Bradshaw-Smith claims figures of four for three from five as promoted Otters end season with victory

Despite registering their fourteenth win of a memorable season with a consummate all round performance against visiting Clyst Hydon, Ottery St Mary agonisingly missed out on winning the C Division title as leaders, Ipplepen, maintained their single point lead with a maximum points victory over relegated Axminster, writes Ian Townsend.

Having been asked to bat first, the Otters recovered well from the early loss of George Biggs (0) who was bowled by the impressive Duncan Sykes. Ed Fowler (28) teed off to boost the score to 25 after three overs and, in partnership with sixteen year old Sam Loud, the opener compiled a 56-run stand before he too was castled by Sykes. Skipper Gavin Iley fell for yet another duck as he was caught off Chris Holmes, but Loud and Steve Forbes then posted an excellent 67 run stand in 18 overs with Loud, in particular, batting very correctly and driving the ball well. The youngster finally departed, bowled by Lee Morgan for 63 (seven 4s) but the innings was given real momentum by Rick Jackson, who blasted a rapid 18, then Rob Bradshaw-Smith who hammered an unbeaten 33 from just 20 balls including an effortless six lofted into the adjoining caravan park. Forbes, who once again had played an excellent sheet anchor role, reached an unbeaten fifty (four 4s) in the final over of the innings which closed at a useful 231-6. Sykes (2-53 from 11 overs) and Morgan (2-30 from 11 overs) were the pick of the Clyst bowlers.

Clyst’s reply was decidedly lacking in application against a home attack deriving swing, seam movement and considerable turn. Zac Johns’s swing accounted for Simon Holmes (0) and although Matt Fitt (25) struck some useful blows, the young left armer eventually removed him as well, bowled for 25. Bradshaw-Smith (4-3 from 5 overs) then delivered a seam bowling master class after his first delivery nipped back to castle Chris Holmes whose patchy 27 included some fine drives. ‘RBS’ also accounted for Simon Hodgson (5) and Lee Bowen (5) to leave the visitors in the mire at 84-6. On a turning, bouncy track, the remaining batsmen struggled against young spinners, Loud and Matt Reed. Loud’s leg spin accounted for Rick Martin (3), Sykes (0) and Morgan whose thick outside edge was brilliantly pouched one handed by the diving Reed. Reed, who was flighting the ball beautifully, reaped his reward as Tim Pettitt (0) who was bowled by a teasing off break before Keith Biggs cleaned out last man, Mike Dowell to complete the job for the Otters.

A proud but slightly frustrated Otters’ skipper afterwards reflected: “I’m gutted that we didn’t win the league but once again our youngsters have been magnificent throughout the season. The challenge we now face is to begin to integrate the next crop of talent into men’s cricket so that we continue to reap the rewards of the efforts of the Youth Section”.

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