Devon start preparations with Clevedon clash
- Credit: Matt Smart
Devon start their preparations for the county season ahead with a warm-up game against Clevedon in the Sandhills at Instow on Sunday (noon).
Devon were due to play Gloucestershire 2nd XI this Sunday in a warm-up game for the National Counties Twenty20 tournament, which was due to start away to Wiltshire on April 18.
But the entire Twenty20 programme has been scrapped due to Covid-19 restrictions – and Devon’s pre-season programme has gone out of the window too.
West of England Premier side Clevedon, a team packed with Minor Counties players, are going to provide the opposition for an experimental Devon XI.
Regulars such as Matt Thompson, Matt Golding and captain Alex Barrow are not available, which gives team boss Dave Tall the chance to look at next-generation players.
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Tall would have liked to have a look at local favourite Jack Moore, but the North Devon CC all-rounder is not available.
“Jack can’t play in our first two games, but will be available when we play Sidmouth on the 17th and will almost certainly play then,” said Tall.
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“Had Jack been available this Sunday he would have played.”
Moore, a seam-bowling all-rounder, learned his cricket with Barnstaple & Pilton before joining North Devon CC in 2019. He is a former captain of Devon at age-group level and the winner of the Tolchards Devon League young-player-of-the-year award in 2017.
Devon’s planned 50-over friendly against Somerset 2nd XI on April 11 at Sidmouth has been replaced by a game against the University of Exeter on the same Fortfield ground.
Devon will return to the Fortfield on April 18 to play last season’s Premier Tier champions Sidmouth in a warm-up match.
Devon against the Premier champions was a regular fixture through the 1970s, but lapsed after 1978 and was replaced by an annual challenge match against a League XI, which in turn ceased in the 1990s.
Devon: J A Stephens (Taunton Deane), Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), B A Beaumont (Cornwood), E H Hamilton (Plympton), H C B Ward (Paignton), A J Small (Sandford), L F O Bess (Sidmouth), E W O Middleton (Exeter), J D Horler (Exmouth), M P Skeemer (Cornwood), C W B Ward, A E Farkins (both Paignton).
*Sunday's game on the North Devon ground is the first since the death of North Devon CC president John Phillips earlier this month.
Phillips, a retired solicitor, celebrated his 100th birthday last year. He had been president of the club since 1986.
Son Andrew, one of Phillips two children, said his father seemed to ‘fade away’ following the death of wife Sally in January. The couple had been married for 54 years.
“Sally’s death was a terrible shock for him - particularly with his Alzheimer's having got worse - and he seemed to fade away despite us trying to get him to rally,” said Andrew.
"Ruth and I are grateful that – with testing – we were able to spend most of the last 10 days with dad and be with him when he passed away.
“We will miss him enormously, but we are aware of how lucky we are to have had him with us until age 100 and also what a full and long life he led, playing golf until his early 90s and being in such good health until the last few years.”
A private family funeral was due to be held at midday today (Wednesday). A tribute will be observed before Sunday’s match.