DEVON team chief Keith Donohue has played down suggestions his side are favourites to beat holders Berkshire in today’s (Sunday) Unicorns Cup quarter-final at Sidmouth.
Berkshire will arrive at the Fortfield as cup holders and last season’s one and three-day competition double winners in Minor Counties cricket.
Berkshire coach Tom Lambert, in an interview with Paul Bolton from the ECB Reporter Network, claimed his side are underdogs going into the tie.
Devon were the last side to beat Berkshire in the competition at Exmouth two years ago when a brilliant all-round performance from Dom Bess, now an England Test player, inspired them.
“Over the years we have had a good healthy rivalry with Devon. We are two strong sides and I don’t think that will be any different on Sunday,” Lambert said.
“We go there as slight underdogs even as the holders because we have to go to their ground. They play some brilliant cricket so it will be a real challenge but it’s one that I and the boys are really looking forward to.
“I think whoever wins that game will be favourites to potentially go on and win the trophy.”
Donohue said it was a flattering remark and one he would take with a sizeable pinch of salt.
“When we play at our best I would back us to beat anyone, but I don’t think you can describe Devon as favourites or Berkshire as underdogs,” said Donohue.
“Winning becomes a habit, as we know ourselves from our own past glories, and right now Berkshire are the dominant force in Minor Counties cricket.
“Can we beat them? Of course we can. But it will require a good hundred overs of getting stuck in and gritting teeth as Berkshire are no push-over.”
If Devon can dispose of the holders on Sunday they will be at home to either Oxfordshire or Suffolk in the last four on July 1.
Devon (from): J J Bess (Sidmouth), M W Thompson (St Fagans), A W R Barrow, B G F Green (both Exeter), L J Lewis (Heathcoat), J E Burke (Plymouth), Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), G R Chappell (Bradninch), J E Thompson (Congresbury), J O Hagan-Burt (Plymouth), T J R Codd (Bovey Tracey), S Barlow (Sidmouth), J R Popham (North Devon).
Berkshire: J. Davies, J A J Rishton, E D Woods, R K Morris, D J Lincoln, J C Morris, C T Peploe, J. Thomas, S R Davison, T M Nugent, Akbar Raja, O D W Birts.
Umpires: G I Callaway, D Price.