Lions can't stop Bears' rising stars knocking off runs

DEVON Lions ran into some rising young stars on Warwickshire’s books during a six-wicket defeat at Sidmouth.

Torquay’s Justin Yau, who was captain for the day, hit a top score of 74 for the Lions in a respectable total of 250 for eight.

It looked like a decent total at tea time, but Warwickshire knocked it of with more than eight overs to spare.

England Under-19 star Aaron Thomason made 93 in a stand of 155 with Alex Mellor (95) in a stand of 155 that put the result beyond doubt.

Devon have had five attempts at beating Warwickshire’s academy side in the past few seasons and have yet to do it.

Tim Western, the Lions’ director of coaching, said the learning benefits are every bit as important as the result.

“The game provided exactly what we wanted as a development fixture and the Lions' players can take a great deal out the game, competing against players of that standard,” said Western.

“Warwickshire's team included three contracted players in Mellor, Thomason and Singh.

They batted aggressively and powerfully and Mellor and Thomason showed why they are in the Bears set-up.

“Mellor has scored a double-ton for Staffordshire at Minor Counties' level.

“Despite the long journey from the Midlands, I am delighted Warwickshire have asked for a repeat fixture in 2017. “

Opener Tom Ansell made 31 in a second-wicket stand of 62 with Yau that got the Lions going after Dylan Penberthy went in the first over.

Matt Skeemer (36) and Yau put on 89 for the third and the positive approach continued with Luke Bess (27) and George Allen (27) also chipping in.

It was a useful effort against an Academy attack, but Western felt Devon left some runs out there.

“We lost wickets at key times and Warwickshire held our score in the last 10 overs to just 52 on a good wicket,” said Western.

“Justin's innings was patient early on and his energy and running between the wickets was excellent.

“At this level, we needed one of other guys to stay on until the final part of our innings as we were probably 25 short.”

Although Thomason and Mellor dominated the bowling for long periods when Warwickshire batted, there were highlights.

“I was pleased with the debuts of Jack Hale and Fred King. who was very unlucky not to pick up two or three wickets,” said Western.

“Toby Codd also showed why he has been selected in the Minor Counties side and bowled with control and confidence.”

Western accepted the role Mellor and Thomason played, but had one caveat.

“We dropped both players during the course of their innings and taking Thomason out of the equation when the score was on 96 may have put pressure on their run chase,” said Western.

Devon Lions 250-8 (J W Y L Yau 74, M P Skeemer 36, T Ansell 31, L F O Bess 27, G B Allen 27; T Hope 3-20), Warwickshire 253-4 (A J Mellor 95, A D Thomason 93, D J Goodey 2-33). Warwickshire bt Devon by 6 wkts.