Maiden fifties a boost for Otters
Francis Clark Devon League 2nd XI C Division
Ivybridge 216-8 (K Jacobs 101*, D Newman 34, R Crabb 2-27, K Biggs 2-42) Ottery St Mary 220-6 (M Reed 67*, R Jackson 53, R Crabb 23, B Flicker 21, P Sloman 3-45, D Newman 2-64). Ottery St Mary (19pts) beat Ivybridge (8pts) by 4 wkts.
With their team struggling in reply to a testing total, Ottery St Mary 2nd XI middle order pair Rick Jackson and 16-year-old Matt Reed both posted their maiden league fifties as they fashioned a terrific century stand to clinch victory over struggling visitors Ivybridge.
Asked to bat first on a greenish wicket, the South Devon side initially struggled in the face of accurate bowling from evergreen Ottery paceman Keith Biggs. Nevertheless, Kevin Jacobs and Pete Sloman managed to post a 27-run opening stand before Biggs trapped the latter lbw, then bowled Dave Eadie (0) with an absolute beauty.
After Neil Lancaster (9) was bowled by the pacy, but wayward, Joe Birch, Jacobs, batting very solidly, and D Bayliss consolidated by taking the score to 75.
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The visitors’ innings then appeared to be slipping into terminal decline as Bayliss (9) was bowled by Rob Crabb, M Tuckwell (0) was brilliantly run out from cover by the athletic Reed, and two more quick wickets left the total at 118-7.
However, Jacobs and the incoming Dan Newman had other ideas as they pressurised the home fielders with good running between the wickets and took advantage of some loose bowling, particularly from youngsters Sam Loud and Nick Mansfield, to post an excellent 93-run stand in 17 overs, totally transforming the contest.
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Newman (34 with five 4s) powerfully despatched the loose ball whilst Jacobs, not for the first time showing his liking for the Otters’ attack, reached a fine century (nine 4s, three 6s) in the penultimate over as his team closed on a competitive 216-8.
Crabb (2-27) and Biggs (2-42) were the pick of the home bowlers.
Loud (17) and Barry Flicker gave the Otters’ a sound 35-run start in reply before the former, having batted very correctly, was trapped lbw by Gareth Stuckey after which young left hander Alex Thurgate (4) was bowled by the lively Newman.
In-form all rounder Crabb posted a typically expansive 23, containing five powerful boundaries, before losing his leg stump as he drove over one of a series of fine yorkers from Newman.
The Otters then began to struggle as the painfully slow off-spin of Pete Sloman suckered both Flicker (21) and skipper Gavin Iley (8) into surrendering their wickets, the former falling lbw and the latter holing out to Jacobs at wide mid-on, to leave the score at a vulnerable looking 104-5.
Enter Jackson and Reed, who slowly wrested control from the visitors and began to up the scoring rate.
Jackson accumulated steadily, whilst powerfully cashing in on anything loose, and his young partner began to time the ball sweetly as the 150 was passed in the 36th over.
Ivybridge could ill afford the dropped catch off Harry Sloman which gave Reed a life, and the youngster took full advantage by clipping Newman to the backward square leg boundary to bring up his fifty (eight 4s) and see the total past 200 in the 42nd over.
After Reed then lifted the same bowler for six over mid-wicket to bring up the 100 partnership, Jackson reached a fine half century (four 4s and a 6) before driving a return catch to Pete Sloman.
Biggs soon ended the contest, however, sweeping Sloman to the square leg boundary to bring the Otters a hard-fought victory.
Otters’ skipper Iley afterwards paid tribute to Reed and Jackson, commenting: “I’m so chuffed for Reedy – he’s kept working at his batting all season and today he really came good. And Rick Jackson works really hard in training every week, so he deserves to succeed”.
Otters’ Man of the Match – Matt Reed.
In the Francis Clark Devon League D Division match, the Otters thwarted the runaway leaders.
Lewdown 242-8 (R Mutch 87, J Skuse 48, H Geering 44, K Harris 26, M Woodman 3-52) Ottery St Mary 165-8 (S Lynch 46*, R Bradshaw-Smith 38*, R Johns 26, R Mutch 4-30). Ottery St Mary (9pts) drew with Lewdown (15pts).
Despite their new found resilience being tested to the limit, Ottery St Mary 1st XI emerged with a creditable draw from last weekend’s trip to runaway leaders Lewdown.
A phenomenal all round performance from South African import Rob Mutch appeared to have put the West Devon side on the road to victory before a brave late order stand between Sam Lynch and Rob Bradshaw-Smith ensured that the Otters’ terrific undefeated run continued.
After Kriss Harris and Harry Geering (44) had given the home side a solid 72-run start, Bradshaw-Smith made the breakthrough, having the latter caught behind by Alex Clements. And when Rob Johns removed Harris (26), caught by Otters’ skipper Jody Clements who also claimed a direct hit run-out to send back Mark Jordan (5), Lewdown had slipped to 97-3.
However, any prospect of an Ottery victory was then firmly quashed by a combination of dropped catches and an astonishing display of hitting from Mutch, who powered his way to 87 from just 41 balls faced.
The young South African posted eight fours and five enormous sixes as, in partnership with virtual spectator Jack Skuse (48), he added 105 in just 11 overs before departing to a catch by Matt Kirk off the hard- working Mark Woodman, who deserved better than his 3-52 from 12 overs.
Regular late wickets fell but Lewdown nevertheless posted an above par 242-8.
Mutch’s bowling prowess plunged the Otters’ reply in to deep trouble. Bowling at some pace, the left armer yorked Alex Clements (0) in his first over whilst partner Phil Yeo had Steve Forbes (1) caught behind by Antony Weeks.
Mutch then removed Kirk (6), caught in the cordon by Geering, and bowled both Jody Clements (2) and George Biggs (12).
From 23-5, the experienced duo of Johns (26) and Woodman played sensibly to take the score to 61 before the former was caught at point off Jordan.
The departure of Nick Doman (9) and Woodman (14), who fell to a brilliant one-handed catch by Carl Weeks, saw the visitors slip to 83-8 with the champions- elect scenting victory.
This Ottery side is a very different beast to their early season counterpart, however, and their spirit was amply demonstrated by the magnificent unbroken 82-run stand between Lynch and Bradshaw-Smith which clinched a satisfying draw.
Bradshaw-Smith announced his intentions with a second ball six whilst his young partner looked in top form - his 45-ball undefeated 46 containing eight boundaries, a number of which came from the returning Mutch, who completed a fine afternoon’s work with 4-30 from his 13 overs.
So, with three matches remaining, the Otters retain an outside chance of promotion and next week’s clash with visiting Ipplepen, who are just 15 points ahead of the Salston Field side, should be a cracker!