Brook’s ‘fourfer’ and half centuries from West and Flower see Otters to victory
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After two lacklustre performances on the road, Ottery St Mary 1st XI returned to form with a convincing home victory over Exeter 2nd XI, writes Ian Townsend.
Teenage seamer Sam Brook produced a terrific spell to despatch the City side's top order and restrict the visitors to a below par total after which another fine innings from Ollie West, coupled with a welcome return to form for Dan Flower, saw the Otters cruise over the finishing line with fourteen overs to spare.
When the visitors won the toss and elected to bat, left arm paceman Joe Birch claimed the early scalp of Mike Wilkinson (6), courtesy of a catch by Lawrence Walker. Sean Langford and Toby Jones then posted an untroubled 47-run stand before the introduction of Brook changed the course of the innings.
Bowling with impressive control and deriving considerable swing and movement off the pitch, the youngster induced Jones (32) to edge to Flower at slip and castled Alec Horfield for a duck. When he then removed Marc Oelofse (0) in similar fashion and saw Langford (36) caught in the cordon by Jack Dallyn, supported by a typically miserly Jody Clements (0-16 from 9 overs), Brook had reduced the visitors to 84-5.
Leg spinners Dallyn (1-16) and West (2-10) pressed home the advantage and the Exeter innings looked all but done at 86-8.
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However, wayward spells from returning opening bowlers, Birch and Will Harrison saw the hard hitting Nick Horne (53 not out with nine fours and a six) and Matt Wood (26) add 74 for the ninth wicket in 12 overs before the latter was pouched by Flower off Birch (2-60). Disappointingly, by the time last man, number 11, Raff Piggot-Hill (1) was run out, the final two wickets had doubled the total to a still below-par-looking 173.
Brook (4-15 from 7.2.overs) was comfortably the pick of the Otters' bowlers.
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In reply the Otters were rarely troubled by a poor looking Exeter attack which featured no less than nine different bowlers.
West and Alex Clements (14) compiled a rapid 46-run opening stand before the latter was trapped lbw by Horfield but despite Rob Johns (4)
soon falling to Matt Williamson's catch off Wilkinson, West was looking in fine form. With solid support from Flower, the diminutive Aussie was harsh on a number of loose offerings in cruising to a fine 64 (four fours and three sixes) before departing to Harry Conway's catch off Oelofse.
The Otters were then guided to victory by Flower who showed admirable application in his unbeaten 48 from 82 balls (eight fours).
Although understandably pleased with the victory, Otters skipper Harrison identified room for improvement when he reflected: "Great to return to winning ways although we could have made it a lot easier - we let slip an otherwise excellent bowling performance by allowing Exeter so many runs for the ninth wicket.
"We need to be more ruthless. Sam Brooks was the obvious pick with an excellent 'fourfer' and great to see Dan Flower returning to form. He's been working really hard in the nets so nice to see him get some reward".
Exeter 2nd XI 173 (N Horne 53*, S Langford 36, T Jones 32, M Wood 26, S Brook 4-15, O West 2-10, J Birch 2-60) Ottery St Mary 175-3 (O West 64, D Flower 48*). Ottery St Mary (20pts) bt Exeter 2nd XI (5pts) by 7 wkts
Otters Man of the Match - Sam Brook