Magnificent Clay strikes career best for Newton Pop
Newton made the short trip to play their inaugural match against an Ottery St Mary XI on a glorious day for cricket.
Newton made the short trip to play their inaugural match against an Ottery St Mary XI on a glorious day for cricket. With the temperature rising, it was with some surprise that Captain Clay was asked to bat on a hard, flat wicket that looked in pristine condition.Openers Last (3) and Alex Raistrick (2) didn't make the most of the conditions, but Cardwell and Stott soon found their rhythm. The score ticked along until the tiring Cardwell was bowled for 25. Clay joined Stott and these two set about the Ottery attack. Finding the gaps in the field they enjoyed a 50 partnership until Stott was bowled for 33.Clay was in belligerent form but when Coombs (6) tried to copy, he shot powerfully to a fielder. Alsford joined Clay and after a period of inactivity, Clay took command. Three successive boundaries saw him pass his 50 and, when he really let rip, the unfortunate Ottery fielders could do nothing but watch and admire. With all stationed on the boundary, they saw five virtually continuous maximums sail over the trees in to the fields. Newton players were desperate for their Captain to claim his maiden century but Alsford's attempt to get him on strike saw him bowled for 9 after "sharing" an 80 run partnership.Clay was joined by son Thomas and after another gallant attempt to get him on strike failed, Clay snr finished on a magnificent 94 not out, his career best, and Newton's innings on 195 for 7.Ottery's openers started their reply watchfully, but soon found the gaps. They looked comfortable until Matthew Raistrick got one to dig in and Cardwell took the catch. Son Alex struck with his first ball when Thomas took a mis-pulled effort at short square-leg.The introduction of Marsh brought two wickets. Newton needed to maintain the pressure but Ottery`s Harrison (44) and young Thurgate (56) had other ideas. Quickly judging that a consistent five-an-over would bring victory, they set about their task with dedication. Offering no clear chances they picked their shots with Thurgate, in particular, deadly with anything leg-side. Wickets were what Newton needed, but they came too late to save the game and Newton tasted defeat for the first time this year.