Otters come up short in pulsating derby match.

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Something had to give as both Ottery St Mary and Budleigh 2nd XIs went into last weekend’s derby match at Salston Field boasting a one hundred per cent record in the early stages of the new league season. And in a terrific contest, illuminated by two magnificent unbeaten centuries, it was the visitors who claimed the spoils as they edged to a 13 run victory, writes Ian Townsend.

Choosing to bat first on a greenish, drying track, Budleigh were soon plunged into trouble by the Otters’ youthful opening attack of Alex Tubbs and George Southall-Brown. Tubbs induced Phill Yolland (0) into a leading edge to John Tierney at gully and James Sharkey (1) chipped Southall-Brown straight to Harry Conway at midwicket before Dan Messom (5) creamed the same bowler to cover where Rob Crabb did well to cling on. The visitors were rescued from 22-3 by a terrific 122-run stand between Ben Carter and youngster Joe Marley. The latter played a valuable supporting role as Carter proceeded to ruthlessly cash in on anything loose. The 100 stand arrived as Carter deposited a maximum into the adjoining caravan park and Marley soon posted his half century (7 x 4s) by pulling Tubbs to the square leg boundary. The introduction of John Tierney finally broke the stand as a leading edge from Marley (54) flew to Harry Brooks at wide midwicket but the runs continued to flow unabated from the bat of Carter as the home attack tended to feed his legside strength. When the powerful right hander reached his century (11 x 4s, 3 x 6s) in the 37th over, Budleigh appeared to be on course for a mammoth total but the home attack, including U-15s, Southall –Brown and Billy Rudolph, then did a splendid job in reigning in the scoring rate, although the latter was unfortunate enough to give Carter two lives by dropping steepling catches at deep long-off. Nevertheless there appeared to be an outside chance of the Otters chasing down Budleigh’s final total of 245-5 of which Carter contributed an unbeaten 139, a tremendous innings punctuated with an array of searing shots. The control exhibited by Southall-Brown during the closing overs was impressive in one of such tender years.

Phil Taverner and the precocious Rudolph (13) provided a reasonable 27-run start for the Otters before the latter fell to a sharp slip catch by Sean Mills off James Plowman. Taverner (15) soon departed to Adam Jones as he hit across the line and Rick Jackson (7) played around a full delivery from Marley to be bowled leaving Ottery struggling on 59-3. The visitors were buoyant but the level of on field levity was then gradually tempered by the powerful combination of Tierney and skipper Crabb both of whom began to unleash a series of well-timed shots all around the wicket. A delightfully timed backfoot drive from Crabb brought up the 100 in the 22nd over and although Tierney (31) was soon castled by a fine delivery from Marley, the arrival of Tubbs saw the run rate continue to increase. Budleigh were now clearly feeling the pressure as Tubbs survived a dollied chance to backward point and a rash of sloppy ground fielding ensued. Crabb reached his half century with his eight boundary before Tubbs (22) tamely wafted Jones to Yolland at midwicket. The Otters’ skipper continued to bat beautifully, however, and when the 200 came up in the 40th over, the game was on a knife edge. Sadly for the home side, however, impetus was then lost as Mills produced an excellent late innings spell and despite Crabb reaching a wonderful century (99 balls, 12 x 4s), late wickets tumbled as the lower order struggled to come to terms with the pressure. A fascinating game of cricket played in a great spirit ended with the visitors edging home by just 13 runs as the Otters closed on 232-9. Jones was the pick of the visiting bowlers returning 2-30 from his 9 overs.

Despite the disappointment of losing such a tight contest, the Otters can take great encouragement at running a side who last year plied their trade in the A Division so close.

Otters Man of the Match – Rob Crabb

You may also want to watch:

Budleigh Salterton 245-5 (B.Carter 139*, J.Marley 54, J.Tierney 2-51, G.Southall-Brown 2-56) Ottery St Mary 232-9 (R.Crabb 110*, J.Tierney 31, A.Tubbs 22, A.Jones 2-30, J.Plowman 2-39, D.Oxland 2-55, J.Marley 2-59). Budleigh (19pts) bt Ottery St Mary (7pts) by 13 runs.

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