Ottery St Mary bag fine win at Clyst Hydon thanks to brilliance from Birch

PUBLISHED: 21:46 03 July 2014

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A spirited performance from the lower order followed by a ferocious spell of pace bowling from left armer, Joe Birch, saw fast-improving Ottery St Mary 1st XI claim an excellent third successive victory from last weekend’s short trip to Clyst Hydon, writes Ian Townsend.

After a rain delay truncated proceedings to 40 overs-a-side, having been put in, despite being confronted by pacey Sri Lankan Danuta Haturasinghe and experienced swing merchant, Kevin Sercombe, the Otters were given a sound start by Billy Reed and Dan Flower, as 29 were added in eight overs before Haturasinghe bowled the former for sixteen. This precipitated a major top order collapse which saw Flower (18) half-heartedly chip Will Thornton to Haturasinghe in the covers, Mickey Wilkinson (8) lose his off pole to an excellent nip-backer from James Billington and Thornton (3-36) claim two more victims as Sam Tennant (6) was smartly stumped by home skipper, Ian Sutton and Rob Crabb (0) drove recklessly to Chris Holmes in the covers.

Despite a sweetly struck straight six, in-form skipper Lewis Townsend (8) was unable to rescue his side from 52-5 as he hammered a Billington full toss to extra cover but Sam Lynch and teenager Billy Rudolph then embarked upon an excellent 66-run stand which changed the game. Lynch was timing the ball sweetly as he struck a series of fine boundaries, including a push driven maximum off Haturasinghe, whilst Rudolph (21) batted with impressive maturity before being bowled by Chris Holmes. Lynch appeared unfortunate to be adjudged lbw to Holmes for 48 (nine fours, one six) but on his departure former skipper Jody Clements (32 from 33 balls) and Birch (17 including a straight six) took over to boost their side to a respectable 202 all out.

Sharp fielding from Birch saw George Pawley run out for a duck as Clyst replied, but Holmes and Sutton appeared well set as they pounced on anything loose to take the total rapidly to 32. However, left arm seamer Will Harrison was deriving considerable swing at a decent pace and Holmes (17) was duly castled by a trademark inswinger before Sercombe (2) departed in similar fashion to leave the total on 52-3.

Clyst then suffered a serious blow as Sutton (34), who was batting solidly, fell victim to a superb leg side stumping by Reed off a wide from Rudolph. Clinton Lewis and Haturasinghe stopped the rot with a useful 44-run stand but both batsmen were looking uncomfortable as Birch began to build up a head of steam which saw the young speedster derive prodigious bounce from the helpful surface. As Crabb provided excellent support, Birch (4-35) ripped out the lower middle order. Haturasinghe fended a lifting ball to Townsend at square leg, Shaun Devine (0) and Lewis (29) both edged behind to Reed and Hefin Wood was trapped plumb lbw. The omnipresent Birch took a fine running catch to pouch Billington (2) off the steady Rudolph (2-29) before spirited late resistance from Martin Dudley (18) and Thornton (9*) was ended by the deserving Crabb who bowled the former to land the visitors a fine 36-run triumph.

Otters Man of the Match – Joe Birch

Ottery St Mary 202 (S Lynch 48, J Clements 32, Extras 28, B Rudolph 21; W Thornton 3-36, J Billington 2-33, C Holmes 2-40, D Haturasinghe 2-45), Clyst Hydon 166 (I Sutton 34, C Lewis 29, J Birch 4-35, B Rudolph 2-29, W Harrison 2-34).

Ottery St Mary (20pts) bt Clyst Hydon (8pts) by 36 runs.

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