Otters feel the force

Ottery St Mary 1st XI felt the full force of the all round talents of Aussie import Kobi Griggs as they went down to defeat in a one -sided encounter with visiting Thorverton, writes Ian Townsend.

Ottery St Mary 1st XI felt the full force of the all round talents of Aussie import Kobi Griggs as they went down to defeat in a one -sided encounter with visiting Thorverton. The Brisbane League player produced a devastating display of hitting to score 46 from just 28 balls, having earlier torn through the Otters' batting with a blistering spell of pace bowling. The Queenslander's heroics saw his adopted team through to a six wicket victory with almost 13 overs to spare.The Otters' cause was not helped when Thors' skipper James Meredith asked them to bat first on a rapidly-drying wicket, which had been over-watered during the lead up to the match. Home openers Brian Burns and Martin Miller found it hard to time the ball on the slow and low surface, although the latter managed to efficiently despatch a number of loose leg stump deliveries from Adam Staniforth. In contrast, Meredith was producing a characteristically controlled opening spell, and, when the score had reached 29, he removed Burns (6), bowling the young Aussie around his legs as he stepped too far across his stumps. Eleven runs later Miller departed for 22, caught behind by Alan Tait, aiming a big cover drive at a wide Staniforth half volley. Despite struggling to find his timing, returning Cardiff University student Richard Townsend and the incoming Sam Tennant steadied the ship with a 38 run partnership, Tennant bringing up the 50 with a delightful clip through mid-wicket and Townsend taking toll of anything on leg stump.However, the introduction of Griggs saw the turning point of the match. Bowling at some speed, he first removed Townsend (16), who offered no shot to a delivery that seamed in to clip the off stump, and then bowled Tennant (23) who aimed a wild drive at a full ball to lose his off pole. Incoming skipper Rob Johns looked in good nick having scored a big hundred in a midweek friendly but, after playing a number of pleasing shots, he departed for 22, caught by Staniforth at deep mid-wicket off Mike Denford. The Otters were now 110-5 and two unnecessary dismissals had exposed the lower order to the pace of Griggs. Second XI skipper Gavin Iley, again stepping up to the 1st XI in the absence of the injured John Tierney, looked all at sea in the face of the Aussie's onslaught and was soon lbw for four, after which the returning Meredith claimed two wickets, Rob Crabb (4) giving a thin edge to Tait behind and Dave Richardson (10) being bowled having a heave to leg. From 150-8 the end was nigh and, with only a single added, Sam Lynch (0) and Scott Gibbins (0) were both hopelessly beaten for pace and bowled by Griggs to leave the home side on a paltry 151 all out from 44 overs. Extras (30) was the top scorer as the Otters committed the cardinal sin of not using all of their overs. Griggs returned an impressive 5-37 from his 12 overs and received excellent support from Meredith with 3-28, also from 12 overs.In reply the Thorverton openers got off to a rapid start, particularly Gareth Hess who dispatched opening bowlers Jody Clements and Richardson for a number of early boundaries, most of which were decidedly streaky in nature. Johns turned to spin as early as the 11th over, replacing the unfortunate Richardson with the off-breaks of Burns, and the change did the trick as the Aussie produced a delivery that turned through the gate to remove Hess (26). This brought Griggs to the crease and the powerful youngster was immediately onto the attack, lofting his countryman down the ground to bring up the 50. Well supported by remaining opener Matt Milward, who was timing the ball beautifully off his legs, Griggs then proceeded to savage the home attack. Left arm spinner Martin Miller was dismissed for successive enormous sixes over deep mid-wicket as the 100 arrived in just the 18th over. By the time the Aussie departed, well caught behind by Lynch off Crabb, he had scored 46 from just 28 balls in 24 minutes with five fours and three sixes, the last of which was hit into the adjoining caravan park one handed! No slogging, just a magnificent display of hitting. Sanity then returned as Crabb and Richardson produced excellent, tight spells, the former delivering a wicket maiden during which Phil Taverner (1) was well caught by a tumbling Iley at mid-off. Milward's solid innings ended at 39 as Crabb took a low return catch in characteristically languid style to leave the Thors on 138-4, but, despite the typically wholehearted efforts of Richardson, who beat the bat on numerous occasions and was most unfortunate to remain wicketless, there was to be no late drama. Dan Bone (8 not out) unfurled a flowing cover driven boundary to secure victory for the visitors with 13 overs to spare, Tait remaining 13 not out. Crabb returned an excellent 3-28.The contest may have been dominated by the exploits of Griggs but on reflection at this, the halfway stage of the season, the Otters must surely know that improved application and shot selection are essential if they are to secure their place for next season in what is undeniably a more competitive D Division than in the past.

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