Sidmouth’s Zach Bess to lead Devon in opening Minor Championship game at Swansea

Zach Bess batting for Sidmouth in the win over North Devon. Picture GERRY HUNT

Zach Bess batting for Sidmouth in the win over North Devon. Picture GERRY HUNT - Credit: Archant

With regular skipper Alex Barrow unable to get time off work, Fortfield ground tea mate Zach Bess will lead Devon for the first time when they play their opening Minor Counties Championship game against Wales.

The three day game is being played at Pontarddulais near Swansea and gets underway on Sunday (June 23).

Bovey Tracey have four players in the squad; captain Toby Codd, batsman Josh Mailling and quick bowler Hugo Whitlock were in the Devon side that beat Cornwall twice in a day on Sunday in the final round of Unicorns T20 pool games.

Mailling, playing his first county game for two years, had combined figures of five for 35 from the games, both of which Devon won.

Abraham Kopparambil, the Bovey batsman who has been attracting attention from Somerset this season, is the fourth member of the squad.

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Kopparambil is averaging a fraction below 50 for Bovey in the Tolchards Devon Premier Division this season. School commitments have prevented him featuring before now.

Although the side contains six players whose club cricket is outside Devon, four of them came through the county age-group system with Devon clubs. They are Matt Thompson (Torquay), Matt Golding (Whimple/Bovey Tracey), Jamie Stephens (Tavistock), Max Curtis (North Devon) and Dan Goodey (Plymouth).

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Devon, who have signed Somerset's Peter Trego as their match professional this season, are under pressure to finish in the top half of the Western Division table this season.

Anything else will mean being placed in a new second division next summer when the competition introduced promotion and relegation for the first time.

Devon's interest in the T20 competition had ended before they met Cornwall last Sunday. Their back-to-back wins meant they climbed off the bottom of the pool table.

Devon (squad): Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), M W Thompson (St Fagins), P D Trego (Weston), J E Burke (Plymouth), J A Stephens (Taunton Deane), M H Curtis (St Cross), J H J Mailling (Bovey Tracey), M C Golding (Old Wilsonians), D J Goodey (Bashley), J O Hagan-Burt (Plymouth), H M Whitlock, T J R Codd, A S Kopparambil (all Bovey Tracey), E W O Middleton (Exeter).

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