Harrison’s highlight

Ottery CC revival continued to last day

They say that every dog has his day and Ottery St Mary 1st XI’s young paceman Will Harrison certainly had his as the Salston Field side completed their league campaign with this narrow victory. The left armer will be the first to admit that, despite running through the Uplyme batting line- up to finish with an incredible seven wickets, he has frequently bowled far better with little reward. But that, of course, epitomises the wonderful game of cricket!

Batting first on a green and sodden wicket, Uplyme struggled in the face of fine seam bowling from Rob Johns and Mark Woodman. After Woodman bowled Mark Batey (4) in the third over, runs were very hard to come by, three successive maiden overs passing before home skipper Ashley Caddy (23) began to break the shackles.

The big left hander posted three powerful boundaries before Woodman struck again, inducing an edge behind to Alex Clements. Batsman John Whetlor (17) was given a life by Otters’ skipper Jody Clements who spilt a catch in the covers looking into the sun, but the reprieve was only temporary as the same fielder grasped a miscued drive to give Woodman his third victim.

Youngster Sam Challis (16) bludgeoned a couple of impressive boundaries before being trapped lbw by Harrison who was beginning to find his range after a number of early wides, and, when Steve Batey’s rash drive to Sam Loud at mid-on saw him immediately become the left armer’s second scalp, Uplyme were in the mire at 82-5.

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Bruce Maltby briefly stemmed the tide, launching some powerful blows against young leg spinner Loud, and his boundary to long on brought up the 100 in the 27th over. However, the departure of Robert Thom (9), adjudged lbw when hit on the full by Harrison, was the catalyst for the Otters’ man to blow away the tail.

Maltby (27 with 2 x 6s) was beaten and bowled, Wallis Blackmore (0) was castled first ball as he played all around a full toss and Steve Howe was trapped lbw by an inswinger.

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And, when Ali Rattenbury misjudged a full length delivery to lose his off stump, Uplyme had capitulated for just 117. Harrison returned a remarkable 7-38 from his 11 overs including a spell of 7-17 in 7 overs. The ever reliable Woodman (3-35) provided excellent support.

Sam Tennant gave the Otters’ reply a positive start but the early loss of partners Steve Forbes (4), lbw swinging across line, and James Faulkner (0), caught by Whetlor after aiming a loose drive, soon saw the visitors struggling. Experienced swing bowler Neil Price had claimed both wickets and was bowling very well in tandem with left arm spinner Steve Howe. So, when the latter immediately bowled youngster Matt Reed, the normally expansive Lewis Townsend came to the wicket with Ottery in trouble at 23-3.

However, the 19-year-old Southampton University student proceeded to curb his natural aggression and carefully accumulate, despite the loss of Tennant (16), who smashed a Price long hop to point, and skipper Jody Clements (7) who was run out by a direct hit from short third man. Townsend found an ally in the experienced Woodman as the pair fashioned a gutsy partnership, both men defending well but punishing anything loose.

Woodman despatched a Howe long hop to the mid-wicket boundary to bring up the 50 in the 17th over, then launched the same bowler for a straight maximum. Caddy and fellow paceman Steve Batey returned in a bid to break the stand but this was the signal for Townsend to open up and, despite losing Woodman (19) caught by Challis off Maltby, the youngster passed 50 (6 x 4s) as a series of fine drives took his side to the brink of victory.

Maltby’s late dismissal of Loud (0) and Alex Clements (0) set the nerves jangling, but the experienced Johns (6 not out) joined Townsend to guide his side to another victory, thus extending the Otters’ unbeaten run to a remarkable 11 matches whilst consigning Uplyme to relegation. Townsend remained unbeaten on 58 whilst Price (3-32 from 9 overs) was easily the pick of the home bowlers.

So, despite a phenomenal revival in the second half of the season, Ottery 1st XI once again come up short in their attempts to finally reach the ‘promised land’ of C Division of the Devon League as they finish the season in fourth, just 10 points shy of a promotion spot.

Otters’ Man of the Match – Will Harrison

Francis Clark Devon League D Division: Uplyme & Lyme Regis 117 (B Maltby 27, A Caddy 23, W Harrison 7-38, M Woodman 3-35) Ottery St Mary 118-8 (L Townsend 58*, B Maltby 3-14, N Price 3-32) Ottery St Mary (17pts) bt Uplyme & Lyme Regis (5pts) by 2 wkts.

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