Thursday, April 10, 2014
Sidmouth CC spinner Charlie Miles is included in the Devon 14-man squad for the season’s opening fixture against Somerset 2nd XI at Heathcoat this Sunday (11am).
The fixture is the first high-profile game at the Mid Devon club since the £half-million redevelopment last year.
Heathcoat have had strong ties to the county for almost 100 years on the player front, but staging matches is a different thing altogether!
Record books have been scoured over the past week or so by club chairman John Smith looking for evidence of previous Devon visits to the picturesque Knightshayes ground.
Smith’s research has yielded no evidence at all of any meaningful games in the past, which surprises him.
“Sir John Heathcoat-Amory founded the Heathcoat Cricket Club in the 1920s – and he was Devon captain at the time,” said Smith.
“Mervyn Hill and Ronnie Seldon were both associated with Heathcoat before the war and were also Devon captains.
“And since the likes of Dennis Forward, Geoff Edwards the Townsend brothers, the Seatherton brothers and Julian Wyatt have all played for the county as well.
“Sir John had his own XI playing ‘country house’ cricket on the ground against some notable sides, but I can find no trace of any senior Devon games at all, which is odd.
“If anyone knows differently, I would be delighted to hear from them.”
Devon youth teams have been regular visitors to Heathcoat over many years and Smith would like to see the senior side play there more often.
“I would like to give the cricket-watching public of Tiverton the chance to see the best cricket they can,” said Smith.
Devon are only two weeks away from their first game in the Minor Counties KO Cup – Wiltshire at North Devon – so are using the game as part warm-up and part trial.
Rob Holman, the Exeter opener who is a master at Blundell’s School, gets batting time as does former Heathcoat captain Liam Lewis, who is now with Sidmouth.
Sam Smith, the current Heathcoat captain, is in the 14-man squad for the fixture, which is hardly surprising as he made more than 600 league runs last season at an average in the early 40s.
Devon have run the rule over Smith before, but it is four years since he last came into the county orbit and the time is right for another look.
“The last time I had other priorities outside cricket and didn’t push myself forward,” said Smith.
“The situation has changed now and if Devon are interested, I would be as well.”
Devon are also having a look at Barnstaple’s Jack Popham and Sidmouth spinner Charlie Miles in better company.
Devon (squad): R J Holman (Exeter), R J Woodman (Taunton). M W Thompson (Torquay), L J Lewis (Sidmouth), J J Bess (Sidmouth). S J Smith (Heathcoat), A P W Allen (Exmouth), M C Golding, C Bradley (both Bovey Tracey), T S Anning (Exmouth)., M J L Kidd (Budleigh), R J Bougourd (Bovey Tracey), C L Miles (Sidmouth), J R Popham (Barnstaple and Pilton).