Otters beaten in final over drama

Tom Jeacock bowling for Ottery 2nds at home to Plymstock. Ref shsp 27-16TI 3504. Picture: Terry Ife

Tom Jeacock bowling for Ottery 2nds at home to Plymstock. Ref shsp 27-16TI 3504. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

In a dramatic finale reminiscent of Ben Stokes’ calamitous closing over in the World T20 final, Ottery St Mary 1st XI were consigned to a heart-breaking defeat by B Division rivals Tavistock when visiting batsman Dave Manning topped a terrific century by blasting 20 runs off just four deliveries to hand his team a sensational victory, writes Ian Townsend.

After the Otters posted a slightly under-par total on a good batting track with a lighting quick outfield, tight bowling coupled with a superb exhibition of ground fielding saw Tavistock enter the final over of a high quality contest still requiring 17 runs before Manning’s pyrotechnics stole the show.

Dan Flower was a man in a hurry as he and Billy Rudolph got the home side off to a flying 50-run start. The big left hander took a particular liking to James White (0-43 from 5 overs), hammering eight powerful boundaries in a run-a-ball 38 before a checked shot gave a return catch to James McGahey.

After unfurling some classical off drives, Rudolph (24) was bowled through the gate by impressive change bowler Mark Lewis (2-33) who soon lured Billy Reed out of his crease, Manning completing a sharp stumping.

From 97-3 the Otters were boosted by an excellent partnership between George Biggs and Jody Clements. Having initially struggled to pierce a well set field, Biggs began to flourish, unleashing fine shots all around the wicket to pass 50 from 65 balls (seven fours) as the pair milked the bowling to add 97 in 18 overs.

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Biggs (78) was trapped lbw hitting across the line at Callum Worth and Clements’ solid knock ended at 28, his skied leading edge off Andy Gawler being pouched by Tim Pope at extra cover. Worth (2-35) also dismissed Rob Crabb (1), Pope again taking a well-judged catch, as the home side’s innings stalled somewhat.

However, useful late contributions from Matt Reed (18), Ed Fowler (12*) and 16 year old 1st XI newcomer Henry Mutter (15*) saw the Otters reach a reasonable 246-7.

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As Tavistock replied, teenage paceman Ollie Reed soon produced a fine delivery which seamed in to clip Aaron Churchill’s off stump. Visiting skipper Shaun Daymond (24) despatched some meaty boundaries before a miscued drive off Will Harrison was well held by Dan Flower but after Manning joined Pope, the score began to rattle along.

Manning crashed four beautifully driven boundaries off Rudolph to bring up the 100 in the 19th over and the Otters could ill afford two lives given to the powerful left hander. Both were very difficult chances, Billy Reed leaping to attempt an acrobatic catch at the wicket and off-spinner Matt Reed failing to grasp a shell-like low return drive.

However, frugal spells from the ever-reliable duo of Clements and Matt Reed (2-31) allied to terrific fielding, curtailed the scoring rate and Pope (47 with nine fours) became the first of three catches for Mutter at deep mid-wicket, Matt Reed the beneficiary.

After Manning cruised past 50, White’s useful 22-run supporting role was also terminated by the Mutter/Reed combination before the returning Harrison (3-44) removed McGahey (2) and Worth (0).

Manning was still playing beautifully, but despite the wicketkeeper-batsman reaching a brilliant century, with Rudolph removing Lewis (3) and Dave Mulligan (3) and Tavistock requiring 17 from the final over, Ottery appeared to be on the brink of victory.

However, after skipper Crabb, who has barely bowled this season, elected to deliver the last over, Manning unleashed two superb straight driven maximums and two fours to guide his team home with a wonderful undefeated 125 (109 balls, three sixes and 16 fours).

Ottery St Mary 246-7 (G Biggs 78, D Flower 38, J Clements 28, B Rudolph 24, M Lewis 2-33, J McGahey 2-35, C Worth 2-35) Tavistock 251-8 (D Manning 125*, T Pope 47, S Daymond 24, J White 22, W Harrison 3-44, M Reed 2-31, B Rudolph 2-65). Tavistock (18pts) bt Ottery St Mary (9pts) by 2 wkts.

Otters Man of the Match – George Biggs

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