Frustrating defeat for Ottery CC 1sts

A thrilling game of cricket, played in a good spirit between well-matched sides, on a glorious summer afternoon on a ground looking at its beautiful best - what could be better?

A thrilling game of cricket, played in a good spirit between well-matched sides, on a glorious summer afternoon on a ground looking at its beautiful best - what could be better? Well, winning the match for a start! This was a hugely frustrating defeat for Ottery St Mary 2nd XI, who frequently matched visiting Plymouth Civil Service, newly relegated from B Division of the Devon League, but ultimately lost due to shortcomings in all three facets of the game. A fine captain's innings from Gavin Iley and a terrific maiden five wicket haul from young paceman Zac Johns did little to temper the home side's disappointment.After the 'shirt front' appearance of the wicket had, most unusually, persuaded skipper Iley to bat first, Ottery were soon in trouble in the face of some excellent bowling from John Mitchell. The experienced swing merchant removed Rob Crabb (15), driving loosely and falling to a juggling catch in the covers, South African Manus Schoeman (0) through the gate and watched youngster George Biggs york himself driving at a full length in-swinger. From 29-3, Alex Clements and Iley got the total to 59 before Clements (9) became Mitchell's fourth victim, adjudged lbw. Iley, meanwhile, was batting sensibly, reining in his attacking instincts as he battled to dig his side out of a hole. The incoming Nick Doman (17) took a liking to change bowler Keith Dann, dispatching him for three boundaries in an over before becoming the first of two quick wickets for Tom Cross. After Rick Jackson (0) departed lbw, leaving the Otters at 93-6, Iley and Mark Stoyle forged the stand which rescued the innings.An Iley boundary brought up 100 in the 31st over and, after initially struggling to impose himself, Stoyle broke the shackles, clipping a six over fine leg. Iley brought up an excellent 50 (89 balls), lofting his eighth boundary over extra cover, and Stoyle joined in the fun, unleashing a series of fine blows all around the wicket before falling for 32 to the omnipotent Mitchell as he was bowled aiming a big shot at a slower delivery. Johns (4) soon became Mitchell's sixth victim, but Iley found a reliable partner in Keith Biggs (9 not out) to carry the Otters past the 200 mark in the final over, securing maximum batting points. Iley remained undefeated on 84 (11 x 4s) whilst Mitchell returned a terrific 6-40 from his 13 overs - two old hands at the top of their respective games! Ottery's total of 202-8 appeared to be 20-30 runs under par on such a good surface and early inroads into Civil's reply appeared essential. Visiting openers Declan Schroeder and skipper Dan Piddock proceeded to fashion a sound opening stand of 42 in 13 overs. Change bowler Zac Johns made the initial breakthrough for the Otters, Schroeder (19) edged behind to Clements and No 3 batsman Tom Cross chanced his arm somewhat, frequently playing and missing but also producing some fine blows before becoming Johns' second victim, slicing a drive to Joe Birch at extra cover. Piddock played soundly, taking few chances, his accumulation of runs being assisted by some untidy ground fielding by the Otters. Schoeman, in attack, brought a double breakthrough. The left arm spinner sent back Chris Sanders (8), victim of a brilliant reflex catch from a full-blooded drive by Rob Crabb at short extra cover, and trapped Ben Pitman lbw for a duck to leave Civil at 91-4. Piddock, who reached a fine 50 from 97 balls, found an able partner in the incoming Ross Jowett , who brought up the 150 in the 34th over before falling for a stylish 35 to the returning Johns, picked off the loose ball in delightfully wristy fashion. Spinners Doman and Schoeman disappeared for 22 in two oversThe returning Johns, who claimed a deserved maiden 'fivefer', and Birch both grassed sharp return catches early on. By the time sharp fielding by Keith Biggs ran out Daniel Sanders (3), Civil were on the verge of victory but, with one over to go and the pacy Birch with his tail up, nerves were jangling. The scores were level with three balls remaining before Mitchell sliced the same bowler over cover to claim a deserved victory for the visitors by the narrowest of margins.

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