DEVON will be hoping to move another step closer to a return to the top flight of county rugby on Saturday when they travel to North Midlands in the Bill Beaumont Cup (3pm).
The Green and Whites, Twickenham finalists six times between 2000 and 2008, claimed their first win for six years last Saturday when they convincingly beat Somerset 39-10 at Teignmouth in Division Two South.
Another victory this weekend at Dudley Kingswinford would leave Devon just one game away from promotion and another Twickenham final appearance.
Ivybridge’s Lewis Paterson will again be flying the flag for the Plymouth Combination sides in the Devon squad.
He will start at outside centre after scoring one of Devon’s tries against Somerset. He also scored for Devon last season against the North Midlands.
Paterson’s Ivybridge team-mate Dom Loomes, who made an impact after coming on as a replacement against Somerset, is unavailable for this weekend’s trip to Dudley.
Devon make just two personnel changes to their starting line-up that ran in six tries against Somerset. They are both in the pack with Exmouth’s Nigel Berry coming in at tight-head prop for Matt Dowrick and Newton Abbot’s Alex Smith coming into the back-row for the unavailable Sam Thomas.
Thomas’ absence sees last week’s man-of-the-match and former Albion player Dan Williams switch from six to number eight.
North Midlands, with former Devon-based players Jake Nash and Oli Rayner in their squad, opened their campaign with a 43-28 defeat at Kent last weekend.
The North Midlands, who beat Devon 34-24 at Brixham last year, were unable to call on any first-choice Luctonians players last Saturday as they had a rearranged National Two league match.
Jon Hill, one of Devon’s coaches, said: “We know nothing about North Midlands, but we knew nothing about Somerset. That’s the beauty of the County Championship.
“The North Midlands could make 10 changes to their side and be much stronger.
“But we can only prepare as we have been doing and keep building on our set-piece, strike-rate, kick game and defence.
“I think last Saturday was the culmination of four or five sessions together and a couple of games together. We brought in some guys and they made a big different in Saturday’s game.
“The biggest thing was just getting a win. We got a bonus point with that so we started the Championship off with a bang.”
DEVON TEAM TO FACE NORTH MIDLANDS
15 Dan Powell (Exmouth)
14 Will Topps (Barnstaple)
13 Lewis Paterson (Ivybridge)
12 Mark Wathes (Exmouth)
11 Ollie Rice (Exmouth)
10 Steve Perry (Barnstaple)
9 Jordan Petherbridge (Barnstaple)
1 Isaac Dalton (Exmouth)
2 Dean Avery (Newton Abbot)
3 Nigel Berry (Exmouth)
4 Adam Thomas (Brixham, capt)
5 Jack Fahy (Exmouth)
6 Alex Smith (Newton Abbot)
7 Wayne Sprangle (Tiverton)
8 Dan Williams (Torquay)
Replacements: Chey Bryce (Brixham), Matt Dowrick (Newton Abbot), Jack Rouse (Exeter University), Tom Goodman (Brixham), George Meadows (Exmouth), TBC, TBC,