Friday, August 22, 2014
Ottery St Mary 1st XI paid the price for a display which was slightly under par in all facets of the game as the short trip to Alphington resulted in a frustrating three wicket defeat, writes Ian Townsend.
Despite undeniably encountering the worst of the batting conditions, the Otters would have hoped to have posted a more competitive total than their 202-7 and when they then produced a bowling display lacking in the overall control of recent contests, coupled with some vital dropped catches, a home victory was always on the cards.
As home paceman Tom Bath struggled for line and length, the Otters were given a decent 61-run start by Lewis Townsend (29) and youngster Billy Rudolph but after Andy Wilson produced a delivery which popped, forcing the Otters skipper to offer a catch to gully and Rudolph (14) was pouched as he top edged Paul James, the total stood at 82-2.
Wilson (3-26) soon removed both Alex Thurgate (0) and Dan Flower (1), but teenage number three bat Billy Reed was batting in impressive style as 73 runs were added in partnership with vice-captain Rob Crabb. Reed eventually departed for 58 (six fours), caught by James off home skipper Stuart Shaw who then bowled Crabb (30). From 184-6, as the Alphas continued to bowl tightly, Ottery never regained their momentum despite some late resistance from Sam Lynch (20 not out).
As the visitors closed on a total 20-30 runs under par, Shaw returned 3-34 but James was the standout bowler with 1-18 from nine overs.
Good opening spells by left armers Joe Birch and Will Harrison reduced the Alphas reply to 41-3. Tom Baxter (4) fell to a catch by teenager Harry Conway at mid-off off Birch and Dave Haysom (27) was very well held by the same fielder off Harrison (2-43) who soon bowled Mike Shepherd.
However, Danesh Raheja and Bath (18) then added a useful 47 before the latter fell to Conway’s third catch of the day, Rudolph the beneficiary. At 88-4 the Otters had cause for optimism but, as vital chances were grassed, the contest was taken away from the Salston Field side by a fine innings from James.
The all-rounder unleashed numerous classy shots as 85 were added with the dogged Raheja. Birch returned to deliver a very rapid late spell which was rewarded with the wickets of Raheja (47 from 82 balls), caught behind by Reed, and John Hill, bowled for a single, but the Alphas were guided home with three overs to spare by the excellent James whose 72 not out contained 13 boundaries. Birch’s 3-25 from nine overs was comfortably the pick of the Otters’ bowling.
Townsend afterwards acknowledged that his side had collectively been a little off colour when he commented: “We’ve probably come up a little bit short all round – we didn’t quite score enough runs, we didn’t bowl as well as we can and we dropped a couple of tough catches. Its fine margins but, in a close game like that, they’re the things which count”.
Ottery St Mary 202-7 (B.Reed 58, R.Crabb 30, L.Townsend 29, S.Lynch 20*, A.Wilson 3-26, S.Shaw 3-34) Alphington 204-7 (P.James 72*, D.Raheja 47, D.Haysom 27, J.Birch 3-25, W.Harrison 2-43). Alphington (18pts) bt Ottery St Mary (8pts) by 3 wkts.