THE wraps will come off the David Shepherd Cricket Foundation on September 12 with a Devon Lions v David Shepherd X1 launch match on the ground he loved more than any, in the sandhills at Instow. Shepherd rose from club cricketer with North Devon

THE wraps will come off the David Shepherd Cricket Foundation on September 12 with a Devon Lions v David Shepherd X1 launch match on the ground he loved more than any, in the sandhills at Instow.

Shepherd rose from club cricketer with North Devon CC, through Minor Counties cricket with Devon and 14 years on the staff at Gloucestershire to the ranks of the umpiring elite.

Shepherd umpired in 92 Tests and three World Cup finals before putting away his white cap and ball counter five years ago.

Friends and former playing colleagues wanted to do something to remember Shepherd. Devon County Cricket Club, of which Shepherd was president at the time of his death last year, got involved from the start.

What has emerged is a high-performance programme for youngsters, structured by ex-Devon player Roger Newman, who was academy director at Warwickshire before retiring.

The county club aren't trying to compete with the existing coaching set ups in Devon run by the Cricket Board. What Newman wants to do is work with youngsters in the 17-plus age group, with the aim of turning them into the county players of the future.

"It is a high-performance programme for the next generation of Devon cricketers - and maybe beyond," said Newman.

"The Cricket Board do a fantastic job with the youngsters. What we want to do through the foundation is take the lads on to another level.

"What we are looking at is high-intensity training weekends throughout the winter, where we bring in specialist coaches to work with the players.

"In many ways we are trying to copy what the ECB does with the England Lions."

Andy Flower, the current England coach, has agreed to be the foundation patron.

As Devon's badge features a rampant Lion, the Foundation team will be called the Devon Lions.

The Lions will get their first outing as a team at Instow on Sunday, September 12 (1pm) when they play a David Shepherd XI put together by his former Gloucestershire and Devon team-mate Jack Davey to mark the launch of the foundation.

All money raised from the match - admission is £5 for adults, children free - will go to the David Shepherd Cricket Foundation.