Bess gets England Lions call-up to take on South Africa

Sidmouth's Dom Bess in action for Somerset.

Sidmouth's Dom Bess in action for Somerset. - Credit: Archant

Dom Bess has been called up into the England Lions squad for next week’s four-day game against the touring South Africans, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Bess is joined in the Lions squad by fellow Somerset players Jack Leach and Jamie Overton.

Off-spinner Bess, like Overton, dual registered with Somerset and Devon, appeared for England Under-19s last season and by the end of it was taking wickets in Somerset’s 1st XI.

Bess can’t put a foot wrong at the moment when playing for Somerset in the County Championship.

He took 10 wickets in the match against Hampshire two weeks ago and followed up with seven more in the defeat by Yorkshire earlier this week.

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Keith Donohue, Devon’s director of cricket, said he wasn’t that surprised Bess had been called up after just five appearances for Somerset in the County Championship.

“The volume of wickets he has been taking won’t have gone un-noticed and the powers that be probably think they ought to have a look at him and see what he is all about,” said Donohue.

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“Dom works tremendously hard at his game and everyone within Devon cricket will wish him all the best if he does get to play against the South Africans.”

Bess currently plays Premier cricket for Exeter when his Somerset commitments allow.

Previously, he played for Sidmouth, although a lot of his cricket development took place while he was a pupil at Blundell’s School, Tiverton.

Liam Lewis, the head of cricket at Blundell’s, is a Devon colleague and a former Sidmouth team-mate.

Lewis said Bess had made a conscious decision to work hard on his game and was seeing the rewards.

“I think the first winter Dom spent in Australia (15-16) with a club over there was the turning point for him,” said Lewis.

“He was always a good cricketer but not necessarily one you would identify at a young age as a rising star.

“Dom has worked hard on his game and hard on his fitness and shows the self-discipline you need to be a top, professional sportsman.

“That is very apparent when he plays for Devon, that and the desire to succeed.’

“All of us at Blundell’s are so pleased for Dom and hope this is another step on the career path for him.”

Miles Lenygon, the Exeter captain, was one of the first people to ring Bess and offer his congratulations.

Lenygon said Bess’ selection for the Lions was something the club and the player can be rightly proud of.

“When we signed Dom from Sidmouth he was knocking around the fringes of the Somerset Academy and 2nd XI cricket,” said Lenygon.

“We gave Dom the opportunities he was not able to get at Sidmouth and over the next couple of years we saw glimpses of the player he could become.

“The turning point for Dom was the first winter he spent in Adelaide playing Grade cricket.

“He came back a totally different player and a more determined person. What came back was a 1st XI county cricketer in the making, one who was going to be better than league and Minor Counties cricket pretty soon.”

Glenn Lammonby, the director of cricket at Exeter, said: “It is a great achievement – absolutely huge.

“Dom works so hard on his game, whether it is when he plays for us or with Somerset.

“It seems like every time he bowls for Somerset now, he takes five wickets.”

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