Bowlers come up trumps for the Otters

The Ottery St Mary 1st XI: Back row (left to right); Back row: Ollie Reed, Mickey Wilkinson, Billy R

The Ottery St Mary 1st XI: Back row (left to right); Back row: Ollie Reed, Mickey Wilkinson, Billy Reed, Will Harrison, Joe Birch, Matt Reed and Pete Gascoigne (scorer) Front row: Billy Rudolph, George Biggs, Rob Crabb (capt), Alex Thurgate and Jody Clements - Credit: Archant

Despite a patchy batting display and a fielding performance which fell below their usual excellent standard, Ottery St Mary 1st XI clinched a narrow, but deserved 21-run victory over visiting Shobrooke Park courtesy of a tremendous showing from their bowlers, writes Ian Townsend.

The Salston Field outfit therefore cemented their place in the top three of the table with their debut campaign in B Division approaching the halfway stage.

Home opener Dan Flower (3) departed early as he was bowled through the gate aiming an expansive drive at Ben Trenaman. Billy Rudolph and George Biggs then made batting look easy as they posted an impressive 80-run stand, both men playing in pleasingly correct fashion until Biggs was desperately unlucky to be run out when Rudolph’s firm drive was inadvertently deflected onto the stumps by left arm seamer and Shobrooke skipper, Chris Simpson. Rudolph, who showed signs of returning to his eye-catching form of last season, then succumbed for 45 (seven fours), guiding Simpson into the hands of Phil Anning at slip to leave Ottery at 91-3.

Billy Reed and Jody Clements added 48 in good time before Clements (16) chipped the innocuous-looking off-spinner, Anning to mid-wicket and when Joe Henkus (3) was bowled by James Bevan and Billy Reed (35) gifted his wicket to Anning (2-43) by holing out to Richard Pyle at long-off, the home side were wobbling at 148-6 on a good batting track.

Rob Crabb (18) and Ed Fowler (18) compiled a useful 31, but the trend for Ottery batsmen to get a start but fail to kick on continued when the Otters’ skipper was trapped lbw to Simpson (4-34) who also claimed the wickets of Ollie Reed (15) and Will Harrison (4) as the Otters closed on a disappointing 216 all out.

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As Park replied teenage paceman Ollie Reed struck an important early blow for the Otters, seaming in a delivery to clip the off pole of South African overseas Jacques Budricks (4), caught shouldering arms.

However, with the normally dangerous Will Harrison struggling to find his rhythm, Simpson and Jon James took the score past 50 in relatively untroubled fashion. Home change bowlers Clements and Joe Birch turned the contest as they bowled an exemplary line and length to concede only 16 runs in nine overs.

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The resultant pressure yielded the wickets of Jon James (20), well held by Ollie Reed in the covers, and Pyle, comprehensively cleaned up for a first ball duck, both falling to Clements. However, Simpson was battling hard and in the company of Anning, he added 34 before the latter was well held in the deep by Biggs, Rudolph the beneficiary. Despite seeing Andrew Codling (16) fall to Harrison (1-42), Simpson reached a patient 50 (76 balls) before holing out for 62, Flower holding the catch at deep mid-wicket off Rudolph (2-40). Clements (3-35) capped a terrific spell with a wicket maiden during which Chris Ford (7) was bowled.

Aided by some uncharacteristically sloppy ground fielding, Trenaman kept visiting hopes alive with some lusty late blows but after an excellent penultimate over from Biggs (his first bowl in two seasons!), Crabb (2-12) claimed the last two wickets.

Trenaman (44 from 41 balls) was well held in the deep by Fowler and Ben Wonnacott (0) trapped lbw as the Otters secured a hard fought 21 run win.

Ottery St Mary 216 (B Rudolph 45, B Reed 35, G Biggs 27, C Simpson 4-34, P Anning 2-43) Shobrooke Park 195 (C Simpson 62, B Trenaman 44, J James 20, J Clements 3-35, R Crabb 2-12, B Rudolph 2-40). Ottery St Mary (20pts) bt Shobrooke Park (9pts) by 21 runs.

Otters Man of the Match – Jody Clements

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