Sidmouth star Cooke called up by Devon for three-day Minor Counties match


************* - Credit: Archant

DEVON have added two new faces to their squad for the Minor Counties Championship opener against Cornwall at Exeter starting on Sunday.

Sidmouth’s Matt Cooke has been rewarded for his fine form with the bat this season with a call-up to the Devon side for the Minor Counties Championship opener against Cornwall at Exeter starting on Sunday.

Cooke is a full-time cricket development office with the Devon Cricket Board, based just a six-hit away from the County Ground on the University of Exeter campus and he can also bowl spin which is something the selectors are looking for as one-day specialist Gary Chappell isn’t available for three-day matches.

Also in is Bradninch spin bowler Will Squire, who bowled his way into contention by taking five wickets for a Devon League XI against Cornwall on Sunday.

Otherwise, the squad is almost indistinguishable from the one Devon took to Whitchurch to face Shropshire in the final match last season.

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Opening batsman Rob Woodman is missing – Devon are unsure how much of him they will see this season – and seamer Matt Kidd is included.

Exmouth paceman Mark Orchard, who had a six-wicket debut in the rain-ruined game against Shropshire, keeps his place in the side.

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Devon have named 13 as they have injury doubts over all-rounder Josh Bess and opening bowler Trevor Anning.

Bess suffered a thumb injury playing for Sidmouth against North Devon last Saturday, which forced him to pull out of Devon’s game against Bedfordshire the following day.

Anning was hit on the hand fielding a drive off his own bowling in the win over Cornwall three weeks ago and hasn’t played since.

Devon officials will be hoping the current fine weather stays in place for the duration of the game, which marks a long-overdue return to the County Ground.

Devon were due to play at Exeter last season, but the game against Dorset was rained off without a ball being bowled.

The County Ground was Devon’s preferred venue for majority matches between the two world wars, but use was discontinued in 1987 due to the deteriorating state of the ground and Devon have not been back there since for anything other than a one-day fixture.

Cornwall are the defending Minor Counties champions, having won the title for the first time last season.

However, Devon have a slight psychological advantage over the old enemy, having beaten them in the one-day MCCA Trophy last month.

Devon: R J Holman (Exeter), J E Burke (Budleigh), D F Lye (Exmouth), J J Bess (Sidmouth), S R Benton (Exmouth), M R Cooke (Sidmouth), M W Thompson (Torquay), M C Golding (Bovey Tracey), T C Anning (Exmouth), C Bradley (Bovey), M J L Kidd (Budleigh), M A Orchard (Exmouth), W D Squire (Bradninch).

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