Fragile nature of Ottery batting shows again in Axminster defeat

Ottery cricket club played Axminster on Saturday. Dan Flower in full swing. Picture by Alex Walton.

Ottery cricket club played Axminster on Saturday. Dan Flower in full swing. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shsp 1849-20-13AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

The fragile nature of Ottery St Mary 1st Xls batting was once again exposed as they suffered a second successive defeat to continue a disappointing start to the new league season, writes Ian Townsend.

Whilst this display was undoubtedly an improvement on the previous week’s catastrophic reverse at Bideford, the Otters were left to reflect that just one substantial partnership against a team likely to feature in this year’s promotion chase would have turned this into a genuine contest.

Having been inserted on a lively but true wicket, openers Trevor Griffin and Dan Flower gave Ottery a steady start, their 24-run stand eventually proving to be the highest of the innings. The Axminster bowling was proving to be pretty miserly, however. Robbie Prior was conceding less than one run per over whilst partner in crime, Matt Pile proceeded to make regular inroads into the Otters’ top order. Flower (11) fell to a catch by Johnny Hurford, Ed Fowler (6) offered a return catch and Alex Clements (0) was castled by an outswinger to leave the home side at 33-3 in the 14th over. John Tierney, making his first appearance for four seasons was soon trapped lbw but Griffin (23) and newly appointed vice captain Lewis Twonsend then played steadily to take the score to 70 before the former was caught off Garry Larcombe. Taylor soon claimed two victims in successive balls, Townsend (10), having played one or two pleasing drives, being caught off a leading edge and Sam Lynch (0) trapped lbw. The Otters never recovered from 72-7. Skipper Jody Clements (12) miscued a pull off the returning Pile to Larcombe at mid-on and the home side only passed three figures due to some late defiance from Mark Woodman (22 not out). When tail enders Will Harrison (3) and Zac Johns (0) were dismissed Ottery had slipped to a poor 114 all out. Pile returned an impressive 4-28 and Taylor 3-37.

Larcombe and the previous week’s double centurion, Hurford (18), gave the visitors a sound start, the latter launching Woodman for six to bring up the 50 in the 9th over. The veteran seamer deservedly had his revenge next ball, however, as a mishit pull was athletically held by Ed Fowler at mid-on. The Otters were then given some hope as Jody Clements produced a hostile spell of pace bowling. First Larcombe, whose solid 35 contained six fours, skied a return catch from a leading edge, then visting skipper Tristan Wakeley (0) was well pouched by Lynch at 3rd slip and finally Brett Garner (7), who clearly didn’t fancy it, was unluckily bowled by the only delivery to keep low all afternoon. 95-4 soon became 105-5 as Will Harrison trapped Paul Miller (5) lbw but left hander Joel Seward, who was batting very steadily, then guided the visitors to a deserved win with an unbeaten 30 (3 x 4s). Jody Clements, easily the pick of the home bowlers, returned 3-23 from his 9 overs.

Ottery St Mary 114 (T.Griffin 23, M.Woodman 22*, M.Pile 4-28, N.Taylor 3-37) Axminster 115-5 (G.Larcombe 35, J.Seward 30*, J.Clements 3-23). Axminster (18pts) bt Ottery St Mary (3pts) by 5 wkts.

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