Highs and lows this season
OPM 3 (0) - (2) 4 Ottery Crickets
Ottery Crickets’ Men’s 1st XI did exactly what was needed when they defeated OPM in a closely fought game in Plymouth. Their much needed 4-3 victory, with four quality goals, earned them their place in South Division 1. Their opposition played with tremendous spirit right to the end and made a real game of it, writes Steve Ellison.
It was against the run of play when the stuttering Crickets scored their first. Ogborne created the space he needed to reverse the ball low under the keeper from a narrow angle. This calmed nerves and they chalked up their second after fine interplay between Bowker and Bell who finished powerfully.
OPM earned several penalty corners and it was a direct result of this that Crickets capitalised to score with a mix of rapid ball and player movement. With most of OPM’s players committed forward, the ball was worked quickly up the left to Gallantree, who linked with Bowker who, with his second assist of the game, passed to Slade who rounded the keeper and finished in style.
OPM continued to probe and test Ottery’s defence who responded to deny their advances. At the turn around, Crickets knew that OPM were not out of the game and so it proved. The home team scored two goals in rapid succession and showed no signs of yielding.
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Arguably the visitors’ fourth goal was their best. Miller who has proved all season his credentials to win possession, did so again at a penalty corner. He worked the ball into midfield. Brooker spotted Gracie advancing into space from right back, he carried the ball into the D and unleashed an unstoppable shot under the diving keeper.
With the clock ticking down, OPM played the ball into Crickets’ D. Frood advanced and made a strong contact with the advancing defender to concede a penalty flick. The resultant goal trickled over the line after the flick was scuffed and Frood was unable to deal with it.
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All credit to OPM who played the game in a sporting manner and were great hosts afterwards.
This was the final chapter in a season that Crickets had experienced tremendous highs – defeating the eventual league champions, whilst struggling at times to turn draws into wins and narrow defeats into draws.
Spirits remain high and the team is looking forward to next season. As always, new players are very welcome as the club continues to grow and develop.
Squad: Frood, Barbour, Down, Miller, Dockley, Gallantree, Gracie, Brooker, Clemmans, Ogborne, Slade, Bell, Bowker.