Josh Bess will not phased by the Lord’s experience

Sidmouth's Dom Bess in action for Somerset.

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

Dom Bess is confident the occasion won’t get the better of him when he makes his debut for England in the first Test against Pakistan which begins at Lords on Thursday (May 24), , writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

The Sidmouth Under-13s with Dom Bess (second from the right in the seated row). Back row (left to ri

The Sidmouth Under-13s with Dom Bess (second from the right in the seated row). Back row (left to right) Coach Charlie Dibble, Callum Bray, Joe Griffiths, Anthony Dibble, Dan Powell, Jamie Briggs, George House. Front LtoR: Lee Clayden, Isaac Thomas, Dec Lines, Dom Bess and Louie Headon. Pic by Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Off-spinner Bess, who spent three years with Exeter after leaving Sidmouth, was a late replacement for Somerset colleague Jack Leach in the 12-man squad for England’s opening Test of the summer.

As Test debuts go, the stage doesn’t come any bigger than making yours at Lord’s, the west London home of cricket for more than 200 years.

Bess said that, if selected, there would be something wrong if you were not apprehensive about winning your first England cap in a Lord’s Test.

But he is confident of keeping the butterflies in the tummy fully under control.

At the Darren Lehmann Academy in Australia (left to right), Sarah Taylor (England wicket-keeper) Gra

At the Darren Lehmann Academy in Australia (left to right), Sarah Taylor (England wicket-keeper) Graham Clark (Durham CCC) Alex Frick, Dom Bess and Joe Gatting (Sussex CCC) - Credit: Archant


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“It is a big occasion in front of a big crowd, but when you strip it down it is just another game of cricket,” said Bess.

“You want to enjoy the occasion, but you are there to do a job and that’s what I intend to do.

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“My aim is to keep doing what I have been doing for the past couple of seasons, which earned me a place in the squad.”

Bess, a former Blundell’s schoolboy, has risen through the professional cricketing ranks like a cork out of a bottle over the past three seasons.

The Sidmouth Under-13s with Dom Bess (second from the right in the seated row). Back row (left to ri

The Sidmouth Under-13s with Dom Bess (second from the right in the seated row). Back row (left to right) Coach Charlie Dibble, Callum Bray, Joe Griffiths, Anthony Dibble, Dan Powell, Jamie Briggs, George House. Front LtoR: Lee Clayden, Isaac Thomas, Dec Lines, Dom Bess and Louie Headon. Pic by Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Three years ago he was a fringe player in Somerset’s 2nd XI, two years ago he broke into the First Class side towards the end of the summer and last season he became a regular.

The 20-year-old from Sidmouth has only played 16 First Class games and two of them were not for Somerset.

His stats include a game for England Lions in the West Indies and, more significantly, a man-of-the-match performance for MCC against Essex in Barbados in March in the annual game against the champion county from the previous season.

Bess, batting at number nine, scored his maiden First-Class hundred AND took six wickets for 51 runs when Essex batted a second time. He had eight for 108 in the match.

Dom Bess bowling for Sidmouth 2nd's against Bovey Tracey in August 2012. Photo by Terry Ife ref shsp

Dom Bess bowling for Sidmouth 2nd's against Bovey Tracey in August 2012. Photo by Terry Ife ref shsp 9621-32-12TI To Order a copy of this photo visit www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

His Somerset stats prove Bess can bowl – 37 wickets all in the early 20s – and his knock in Bridgetown underlined his potential as a genuine all-rounder.

Bess said he had worked hard to improve as a batsman and his primary motivation was to hold down a place in the Somerset side.

“When you are competing with Jack Leach, who has already played for England, for one spinners’ place in the team you need to offer as much as you can,” said Bess.

“Cricket is a three-dimensional game these days and you need to be a good fielder and capable of building an innings.”

Dom Bess in pre-Test match training prior to making hsi England debut against Pakistan at Lords

Dom Bess in pre-Test match training prior to making hsi England debut against Pakistan at Lords - Credit: Archant

Bess has come a long way from his early experiences of back garden cricket with his late-grandfather Gerald.

“He used to bowl spin at me and could be quite tricky go face,” said Bess.

The Bess family has been a Sidmouth sporting dynasty for more than half a century, starting with granddad Gerald, who played soccer for Sidmouth Town and cricket for Sidmouth CC.

Sons Russell (Dom’s dad), Graham and Greg were all cricketers and played rugby to county standard or higher with Exeter or Bath.

Graham’s three sons are Josh, Luke and Zac. Josh is Devon CCC captain, Luke is Sidmouth skipper and Zac is an all-rounder in the Devon team. All three play rugby for Sidmouth and Josh has played for Devon in that discipline too.

Test players only get four guest tickets for a match – and Dom has been oversubscribed with requests.

Mum, Dad and Grandma Maureen get a ticket, along with Dom’s girlfriend.

“All my cousins have got tickets and so have many of my friends,” said Dom.

“It feels like half of Sidmouth will be there to support me if I play. If granddad is watching too, I hope to do them all proud.”

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