Clements puts Otters in seventh heaven

Cricket. A view from the score box

Cricket. A view from the score box - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary 1st XI stand on the threshold of promotion to the uncharted waters of B Division of the Tolchard’s Devon League after crushing third placed Alphington by nine wickets, writes Ian Townsend.

In a truly bizarre contest, paceman Jody Clements produced a career best seven wicket burst to humiliate one of the pre-season promotion favourites.

Coupled with second placed Uplyme’s surprise home defeat to Clyst Hydon, the result means that the Otters now require just nine more points from their remaining two fixtures to clinch the league title.

After visiting skipper Lewis Townsend won an important toss, the Alphas batsmen contrived to make an awkward, drying track look like a veritable minefield! Seamers Will Harrison and Ollie Reed (2-6) immediately set the tone by delivering four successive maidens whereupon home openers, Tony Shepherd and Dave Haysom ran out a patience to both be caught off Reed without scoring. Sanity briefly prevailed as Lee Rowe (17) and Mark Porter added 35 before the former was well held by Townsend at slip off Billy Rudolph (1-20).

Tight bowling and sharp ground fielding saw the score crawl past 50 in the 21st over and with the introduction of Clements, the innings completely imploded. Since relinquishing the captaincy in 2014, the 28 year old paceman has rediscovered his zest for bowling and, having this season delivered numerous excellent spells, he here proceeded to claim the hat full of wickets he has frequently deserved. Porter (19) edged to Townsend at slip, driving then Paul Morgan (0) inexplicably shouldered arms to be castled first ball. Incredibly, as Clements maintained an impeccable line and length, Iain McDonald (14), Alan Davey (2), Tom Baxter (1) and Ben Newcombe (2) all produced loose shots to see their stumps shattered as just six runs were added. When home skipper Stuart Shaw (0) then fended a lifting ball to Matt Reed in the gully, lacklustre Alphington had subsided to a pitiful 62 all out and Clements had returned the best analysis by an Otters’ bowler in many a long year, 7-9 from 6.3 overs!

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Townsend (8) was trapped lbw by Newcombe as the Otters replied but, aided by 19 extras from their hapless hosts, Rudolph (24* with four boundaries) and Rob Crabb (14*) produced some fine shots to make short shrift of chasing down their modest target. Just 8.3 overs were required for the visitors to claim their fourteenth victory of an amazing season. Townsend’s men will need little motivating for this weekend’s short trip to Feniton where victory would avenge an early season home defeat and see them crowned as champions.

Reflecting on his devastating spell, Clements explained: “The pitch had a little bit in it – I just put it up there and asked questions of the batsman. It’s certainly the best spell I’ve ever bowled.” He continued: “We’d have been happy just winning against third in the league, but to come away with twenty points is fantastic!”

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Alphington 62 (J Clements 7-9, O Reed 2-6) Ottery St Mary 65-1 (B Rudolph 24*). Ottery St Mary (20pts) bt Alphington (0pts) by 9 wkts.

Otters Man of the Match – Jody Clements

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