Torquay out to burst Paignton's bubble + and all the news ahead of tomorrow's Premier programme
TORQUAY are on a mission to burst Paignton’s bubble when the two sides meet at Queens Park in a top-against-bottom derby date.
Paignton, promoted as A Division champions last September, are two points clear of Sidmouth at the top of the table and going for a fourth straight win.
Torquay, runners-up behind Paignton, are bottom of the table and aiming to avoid a fourth straight defeat.
It might not look a promising position, but Torquay captain George Allen believes opposite number George Benton would be unwise to take anything for granted.
“We are at full strength for the first time this season and know exactly what to expect going down the road to Paignton,” said Allen.
“We have not got off to the start we wanted but in all departments we know we aren't far away from bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together to get a win under our belt
“There would be no better time than Saturday to bring Paignton firmly back down to earth.”
Benton, a Devon team-mate of Allen’s, also knows what to expect on Saturday.
“Torquay are without a win this year, but with it being a local derby we expect them to be up for the game,” said Benton.
“We have prepared well and if we can perform as we have done so far we should be in a good position.
“We know what to do against Torquay but we do expect a tough game.
“We have built a platform now and we still need to improve to carry on being successful. Our aim is to keep the winning run going and make it four from four.”
NEW signing Jack Moore goes straight into North Devon’s 1st XI for Saturday’s home game against Sandford.
Moore, who has excelled in youth cricket for Devon and the adult game for Barnstaple & North Pilton, has long been on the target list for Premier and A Division clubs.
The 17-year-old has plumped for North Deon and skipper Jack Popham is glad to have him on board.
“Jack is Premier Division quality for sure so he has a very bright future at Instow,” said Popham, another B&P old boy.
“We’re very happy to have him as many clubs were rightfully keen on signing him.
“The only shame is that we’re signing him from Barnstaple & Pilton, which will obviously weaken them.”
With James Tyson, Jack Popham and Alfie Huxtable all away, there were no problems finding Moore a berth in the side. Isaac Windley is promoted from the second team.
North Devon are one place and a point off the relegation places in the Premier Division going into this Saturday’s home game against Sandford. Last time out they went down by nine wickets to Heathcoat.
Sandford will field the same team beaten by Paignton last time out.
Although they lost by 103 runs, skipper Richard Foan has given the team a vote of confidence.
“Great to have a settled team again, looking to put in a better all-round performance after a difficult game last weekend,” said Foan.
“We are not far away. Hopefully, when it comes together, we can put a run together starting this Saturday.”
CHAMPIONS and challengers meet on the Fortfield when Sidmouth entertain Heathcoat on Saturday (12.30pm).
Sidmouth came from behind on the final day last season to pip Heathcoat and Exeter for the Premier crown.
If Heathcoat’s winter recruitment drive is any indicator, they are planning a serious bid to win the title for the first time this season.
And Sidmouth, who are unbeaten in three starts, show no signs of letting their crown slip away without a fight.
Nick Gingell, the Sidmouth club captain, said even at this early stage of the season it has the hallmarks of a ‘massive’ game.
“If we could win it would put a healthy gap between us and another likely contender at the business end of the season,” said Gingell.
“Having said that I think the Premier Division is not as strong as in previous seasons and anyone can beat anyone on their day.”
Both sides go into the game fresh from big wins. Sidmouth won by 157 runs at Plymouth and Heathcoat were nine-wicket victors against North Devon.
Jackson Thompson, the Heathcoat captain, anticipates a tougher game.
“It will be a good game with a lot of quality on the field on both sides,” said Thompson.
“It's always a good challenge playing against Sidmouth and no doubt this Saturday will be no different.
“We are prepared and confident that we can achieve our goals.”
Callum French misses out for Heathcoat due to back injury.
“But we welcome back Liam Lewis for his first league outing this season and the big man is hungry for runs,” said Thompson.
Pete Randerson comes back in to keep wickets and bat in the top order against his former club after a break last weekend.”
Matt Cooke and Gingell are missing from the Sidmouth side. Zak Bess comes in to captain and Scott Barlow is selected as an additional bowler.
EXMOUTH host Plymouth on Saturday eager to bounce back from their reversal at Bovey Tracey.
Two defeats in three starts have left Exmouth five points clear of the relegation places – not a place they want to be near.
Andy Buzza, the Exmouth captain, said nothing less than a win will make him happy.
“We have played well is spells over the past three games yet have not put together a full performance in all three disciplines,” said Buzza.
Referring to their Pakistani all-rounder Faizan Riaz who scored 1,100 league runs last season, Buzza said: “Plymouth are dangerous for obvious reasons....
“I look forward to another well fought battle between two young sides.”
Plymouth will be without Richard Goldsby-West and Hadleigh Scott-Kirk, which hurts them in the bowling department. Batting all-rounder Ben Stein ad Fahad Ali come in, which offers skipper Jon Varcoe a couple of bowling options.”
EXETER and Bovey Tracey meet on the County Ground.
Exeter defeated Torquay last time out while Bovey were besting Exmouth in a rain-affected game.
“Looking to build on a strong performance last week and pick up our first win at home,” said Exeter skipper Tom Pedel.
Abraham Kopparambil and Lewis Hammett return to give Bovey’s batting a lift.”
“It is another huge game for us against a strong Exeter side,” said captain Toby Codd.