DEVON team chief Dave Tall is planning to shake things up for the final Unicorns T20 Cup group game against Cornwall.
Devon meet their old rivals at Instow a week today (June 16) with nothing to play for other than pride.
Five defeats and a tie against Wiltshire in six game played have left Devon so far adrift at the bottom of the table they cannot qualify even if they win both games against Cornwall.
Devon don’t get too many opportunities to look at emerging players in realistic conditions and with a lengthy list of absentees it is a perfect chance for Tall to run the rule over some candidates.
“We already know Peter Trego and Joe Hagan-Burt are definitely unable to play and there are doubts over Matt Golding and Kasey Aldridge,” said Tall.
“One or two others have got injuries that may or may not clear up in time and that probably means naming 13 or 14 early in the week.
“To be truthful I am not that worried as what we will have is chances for players to show what they can do.”
Tall said the steps from league cricket into the Devon Lions development programme and on to Minor Counties level are bigger than players often realise.
"Having a game against a seasoned Minor Counties team like Cornwall is an opportunity to measure and educate the next generation of players," said Tall.
“The Lions programme works well preparing players for the step up and players who do well in matches are always talked about when we are picking teams for Minor County games,” said Tall.
“Players appear on our radar all the time, such as Rob Cunningham who has done well every time he has played for the Lions.
“It is unfortunate he has picked up an injury at just the wrong time as he may well have come into consideration for this game.
“If you are not playing Premier Division cricket every Saturday afternoon against the best cricketers in Devon, which is the case with Rob, it is hard to measure what a performance is worth.
“Bowling at ex-pros or budding England under-19 players who can bat for two hours on a flat track is not the same as sending down nine overs on a Saturday afternoon.
“Ideally, the best players in Devon should be in the Premier Division showing what they can do against each other. If you are ambitious why wouldn’t you want to do that?
“Loyalty to a club is understandable, but is it always in the best interests of the player himself?”
So watch out for some wild-card selections against Cornwall as Tall has an eye on the three-day Unicorns Championship programme, which starts against Wales at Pontarddulais on June 23.
Skipper Alex Barrow is among the players already ruled out – and the Somerset trio of Ben Green, Tom Lammomby and Kasey Aldridge could be on 2ndXI duty.
One player likely to reappear in the Devon side after a lengthy break is early order batsman Max Curtis, who worked his way up through the age groups to the senior side.
University studies took Curtis to Bristol in 2016, effectively ending his three-season run in the Devon team.
Curtis has been playing for Clevedon in the West of England Premier Division and his form with the bat earned him a regular place in the Gloucestershire 2ndXI. He moved to Southampton during the winter after leaving University and is now playing for St Cross Symondians in the Southern Premier League.