Thursday, August 7, 2014
Ottery St Mary 1st XI last weekend firmly lay to rest the ghost of a shocking early season reverse against a poor Plymouth Civil Service and Roborough side as they crushed their opponents in the return fixture in West Devon, writes Ian Townsend.
A magnificent maiden century for the club by ex-Torquay man, Mickey Wilkinson laid the foundation for the triumph after which emerging spinner, Alex Thurgate produced another fine spell to hustle out the home side.
Batting first in extremely bowler friendly conditions, the Otters soon lost young opener, Billy Rudolph (0) who edged Matt Treverrow behind to Dan Sanders before Wilkinson and skipper Lewis Townsend posted a fine century stand in 19 overs.
Both men combatted the moving ball well whilst taking every chance to score. Townsend (53) launched Chris Sanders for a big maximum over long off shortly before reaching a run-a-ball fifty (seven fours, one six) but then holed out off the same bowler. Wilkinson was in complete control, however, and despite seeing Jack Pritchard (2) find long-on off Nathan Bulley, he soon reached a careful half century (69 balls). Dan Flower (22) batted solidly as a further 77 were added with Wilkinson opening up to reach a sparkling hundred from a further 32 balls. Sam Lynch leant explosive support, blasting 25 (including a huge six) from just 12 balls before being bowled by Dan Winsor after which Wilkinson, whose Premier League credentials were clearly evident, finally departed, stumped by Dan Sanders off Treverrow for 133 (22 fours and a six). A rapid late innings 23 from Thurgate boosted the Otters to 312-9, a total which was way over par.
Brian Gaylard (17) and Dan Sanders gave Civil a reasonable start in reply, the total reaching 33 before the former was trapped lbw by Will Harrison. Rudolph’s accuracy was then rewarded as Dan Sanders edged behind to Pritchard but Alan Smith and Brian Gaylard (41 with eight fours and a six) then batted solidly until the latter was struck in the face by the fiery Joe Birch and was sadly forced to retire hurt.
Civil were slipping way behind the clock and the introduction of Thurgate saw the home side’s innings cave-in. Extracting prodigious spin, the youngster soon induced Chris Sanders (8) to offer a catch to Birch. Three wickets fell with the score at 135 - Smith’s resistance was ended at 26 (60 balls) as he was lured down the track to be stumped by Pritchard off Thurgate, Winsor (8) was castled by off-spinner, Matt Reed and finally Andy Hawker (0) was pouched by Flower off Thurgate for a golden duck. Dan Ellard (14) was run out by Reed’s return from long-on and the Pritchard/Thurgate combination struck again, Bulley falling to a second stumping, before Rob Crabb wrapped things up by ending Sharp’s late resistance at 23, courtesy of a catch in the covers by Townsend, handing the visitors a 127-run win.
The Otters’ skipper afterwards paid tribute to his two star performers, commenting: “Having lost the toss, on a wet track, to post 300 was a fantastic effort. Batting was very difficult early on but Mickey’s innings was flawless, one of the best I’ve seen from our guys in a long time. It set up the win and I was really pleased for him to score runs. We also bowled well and the fielding was much improved. Alex is turning into a very useful all-round cricketer and his left arm spin is a real asset to us”.
Ottery St Mary 312-9 (M Wilkinson 133, L Townsend 53, D Flower 25, S Lynch 25, A Thurgate 23, A Smith 2-33, D Winsor 2-57, M Treverrow 2-65) Plymouth Civil Service and Roborough 185-9 (R Gaylard ret hurt 41, A Smith 26, J Sharp 23, A Thurgate 4-26). Ottery St Mary (20pts) bt Plymouth Civil Service and Roborough (8pts) by 127 runs.
Otters Man of the Match – Mickey Wilkinson