Sidmouth’s Zach Bess to skipper Devon at Cheshire
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Sidmouth’s Zak Bess will skipper the Devon team in the three-day game against Cheshire starting at Alderley Edge on Sunday, writes Conrad Sutcliffe
Bess is the official number two to Sidmouth clubmate Alex Barrow, who was appointed captain earlier in the season.
Work commitments mean Barrow cannot make the trip to the Cheshire stockbroker belt for the game, so Bess will be in charge of the county side for the first time.
Devon are under pressure to get a result against Cheshire after losing by four wickets to Wiltshire at Sandford two weeks ago.
Defeat dropped Devon from sixth to seventh in the Western Division of 10 teams.
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The bottom five will be relegated into a new Western Division Two next season as promotion and relegation comes into a slimmed down Unicorns Championship.
Devon's management wants to avoid being placed in the lower tier, which means the team has three games to turn things round.
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And Cheshire would be a good place to start as they are one of the three teams below Devon in the table.
Jamie Baird, a 16-year-old keeper-batter on the Somerset Academy, will make his debut for Devon due to a keeping crisis.
Matt Thompson is working, so is Barrow who used to keep for Somerset, and George Allen has a hand injury that prevents him keeping but is less of a hindrance when batting.
Devon's provisional 12-man squad contains three spinners - Toby Codd, Ed Middleton and Jamie Stephens - all of whom could feature in the match.
Wayne White, Devon's match professional, was with Cheshire last season and has passed on some inside information to Tall.
"The track at Alderley Edge is prone to breaking up over three days, which is why we have gone for three spinners," said Tall.
Devon's next match is the three-dayer against Oxfordshire at Sidmouth on August 18-19-20.
Devon (from): G B Allen (Torquay), J W Baird (North Perrott), M Pugh (Torquay), B A Beaumont (Cornwood), W A White (Leek), Z G G Bess (Sidmouth), J A Stephens (Taunton Deane), M P Skeemer (Cornwood), D J Goodey (Bashley), T J R Codd (Bovey Tracey), E W O Middleton (Exeter), H M Whitlock (Bovey Tracey).