J P Webb, P I Burgoyne, D J R Exall, M Pardesi, I T Bullock, A P Sutton,, D O Conway, A R Wilkinson.

Devon: M W Thompson (St Fagans), D T Penberthy (Heathcoat), M C Golding (Bovey Tracey), J J Bess (Sidmouth), J F S Dart (Heathcoat), D M Bess (Exeter), J K Drew(Heathcoat), J O Hagan-Burt (Plymouth), J V King (North Devon), C L Miles (Sidmouth), T J R Codd (Bovey Tracey), J W T Y Yau (Torquay).

Umpires: J S Attridge & M Qureshi