Crabb rifles Otters back to winning ways

Ollie Reed bowling at home for Ottery. Ref shsp 9138-26-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Ollie Reed bowling at home for Ottery. Ref shsp 9138-26-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

At the halfway stage of the Devon Cricket League season, Ottery St Mary 1st XI hold a healthy 27-point lead at the head of C Division (East) after they returned to winning ways with an excellent all-round display at near neighbours, Seaton, writes Ian Townsend.

After the Otters’ attack took full advantage of a decidedly ‘sporting’ wicket to hustle out the home side for a modest total, vice-captain Rob Crabb produced a typically hard hitting innings to set his side on the road to victory.

Seaton skipper, Joe Berry was soon to regret his decision to bat first as Ottery opening bowlers Will Harrison and Jody Clements ripped through the top order. Ollie Pinnock (5) edged Harrison to Lewis Townsend at second slip and as the Otters’ skipper shelled the catch, it flew to Crabb who clung on.

Star batsman Joel Seward (0) lasted just two deliveries as he gloved a ‘snorter’ from Harrison behind to Billy Reed and Mark Bray’s miscued drive off Clements skied to Billy Rudolph at cover to leave Seaton at 12-3.

Kevin Moran and Mike Wheeler briefly stopped the rot by adding 33 before Moran (24) edged Clements to Jack Pritchard, who took a fine tumbling catch at gully, and Wheeler (8), aiming a big drive at Harrison (3-38), gave Rudolph a second catch at cover. Seaton were rescued from the depths of 45-5 by a gutsy stand between Tim Mitchell and Chris Aplin. Both men frequently played and missed as the Ottery bowlers continued to take advantage of the helpful surface, but anything loose was well despatched and the total passed 100 before Mitchell (26) fell to a superb low catch by Alex Thurgate at backward point off Joe Birch.

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Left arm spinner Thurgate (2-39) soon claimed two scalps of his own as first Chris Aplin (36 with six fours) drove to Rudolph at extra cover, then Ben Libby (11) fell to a terrific diving catch by Harrison at cover.

The innings was soon wrapped up as Phil Collins (1) edged Rudolph behind to Reed and Berry (5) hit a steepler which was well pouched by Townsend at long off to give pick of the bowlers, Clements, his third victim (3-18).

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A 151-run target appeared tricky on an unreliable surface and sure enough, the Otters’ reply was soon dented by the loss of in-form opener, Dan Flower (0) who played on facing Berry. Crabb typically adopted an ‘if it’s up there, it’s going go’ approach!

Whilst riding his luck somewhat, the talented left hander teed off in spectacular fashion, unleashing a series of tremendous blows with Libby (0-39 in five overs) taking the brunt of the punishment.

A searing six over extra cover was followed by a majestic straight drive to bring up Crabb’s fifty (nine fours and a six) from just 33 balls before he edged Berry to second slip where Seward took a tremendous catch.

Reed (4) ‘fished’ at Berry (4-32) to give Seward a second victim and Rudolph’s patient knock (15 from 47 balls) ended as he edged the impressive paceman behind to Pinnock. However, with Pritchard then posting a solid 32 (five fours) and Townsend a fluent 38 not out (six fours and a six), the visitors clinched an eighth victory of the season in impressive fashion.

Seaton 150 (C Aplin 36, T Mitchell 26, K Moran 24, J Clements 3-19, W Harrison 3-38, A Thurgate 2-39) Ottery St Mary 154-5 (R Crabb 52, L Townsend 38*, J Pritchard 32, J Berry 4-32). Ottery St Mary (20pts) bt Seaton (5pts) by 5 wkts.

Otters Man of the Match – Rob Crabb

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