Improving Otters cruise to victory
- Credit: Archant
The long trip to West Devon to face fellow strugglers, Yelverton, saw Ottery St Mary 1st XI claim a vital victory which enabled them to continue their climb away from the C Division relegation zone, writes Ian Townsend.
After the home side failed to capitalise on another patchy Otters bowling display, galvanised by a fine opening stand, the visitors took advantage of even worse bowling to romp home to a maximum points win with 12 overs to spare.
On a green, spongy track Ottery opening bowlers, Jody Clements and Joe Birch delivered accurate opening spells in which Mark Symes, bowled by Clements for four, and former Otters’ opener Rich Townsend, held by Dan Flower at slip off Birch for 16, were casualties.
Teenage off spinner Matt Reed (3-34) than produced an excellent spell to remove the dangerous looking Geoff Brain (27), the big hitting James Harrison (16) and home skipper Rich West (15) who miscued a full toss to Flower at square leg.
However, the remaining Otters’ change bowlers were collectively struggling for line and length and with wicketkeeper-batsman Dave Scott tucking into a series of loose offerings to hammer regular boundaries, a challenging total looked on the cards.
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The return of Birch (3-20) to deliver a decidedly pacy second spell reined things in, however.
Pat Hobbs (6) miscued a drive to the diving Lewis Townsend in the covers and Scott (69), beaten for pace, spliced a pull to the omnipresent Flower leaving Yelvy at 173-7. The innings rapidly fell away to 205 all out despite Ian Cunningham’s late innings 21 not out.
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As the Otters replied, Harrison and Cunningham produced wayward opening spells.
The in-form Dan Flower took full advantage, unfurling a series of majestic drives in a fine 83-run opening stand with Sam Tennant. When Flower (43) departed, bowled by off spinner West, after Tennant was dropped by the unfortunate Hobbs who spilled three catches during the course of the innings, John Tierney went onto the attack.
The former Devon player launched a big six over long on to bring up the 100 and the score raced past 150 in the 27th over.
Tennant’s fine sheet anchor role was rewarded with a half century, courtesy of successive boundaries off Harrison, and Tierney reached the same landmark (six fours and two sixes) soon afterwards.
Cunningham removed Tierney (53) but Tennant (62*) and Jack Pritchard (9*) guided the visitors home with a full 12 overs to spare. Yelverton could ill afford the concession of no less than 39 extras.
The Otters now face a real test of their mettle as they cross swords with each of the top five sides in C Division in successive weeks!
Yelverton 205 (D Scott 69, G Brain 27, I Cunningham 21*, J Birch 3-20, M Reed 3-34, J.Clements 2-31) Ottery St Mary 206-2 (S Tenant 62*, J Tierney 53, D Flower 43, Extras 39.) Ottery St Mary (20pts) bt Yelverton (6pts) by 8 wkts.
Otters Man of the Match – Sam Tennant