Under strength Otters well beaten

PUBLISHED: 20:32 04 September 2014

Despite the long trip to Plymstock resulting in a heavy end of season defeat, Ottery St Mary 2nd XI can be justifiably proud of a terrific A Division debut campaign which saw Rick Jackson’s men claim a highly creditable third place in the league, writes Ian Townsend.

Fielding a painfully under strength side, the Salston Field outfit were always likely to be up against it. Nevertheless, teenage left armers Jack Webber, making his 2nd XI debut, and George Southall-Brown, returning from a long injury lay-off, delivered steady opening spells which saw the latter claim the wicket of Paul Burleson (9) who edged behind to Jackson. However, despite a frugal five over spell from Zac Johns, in which he conceded just 11 runs, Steve Coomer then played a steady sheet anchor innings, sharing partnerships of 42 with Dean Fulco and 76 with Adam O’Brien as the score progressed to 150 from 38 overs. Makeshift bowlers unavoidably played a prominent role in the Otters’ attack, the very occasional leg spin (?) of Steve Forbes accounting for Fulco (27), pouched by Webber, before O’Brien (34) was snared lbw by Johns. Coomer’s watchful 62 (121 balls, five fours) was ended by a Joe Henkus catch off the returning Southall-Brown (2-68) but runs flowed over the remaining seven overs, 66 being added largely due to the efforts of Sahid Ali (32 from 24 balls with three sixes) who was eventually stumped by Jackson off Johns who returned a creditable 3-41. Henkus (0-19 from 7 overs) stood out amongst the part time bowlers.

A 217-run victory target appeared to be a tall order for a thin looking Ottery batting line up. Nevertheless, the visitors were given a solid start by Henkus and Richard Kitzinger, both of whom played circumspectly to see off a probing opening spell from Ali (0-5 from 6 overs) before upping the run rate as the change bowlers appeared. The stand had reached 42 in the 16th over when Kitzinger (18) was bowled by Fulco but Henkus was producing another mature knock. Partnerships of 33 with Forbes, who was bowled by David Grant for 15, and 24 with Jackson (18), who fell to a catch by Liam Savage off the same bowler, took the total to a promising 99 in the 30th over. However, after Henkus’s patient 40 (91 balls) was ended by a run out, in the face of tight spells from Grant (3-39) and Duncan Brace (3-29), regular wickets ensued. Despite Webber’s breezy 17 from 11 balls, Fulco (3-17) returned to bowl former skipper Gavin Iley (11) before inducing Guy Peters (4) to offer a catch to Ali as the Otters slipped to a 71-run reverse.

Plymstock 215-6 (S Coomer 62, A O’Brien 34, S Ali 32, Z Johns 3-41, G Southall-Brown 2-68) Ottery St Mary 141 (J Henkus 40, D Fulco 3-17, D Brace 3-29, D Grant 3-39). Plymstock (20pts) bt Ottery St Mary (5pts) by 71 runs.

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