Great sport between Tipton and Ottery
If only all matches could be played with this spirit. Perhaps because Ottery St Mary and Tipton St John clubs know each other so well, this was a hugely enjoyable match, the epitome of friendly cricket, writes David Birch.
Ottery came out on top, victors by four wickets, but not before Tipton had made them work hard for their victory.
To begin with, it was Tipton who had to do the hard work, grafting for runs against an accurate home attack. In truth it was the composed Phil Tolley who did most of the grafting, since the top order, with the exception of the watchful Adam Gibbins, was not able to stay with him long enough to build a commanding total.
When Tolley departed for 50, Tipton were foundering on 88-5 and a modest score looked inevitable before Joe Birch (51) and Dave Dawson (17 not out) came together to put on 72 in only 13 overs.
Birch led the way in an exciting display of powerful hitting that yielded five sixes and three fours in a 24 ball half century – his first for the club, and all the sweeter since it came against his regular league side.
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Nevertherless, Tipton’s 166-8 was never going to be quite enough against a strong Ottery batting line-up. Skipper David Birch and Dave O’Higgins made openers Anthony Dean (28) and Richard Lock (29) work hard but it was Robin Pickering and Mark Channon who made the first breakthroughs, dismissing both openers in quick succession. The Ottery middle order looked composed as they worked the ball around the field until Birch again took a hand in proceedings.
Working up a rapid pace off a shortish run, he dismissed Barry Flicker and both Biggs brothers in quick succession, then ran out skipper Will Harrison with a direct hit from mid-wicket. However, with the reassuring figure of Rob Johns coming in at number 8 to join Jack Pritchard, Ottery were able to get home with four overs to spare to bring an entertaining and well-contested match to a close.
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