Old boy Woodman causes headaches

Ottery St Mary 1st XI finally got their season under way .

Ottery St Mary 1st XI finally got their season under way with this crushing defeat of early season strugglers Whitchurch Wayfarers. The newly-promoted visitors were completely unable to handle the high quality pace bowling of Rob Johns and Mark Woodman and, despite some spirited lower order resistance, were dismissed for a well below par total. The home side then cruised to victory on the back of characteristically belligerent knocks from John Tierney and Matt Kirk.Having lost the toss and been inserted, there was little indication of the impending carnage as Richard Hall and visiting skipper Martin Credicott opened the Whitchurch innings.But, after the former had produced one or two pleasing early off drives, Johns and Woodman began to turn the screw on a hard, dry track offering some bounce and seam movement. The runs dried up almost completely, a run of six successive maidens resulting in only 14 being taken from the opening 10 overs, then the wickets began to tumble. The giant Johns, who was troubling both batsmen with his steepling bounce and late away swing, induced a tentative prod from Hall which saw the ball spin back onto his stumps, then Woodman struck a double blow in his eight over. A terrific 'nip backer' bowled Shaun Daymond (0) and the very next ball a beautiful leg cutter hit the top of Tom Sherrell's off stump - seam bowling at it's very best. The incoming Will Power was perilously close to being lbw from the hat-trick ball and, when Johns then struck again, Credicott (7) falling to a fine tumbling catch by Tierney at second slip, and Woodman claimed his third victim, bowling Power, Whitchurch had plunged to 27-5 having lost five wickets in four overs for the addition of just two runs. Ben Neale (6) soon followed aiming a horrible 'yahoo' at Johns, who then boasted the remarkable figures of 3-10 from 11 overs. Woodman then heaped further misery on the hapless visitors, Steve Lavis (4) becoming the fourth batsman to lose his off stump to the former Exmouth and Devon seamer as he prodded tentatively forward.However, the introduction of change bowlers Rob Bradshaw-Smith and Rob Crabb saw the pressure relieved somewhat and, from the depths of 45-7, Mark Kerswill and Ollie McRae affected something of a recovery after a very early finish had looked likely. Kerswill's sliced cover boundary off Crabb brought up the 50 in the 27th over and, despite never looking wholly convincing, the pair compiled a half century partnership over the next 11 overs. Bradshaw-Smith was deposited for six over midwicket as Kerswill brought up the 100, but the introduction of off spinner Nick Doman ended the stand as McRae played down the wrong line to be bowled for 26. Billy Coulston (7) offered brief resistance before being caught on the crease and bowled by Bradshaw-Smith and, shortly afterwards, the same bowler rounded off the innings as young keeper Charl Axsel produced a fine stumping to end Kerswill's brave knock at 47 (4 x 4s) as he went for a big legside hit.Despite the early loss of Axsel (7), the unfortunate recipient of a 'snorter' from Daymond which he could only fend off to McRae at 2nd slip, the visitors' modest 126 all out never looked likely to trouble the Otters' powerful batting line up. The incoming Tierney was in no mood to hang around, launching into a series of powerful lofted drives off Lavis and, after losing skipper Martin Miller (6) caught by Neale at wide mid-on as he attempted to pull Daymond, he found an able partner in crime in the incoming Kirk, who also attacked from the off. The 50 was passed in the 14th over after which the scoring rate soared. Tierney dispatched Daymond for four behind square to reach a fine half century from just 44 balls (8x4s), whilst Kirk was playing a characteristically unorthodox innings. The unfortunate Joe Trembath was smashed for 20 in his only over, including a cut for six over cover! When Tierney hammered Power through the covers, the Otters had strolled home with over 20 overs to spare and put their poor start to the campaign firmly behind them. Tierney remained 61 not out whilst Kirk was unbeaten on 47. The lively Daymond (2-39 from 11 overs) was the only bowler to escape relatively unscathed.All-in-all a pleasing victory, albeit against weak opposition but skipper Miller was understandably pleased to 'get the show on the road' commenting: "Good bowling, good fielding and finally the batting came together". The Otters are undoubtedly a powerful unit and, firing on all cylinders, should be a force to be reckoned with over the coming months. For a side which has, at times in recent seasons, lacked accurate, penetrating opening bowling, the return of Salston Field old boy Mark Woodman represents a major coup and a potential headache for D Division batsmen!Otters' Man of the Match - Mark Woodmanl Whitchurch 126 (M Kerswill 47*, O McRae 2; M Woodman 4-32, R Johns 3-13, R Bradshaw-Smith 2-34). Ottery St Mary 130-2 (J Tierney 61*, M.Kirk 47*; S Daymond 2-39) Ottery St Mary (20pts) bt Whitchurch (3pts) by 8wkts.

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