DEVON must get up to speed in a hurry in the Twenty20 double-header against Wiltshire if they are going to make it through the qualifying rounds.
Going into round three at South Wilts CC on the outskirts of Salisbury, Devon have won two and lost two of the four games played.
The match-day pattern was the same against Cornwall at Truro and pool leaders Dorset at Sidmouth: defeat in the first match and victory in the second.
The nature of the tournament makes it difficult to know what the minimum requirements are to win the group as the situation can change in a hurry.
If Dorset do the double over Wales at Wimborne tomorrow, Devon are unlikely to be able to do enough in the last round of games to snatch top spot.
Two wins has to be the target and obtaining them means hitting the ground running.
“Whatever Dorset do we have to do the same to keep in touch with them – and anything less won’t wash,” said Devon’s director of cricket Keith Donohue.
“We give ourselves the best chance of qualifying by winning both games, but we won’t do that if we start lethargically again.
“In the first two rounds we started poorly and lost both games, which gave us a jolt to play better in the second match.
“Although 20 overs is not a long time and you have to get on with it, you don’t want to go about it as if everything has to be rushed.
“But if you go too slowly for the first five or six overs it is tough to make up the lost ground. It is a balancing act I hope we are learning.”
Devon used 16 players in little more than 24 hours in the May Bank Holiday appointments with Cornwall and Dorset. Some, like Joe Gore and Peter Randerson, didn’t have a lot to do.
This time round Donohue and skipper Josh Bess have sketched out a 12-man squad.
Gone for now are Gore, Randerson, Luke Bess and Fin Trenouth. Scott Barlow withdrew due to a family commitments and James Burke asked not to be considered for the same reason.
Plymouth all-rounder Joe Hagan-Burt and skipper Bess are added. Neither played in rounds one and two.
Spinner Jamie Stephens was in the original 12-man squad for the game, but has dropped out due to a knee injury. Seamer Josh King is his replacement for the day.
Devon (from): J J Bess (Sidmouth), M W Thompson (St Fagins), A W R Barrow, B G F Green (both Exeter), G R Chappell (Bradninch), Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), J O Hagan-Burt (Plymouth), J E Thompson (Congresbury), G Benton (Paignton), J V King (North Devon), T J R Codd (Bovey Tracey).
Wiltshire: E G C Young, T I Morton, J B Lintott, N J Clark, A A Morrison, B C Dawson, A B F Godsal, T G Afridi, L A Evans, J P Roberts, J M King, J Goodwin.
Umpires: D Price & T Caldicott