North Devon have wheeled in a big-gun to boost their attempts to get off the bottom of the Premier Division before it is too late, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Keith Brown, the former Middlesex wicketkeeper-batsman, has been brought in to coach the side.

Brown played nearly 500 first team games for Middlesex between 1984-98, scoring in excess of 15,000 runs.

For most of the past 20 years Brown has been based in Exeter, where he works in the independent school sector as a games master and form tutor.

Brown coached the 1st XI squad for the first time last Wednesday night in readiness for Saturday home game with fellow strugglers Exmouth.

North Devon are 12 points adrift of safety at the bottom of the Premier Division after last Saturday's three-run defeat at Torquay.

Tom Popham, the North Devon captain, said: "We have brought in Keith Brown as coach and he will add some fresh ideas, experience and a much-needed calmness to the group heading into nine massive games.

"It's now a nine-game season for us and we have to put a little run together.

"We have been improving in the last three games and shown quality with bat and ball.

"We now have to do both in the same game more often and we will win games and push up the table.

"It's close down there so we have to stay positive and put everything into the second half of the season."

Brown is strictly on board as a coach. He last played more than a decade ago - and then only infrequently - for Clyst St George.