King leads Devon bowling effort with three-wicket haul

DEVON put their ongoing selection problems to one side to have the best of a truncated first day’s play against Herefordshire at Eastnor.

Team chief Keith Donohue had to find late replacements for Zak Bess and his cousin Dom, who dropped out of the original squad.

Dom Bess is playing for Somerset II against Kent this week and Zak is part of the same team’s support staff.

The starting XI included four debutants – Torquay’s Justin Yau, Bovey Tracey’s Toby Codd, Plymouth’s Joe Hagan-Burt and Heathcoat’s Jamie Drew – and three more players who have only appeared in seven games between them.

Experience at Minor Counties level may be a bit short, but that didn’t stop Devon reducing Herefordshire to 188 for nine before rain stopped play.

Josh King led the way with three wickets and there were two each for Josh Bess, Craig Miles and Codd.

Spinner Codd (2-31) won a hearty pat on the back from Donohue for his contribution to day one.

“Toby bowled a great spell on debut, as did Joe Hagan-Burt, who bowled with good control,” said Donohue.Three wickets - Josh King

“Jamie Drew (0-43) found it a bit tough, but I would hope he has learned from that and will see where he has to up his game.”

Devon may have lost a brace of Bess boys, but former captain Josh remained in the team and showed he is fast getting back to his best with two for 32 from 14 overs.

“It has taken Josh a week or two to find his feet again after his 18 months in Australia, but he led the attack well, as he always used to,” said Donohue.

Devon backed up their bowlers with a lively performance in the field to maximise the chances that came their way.

Dylan Penberthy set the tone with a diving catch at point to remove opener Kieran Smith.

David Exall was well caught on the boundary by King trying to sweep Codd.

Keeper Yau had three catches on his debut – the first a difficult chance down the leg-side to remove Ed Pollock.

Some batters were the architects of their own misfortune, such as Pete Burgoyne, who shouldered arms to spinner Charlie Miles, only to be given out lbw as the ball turned in on him.

Chris Whittock top scored for Herefordshire with 43. He and Exall (31) put on 76 for the fourth wicket in the only stand of note.

All in all it looked like Devon’s day, but they were in a similar position against Wales two weeks ago and lost a three-day match with more than a day to go.

For that reason Donohue was quick to qualify the day’s events.

“We have done well but it is going to be damp when we get back out there and until both sides have batted once it is unwise to draw too many conclusions,” he said.

Herefordshire 188-9 (C J Whittock 43, L Gwynne 32, D J R Exall 31, P I Burgoyne 31; J V King 3-18, C L Mikes 2-24). Rain stopped play. Devon (4pts), Herefordshire (1).