By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
DEVON’S close working relationship with Somerset has been underlined by the inclusion of three Taunton-based players for the T20 double-header against Dorset at Bridgwater tomorrow (SUN).
Academy scholar Jamie Baird, England under-19 all-rounder Ned Leonard and contracted player Ollie Sale are all in the squad for the Bridgwater trip.
Baird kept wicket and batted for Devon on a handful of occasions last season and Leonard featured intermittently before other commitments got in the way.
Sale, talent spotted by Somerset while playing for Tavistock, is on a professional contract that expires at the end of the current season.
The county clubs and Boards in Devon and Cornwall have partnership arrangements with Somerset over coaching and playing opportunities for young players. Devon’s pathway manager Sandy Allen went to India with a group of Somerset youngsters earlier this year.
Andy Hurry, the director of cricket at Somerset, said it is good to see the partnership working for the benefit of players.
“We have been working collaboratively with Devon for a number of years and over the last year or so we all have worked hard to grow our partnership with both organisations, looking to maximise the expertise and opportunities available that both counties can provide,” said Hurry.
“As a result of Covid-19 and a condensed domestic playing schedule, opportunities for players outside the Somerset 1st XI have been hampered this summer.
“As a result of the pandemic we haven’t been able to facilitate any 2nd XI cricket this season.
“There are a small number of players who have been training and preparing diligently but competitive opportunities have been restricted and playing National Counties cricket enables those players to have that competitive opportunity to demonstrate their skills and push for a 1st XI position.”
Turning to Sale in particular, Hurry said: “Ollie will really value his chance and we are very grateful to Devon providing him with an opportunity to showcase his skills and push for 1st XI selection ahead of the T20 Blast which commences on August 28.”
Devon have named two teams for the T20 day out to utilise all 15 players in the travelling party.
Devon Team A: A W R Barrow (Sidmouth), J W Baird (North Perrott), Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), M C Golding (Bovey Tracey), B A Beaumont (Cornwood), E O Leonard (Bridgwater), O R T Sale (unattached), J A Stephens (Taunton Deane), E H Hamilton (Plympton), E W O Middleton (Exeter), B H Privett (Plympton), S Baker (Torquay).
Devon Team B: A: A W R Barrow (Sidmouth), J W Baird (North Perrott), Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), M C Golding (Bovey Tracey), B A Beaumont (Cornwood), E O Leonard (Bridgwater), O R T Sale (unattached), J A Stephens (Taunton Deane), B H Privett (Plympton), S Baker (Torquay), T J R Codd (Bovey Tracey), M J Petherbridge (Plymouth).