PETER Trego will skipper Devon in the crunch game with Cornwall starting at Exeter on Sunday (10.30am).
Somerset all-rounder Trego, Devon’s match professional this season, will be the fourth player to lead Devon in three-day, Unicorns Championship action this season.
Alex Barrow is the appointed skipper and Zac Bess his vice-captain. Neither is available for this game, nor is Jamie Stephens, who led the side the side to victory over Wales when Barrow and Bess were both unavailable.
As there is a lot riding on the game as far as Devon are concerned, asking Trego to lead the side was an easy decision to make.
“In the short time Peter has been with us he has earned massive respect from the players for his approach to the game, never mind his own exceptional record with Somerset,” said Devon team chief Dave Tall.
“It is going to be a tough game as Cornwall have to win if they want to get into the top five and we can’t go into it thinking a draw would be enough for us.”
As Trego played a handful of games for Cornwall last season as a match pro, he also brings some inside information to the task of captaining Devon.
The significance of finishing in the top five is qualification for the new Western Division One in a new-look competition with promotion and relegation from 2020 onwards.
Devon’s team management is anxious to avoid a place in Division Two. They go into the game sixth in the Western Division table and in need of a win to climb into the top five. They trail Wiltshire by a point and fourth-placed Cheshire by six
Results that could impact on Devon’s fortunes are Wiltshire (5th) against Shropshire (9th) at Marlborough and Oxfordshire (2nd) versus Cheshire (4th) at Thame.
Herefordshire, eight points behind Devon in seventh spot, are away to bottom side Wales.
Selection problems have blighted Tall’s job all summer and playing in September when most schools and colleges have returned to work only made is problems worse.
Spinner Stephens, skipper Barrow and number two Bess are all work tied, so is keeper-batter George Allen, and classroom commitments as students rule out Jamie Baird and Ben Beaumont.
Barrow scored two tons in the win over Oxfordshire at Sidmouth last time out and his likely runs will be missed.
Luke Bess gets the nod as a batting replacement and Paignton opener Harry Ward, son of former Devon all-rounder Tim Ward, is in a senior squad for the first time.
Swing-bowling all-rounder Matt Skeemer returns to the side having missed the eight-wicket win over Oxfordshire at Sidmouth.
Exeter leg-spinner Ed Middleton has been recalled to the side after missing the last two matches. Keeper-batter Matt Thompson also returns after a two-match absence.
Cornwall have made changes from the team that drew with Berkshire at St Austell with the return of five regulars.
Acting skipper Scott Harvey comes back along with Penzance team-mates Greg Smith and Tom Wells. They all played for Penzance in the National T20 quarter-final at Cranleigh, which clashed with the last championship game.
The Werrington pair of former county captain Matt Robins and opening bowler Tom Dinnis also return, having been unavailable for the game at Wheal Eliza due to work and injury respectively.
Tim Wyatt and Dan Lello, who were both called up for seasonal debuts against Berkshire, retain their places.
Toby Whiteford, Mark Gribble, Aidan Libby, Alex Bone and Ellis Whiteford make way.
Devon (from): P D Trego (Weston), J E Burke (Plymouth), M W Thompson (St Fagans), M Pugh (Torquay), M P Skeemer (Cornwood), H M Whitlock, T J R Codd (both Bovey Tracey), E W O Middleton (Exeter), L F O Bess (Sidmouth), A J Causey (Bovey Tracey), H C B Ward (Paignton), D J Goodey (Plymouth).
Cornwall: S A Harvey, G M Smith, T J Wells (all Penzance), M L Robins, T J Dinnis (both Werrington), C B F Purchase (Redruth), J R Turpin (Wadebridge), C J Kent, T R Wyatt, A C Libby (all Truro), C D Lello (St Just). 12th: J M Brierley (Truro).
Umpires: N E Piddock, P Evans