Debut hat-trick as Ottery net league opening day success

Wicket keeper Alex Clements for Ottery against Sidmouth. Ref shsp 25 18TI 5836. Picture: Terry Ife

Wicket keeper Alex Clements for Ottery against Sidmouth. Ref shsp 25 18TI 5836. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Boosted by a hat-trick from debutant Harsha Liyanage, Ottery St Mary 1st XI got their new Tolchard’s Devon League campaign off to the perfect start with a hard fought victory over Shobrooke Park, writes Ian Townsend.

Ottery St Mary 1st XI Tolchards Devon League fixtures for 2019. Picture ARCHANT

Ottery St Mary 1st XI Tolchards Devon League fixtures for 2019. Picture ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

After the home seam attack took full advantage of helpful early season conditions to restrict the newly relegated visitors to a modest total, fine innings from returning Aussie overseas, Ollie West, and promising teenager, Lawrence Walker, guided the Otters home.

Park were soon in trouble in the face of probing opening spells from left arm pacemen Will Harrison and Joe Birch.

With Harrison removing Luke Gammon (4), courtesy of a Dan Flower catch at second slip, then castling Essex Premier League player, Joe Robbins for a duck and Birch cleaning up Dan Robbins (14), the score stood at 26-3.

Neil Branton and Tom Youngman (13) steadied the ship with a 48-run stand before the off spin of West (1-28) accounted for the latter.

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A further 30 were added by Branton and Chris Ford before the former's obdurate knock was terminated at 42 (he hit four fours and one six from a 97-ball stay at the crease) via West's catch off Jody Clements.

The introduction of Liyanage (3-18) saw Shobrooke's innings enter terminal decline. The Sri Lankan former Countess Wear all-rounder bagged a sensational debut hat-trick as first, a Rob Johns catch sent back veteran Richard Pyle (2) after which the next two deliveries saw Nick Ladd bowled and Bruce Kerry pinned, leg before wicket (lbw).

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When Clements (3-21) then removed tail-enders Ben Trenaman, via a brilliant catch from Flower, and Mark Wheeler, both for ducks, the visitors had been skittled for 125, their last four wickets adding just seven runs. Fourteen-year-old 1st XI debutant, Walker, turned in a polished display behind the wicket.

After Trenaman removed Flower lbw for a duck, West (48 with six fours) batted solidly in sharing useful stands with Johns (12) and Walker to take the score to 82-3 in reply before being trapped lbw by the pacey Joe Robbins. What followed was an innings of remarkable maturity from Walker.

Despite seeing Clements (6) trapped lbw by Dan Robbins and both Sam Brook (4) and Rick Jackson (0) cleaned up by Joe Robbins, the youngster showed impressive composure in guiding his side home with a patient undefeated 23 from 61 balls. Joe Robbins was by far the pick of the visitors' bowling returning an impressive 3-9 from his eight overs.

Post match, Otters' skipper, Harrison, enthused: "After a good bowling and fielding performance, to chase down a tricky little score on an early season wicket was extremely pleasing.

"The two debutants, Harsha and Lawrence, put in great performances, each really taking their opportunity which was fantastic to see!"

Match stats

Shobrooke Park 125 (N Branton 42, C Ford 21*, H Liyanage 3-18, J Clements 3-21, W Harrison 2-27). Ottery St Mary 127-7 (O West 48, L Walker 23*, J Robbins 3-9, D Robbins 2-26). Ottery St Mary (19pts) bt Shobrooke Park (6pts) by 3 wkts.

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