Thursday, May 8, 2014
The opening fixture of the new season saw Ottery St Mary 1st XI suffer one of their heaviest ever defeats as they were thrashed by hosts South Devon, writes Ian Townsend.
The Newton Abbot based outfit, relegated without a single victory in each of the last two seasons and clearly desperate to return to a higher level of cricket, embarked upon a closed season recruitment spree, the headline signing of which was professional all-rounder and former Sidmouth skipper, Neil Hancock.
Despite the Otters claiming an early scalp, courtesy of left arm pacer, Will Harrison who bowled David Knowles for a duck, the gulf in class between the sides was apparent from the off. Hancock and home skipper Ali Wright proceeded to slay the visiting attack to the tune of a 180 partnership in just 29 overs before the leg spin of new signing, Mickey Wilkinson (2-52) brought a temporary halt to the carnage. Hancock was caught and bowled one run short of a debut century, (five 6s and eight 4s in a 103-ball stay at the crease), shortly before Wright was caught by teenage debutant, Billy Reed, for 73 (six 4s and two 6s). However, in the face of a patchy visiting bowling display in which medium pacer James Faulkner disappeared for 66 in just nine overs, runs continued to flow – Sean Day’s 20 came from just 18 balls before he was bowled by a half fit Rob Crabb and Mike Smith bludgeoned 50, including three maximums, from just 35 balls faced as the home side posted an imposing 275-6. Joe Birch’s 1-35 from nine overs was the pick of the Otters’ bowling.
Ottery never recovered after a disastrous opening to their reply. First Smith bowled Wilkinson (2) with an unplayable ‘jaffa’, then Hancock castled fellow opener, Dan Flower (8) before skipper, Lewis Townsend (0) edged an excellent Smith out swinger behind to Wright leaving the Otters on an eye-watering 11-3. There was no way back for the visitors in the face of a bowling attack of a quality unlikely to be encountered at any other C Division club. Crabb (16) and 15 year old Billy Rudolph (6) resisted bravely and Reed posted a gritty 14 from 38 balls but Neil Maud (3-11) soon cleaned up the tail to consign the Otters to a crushing defeat.
Townsend’s men will be desperate to get their season on the road in this weekend’s clash with visiting Kingsbridge.
Ottery St Mary’s fledgling 3rd XI will be hoping to get their inaugural season underway with this weekend’s short trip to face Upottery 2nd XI after their opening fixture with visiting Feniton 2nd XI was called off due to the Acland Park outfit being unable to raise a side.
South Devon 275-6 (N.Hancock 99, A.Wright 73, M.Smith 50*, S,Day 20, M.Wilkinson 2-52) Ottery St Mary 70 (N.Maud 3-11, M.Smith 2-12, J.Martin 2-16, D.Kowles 2-19). South Devon (20pts) bt Ottery St Mary (3pts) by 205 runs.