Opening bat Ollie West wallops first hundred as Otters claim second win!
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After a disappointing result the previous week, Ottery St Mary 1st XI came away from their longest trip of the season, the trek to North Devon to face Braunton, with a well-earned victory.
Set up by a fantastic hundred from Ollie West, the Otters put themselves in trouble with a sub-par bowling and fielding display and were hugely indebted to a crucial spell of bowling by Jack Malden.
Being invited to bat first, the Otters were given a superb start as openers West and Alex Clements put on 125 for the first wicket.
Starting cautiously, against a testing opening spell from Callum Mitchell, who bowled five maidens in his spell of 0-23 from nine overs, the opening pair began to cut loose and despatch the change bowlers to the boundary on a regular basis and it was not long before both reached their half centuries.
West was looking imperious through the covers, and Clements quickly found his feet and put away anything off his legs as well as unleashing some drives of his own before he was the first man down with his score on 52.
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That brought Henry Mutter to the wicket and he was there as West reached his maiden league hundred for the club.
At 180-2, Ottery looked set to go on and post a big total, but an impressive late spell of bowling from Martin Smith (4-44) pegged them back and they closed on 258-9.
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It was Ollie West’s knock that was the talk of tea – his innings of 105 including one six and no fewer than 18 fours.
The home team’s reply got off to a flyer thanks to some below average bowling and fielding from the Otters.
Mike Brown and Jon Baglow regularly found the fence as Ottery struggled to contain them. The introduction of Sam Brook provided the breakthrough as he deceived Baglow with an off-cutter which he spooned to Henry Mutter at square leg.
Brown continued to frustrate Ottery with a series of lusty blows, reaching his personal fifty but was soon the second victim for Brook as he skied a slower ball to Bobby Dormor at extra cover.
Jamie Matthews came and went, trapped leg before to Jody Clements and, when Robert Paterson found Jack Malden at long off to give West his sole wicket for the afternoon, Braunton were standing on 142-4.
A rapid partnership between Martin Smith and Callum Mitchell saw momentum shift back to the home side, with both finding the boundary with ease.
The equation was down to 64 runs being required off the final 10 overs – very achievable – and Ottery needed something, and quickly!
A change of bowling did the trick as Malden delivered a crucial spell. In his first over, Smith (34), top edged into the waiting hands of keeper Alex Clements and then three balls later, Mitchell was superbly held by a diving Mutter on the deep midwicket boundary.
Malden claimed his third when he clean bowled opposite captain Dan Brierley, and Will Harrison returned to pick up the wicket of Andy Wood who ‘lofted’ a catch to Brook at backward point.
It all left the run chase fizzling out on 226-8 to leave the Otters 32 run winners.
On Saturday (May 26), Ottery end the first month of the C Division East season with a home game against a Clyst Hydon side that were well beaten by Sidmouth III last weekend.
Man of the Match: Ollie West (for his superb innings of 105).
Ottery St Mary 258-9 (O West 105, A Clements 52, H Mutter 28, M Smith 4-44). Braunton 226-8 (M Brown 55, J Malden 3-19, S Brook 2-32).