Disappointing end to Otters' 2nd XI season

A lack of batting strength in depth allied to some wayward pace bowling cost Ottery St Mary 2nd XI dear.

A lack of batting strength in depth allied to some wayward pace bowling cost Ottery St Mary 2nd XI dear as their season ended in defeat after a disappointing display against lowly Kingsbridge.

Despite a flying start to the visitors' innings, the Otters' bowlers came back well to restrict the South Devon side to a gettable total, but inexperience and a lack of application then saw the home side's reply go into terminal decline.

Kingsbridge looked set for a monster total as openers James Westlake and skipper Vern Etoe tucked into some erratic opening bowling, particularly from Joe Birch. After his terrific early season form, the young left armer has consistently struggled for line and length, epitomised here by no less than 12 wides delivered in just four overs. It took the introduction of change bowlers Nick Doman and Jon Phillips to exert some control and, after the total had raced to 80 in 18 overs, Doman removed Etoe (29) who yorked himself before Joe Buckle gave a return catch to Phillips to depart for a duck. The 18-year-old former Taunton School pupil soon claimed two further wickets to leave the visitors at 101-4 before a 33-run stand between Westlake and John Dorey steadied the ship.

Rookie keeper Louis Biggs claimed a fine low catch to remove Dorey off Sam Bowyer-Thornton. Despite the loss of two further cheap wickets, the hard-hitting Westlake continued to thrive, taking his score to 84 before being the eighth man out with the score on 168.

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Phillips and the returning Keith Biggs combined to blow away the tail as the visitors subsided to 170 all out in the 43rd over, a reasonable score on a rather two paced track but far fewer than seemed likely during the early innings 'carnage'. Phillips returned 4-20 from his nine overs, good support coming from the evergreen Biggs (4-36 from 10.2 overs) who has been the Otters' most consistent bowler throughout the season.

In reply experienced duo of Barry Flicker (6) and Steve Forbes posted a 22-run opening stand before the former was bowled pulling at a delivery from Dan Harvey.

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The score reached 32 in the 12th over before Forbes (11) was unfortunate to see a firm clip off James Rosewarne pouched at square leg. The home batsmen were struggling to get the ball away on the slow track as change bowlers Ian Hargreaves and the innocuous looking, but accurate, Shaun Taylor exerted something of a stranglehold.

Fifteen-year-old league debutant Nick Mansfield finally broke the shackles, depositing a Hargreaves full toss for six over midwicket to bring up the 50 in the 23rd over and home skipper Gavin Iley was beginning to produce some characteristically pugnacious blows.

However, the slowness of the wicket accounted for Mansfield (9) well held by Taylor at mid-on off Hargreaves and, when Taylor struck two quick blows, bowling Sam Lynch (5) and securing an lbw decision against Doman (1), the Otters were in strife at 64-5. Iley continued to have a dip but, with the score on 97, the home side's prospects nosedived as the powerful North Easterner departed for 33, bowled having a hoik at Taylor.

Louis Biggs failed to trouble the scorers, edging Taylor to slip before Bowyer-Thornton (13) brought up the 100 with a fine backfoot forcing shot through the covers. However, the youngster soon became Taylor's fifth victim, playing too early to dolly a return catch and, after Keith Biggs fell to a catch by the omnipresent Taylor at short fine leg off Hargreaves, it was left to Phillips (13) to put up late resistance with some powerful leg side blows before being trapped lbw playing back to Tony Treeby.

So, as Ottery capitulated for a hugely disappointing 118 all out, Taylor returned the remarkable figures of 5-15 from 14 overs.Skipper Iley lamented his side's weak end to a mediocre campaign observing: "Our bowling was atrocious in the first 15 overs - then we pulled it back, but our batting lacked application." Otters' Man of the Match - Jon Phillips.

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