Devon team boss Dave Tall has grabbed the opportunity of a 50-over county match against Dorset at Sidmouth on Sunday (11am) to have a look at some up-and-coming batsmen, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.
There are no surprises on the bowling front with Tall sticking largely to players who performed in red- and white-ball cricket last summer.
With established batters such as James Burke and Matt Thompson ruling themselves out for the season, there are chances for Devon youth system graduates to show what they can do.
Plympton opener Elliot Hamilton is in the 12-man match-day squad, as is Cornwood’s Ben Beaumont, who played a handful of senior games last season.
“Ben is a player with a lot of potential – he showed that with 50 against Wiltshire last season – and this is a chance for him to play against the sort of opposition he could be facing soon,” said Tall.
Elliot Hamilton is a player I think a lot of with a consistent record in league cricket – and he is a left-hander, which is always useful to have in the side.”
Another left-hander in the 12, one whose youth career has been and gone, is Heathcoat’s Dan Pyle.
Pyle was a regular for Devon between 2016-18. He lost his place at the start of the 2019 summer and did not rediscover the form that would win it back.
Tall said the time was right to give Pyle another chance.
“Everyone can have a bad run from time to time but that does not make them a bad cricketer,” said Tall.
“Dan is the sort of player who can change a game very quickly when he bats.
“He has the ability what is required and when in a game and adjust accordingly.”
Competitive cricket for National Counties such as Devon, Dorset and Cornwall was scrapped two weeks ago due to travel concerns related to the Covid-19 outbreak.
A second county game, against Cornwall, has been booked for Sandford CC on August 16. Devon will play Dorset in two T20 games at North Perrott on August 23 before returning to Sidmouth to face Wiltshire on August 30.
As Tall has a lengthy list of players he wants to look at, even a five-match programme will be beneficial.
“We have a sizeable cohort of players in their late teens or early 20s coming through now and I want to give as many as I can an opportunity,” said Tall.
Among the players who could feature in future games, but by no means an exclusive list, are Harry Ward (Paignton), Ashley Causey (Bovey Tracey), Matt Skeemer (Cornwood), Sam Read (Exeter) and Jack Moore (North Devon).
Devon v Dorset (squad): A W R Barrow (Sidmouth), Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), J W Baird (North Perrott/Somerset Academy), M C Golding (Bovey Tracey), J A Stevens (Taunton Deane), B A Beaumont (Cornwood), D J Pyle (Heathcoat), E W O Middleton (Exeter), D J Goodey (Plymouth), H M Whitlock (Bovey Tracey), E Hamilton (Plympton).