Otters first team revival continues

Kirk picks up Man of the Match title

This was a contest which epitomised the total transformation of Ottery St Mary 1st XI during the second half of the current campaign.

An early season encounter at Salston Field had seen a relatively mediocre looking Tiverton & Bickleigh side claim a comfortable seven wicket win. In this, the return fixture, the Otters emphatically turned the tables, outplaying Tivvy in all facets of the game to claim a resounding victory.

Batting first, on an uneven and damp wicket, the visitors predictably struggled in the face of excellent bowling from youngster Jason Parr. After James Faulkner (0) gifted Russell Hilton his wicket with an ill-judged pull, Parr removed Alex Clements (5) who nicked an outswinger to Tivvy skipper Andy Pengelly at second slip.

From 19-2, the innings was steadied by a 57-run stand between Matt Kirk and Steve Forbes. Kirk batted particularly well, initially suppressing his attacking instincts before opening up to despatch Hilton for three boundaries in an over, then clipping Parr over midwicket to reach a fine 50 (6x4s). The introduction of nagging medium pacer Phil Hubbard broke the stand as he induced Kirk (50) into offering a return catch and when Paul Rendall bowled Forbes (10), the innings was in the balance at 76-4 in the 27th over. However, the home side were made to pay for sloppy fielding as Lewis Townsend and Mark Woodman went onto the attack.

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After Rendall dropped the former off Hubbard, the powerful youngster despatched him for six over long on before repeating the dose off Hubbard, Hilton palming the ball over the rope in a weak attempt at a catch.

Woodman (27) was also cashing in well on anything loose as the score raced to 139 before the former Exmouth man was stumped by Chris Reed off wily old spinner, John Hall.

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Rob Bradshaw-Smith (6) launched Hall onto the adjoining road before falling to Hubbard, Dane Williams pouching a fine catch at short third man. But Rob Johns (19) chipped in with a useful cameo before Townsend and skipper Jody Clements launched a savage assault over the final seven overs which yielded 65 runs. Townsend’s crashing straight drive brought up a rapid 50 (6x4s, 2x6s) and Pengelly’s final over disappeared for 21 runs including a huge six from Clements (18 not out). Townsend remained 56 not out as Ottery posted a well above par 211-6. Parr’s 1-27 from 13 overs was easily the pick of the Tivvy bowling.

Ottery’s opening bowlers, Woodman and Will Harrison, took advantage of the helpful conditions to plunge the Tivvy reply into disarray at 31-4. Woodman’s outswinger induced an edge from Jerry Reed (0), which was gobbled up by Kirk at second slip, and his off-cutter bowled Williams (9) who was shouldering arms. Harrison saw Nick Doman’s fine diving catch remove Tim Reed (8) before Jerry Kelland’s sliced drive flew high to extra cover where the ever reliable Forbes held a well-judged catch.

Chris Reed (23) played some pleasing shots in helping the pugnacious Hubbard take the score to 67 before Bradshaw-Smith removed the former with his first delivery, Alex Clements, keeping well throughout on a difficult surface, holding a thin edge behind. Drummond, enjoying a somewhat charmed existence, and John Hall, playing some fine off drives, kept the score board rattling along.

It took the introduction of off spinner Doman to break the 54-run partnership, Drummond’s luck running out at 37 (5x4s, 2x6s) as he sliced high to Forbes at deep extra cover. And when Hall (24) immediately drove Bradshaw-Smith to Jody Clements at deep mid-off, Tivvy’s last vestiges of resistance disappeared.

Parr (0) dollied the same bowler to Doman in the covers before the latter claimed the last pair of wickets with two beautifully flighted off breaks which totally deceived and bowled both Hilton (9) and last man Rendall (0).

This was a clinical display from a team playing with the belief that comes from six successive excellent results which have left them sitting comfortably in mid-table, and the forthcoming home fixture with third placed Yelverton will, no doubt, be approached with confidence high.

Otters’ Man of the Match – Matt Kirk

In a nerve-jangling climax to an amazing contest, Ottery St Mary’s last wicket pair, Rob Bradshaw-Smith and Will Harrison, scrambled a bye to the wicketkeeper from the final delivery of the game to secure victory over promotion chasing Ashburton.

And how fitting it was that the coup de grace was administered by the Otters’ two star performers on the day. Harrison had earlier produced a hostile spell of pace bowling to restrict the visitors to a modest total before lending solid support to Bradshaw-Smith, who saw his team home with a beautifully-controlled late innings onslaught.

Harrison’s aggression, well supported by a frugal spell from Mark Woodman, soon had the visitors struggling.

His trademark in-swinger bowled Tom Durman (1) after which visiting skipper Chris Pascoe (2) was given a thorough ‘working over’ which ended with him fending a lifting delivery to Matt Kirk at second slip.

The Ashes were in a hole at 9-2 but were dug out by a fine partnership between the stylish Ashley Berry and the unorthodox, but effective, Kevin Nicholls.

After Harrison’s excellent opening spell of 2-17 from eight overs, the shackles were broken somewhat. Berry lifted home skipper Jody Clements over long-on to bring up the 100 and his own half century (5 x 4s) in the 32nd over.

It took a fine throw from short fine leg by youngster Jack Pritchard to break the 122-run stand, Berry (59) being taken by surprise, ambling in at the bowler’s end!

This proved to be the catalyst for a catastrophic collapse, tight bowling, injudicious shot selection and poor running between the wickets combining to yield the remaining seven wickets for just 23 runs.

Despite Nicholls reaching a patient 50 (6 x 4s, 97 balls), four Ashes’ batsmen failed to trouble the scorers, Bradshaw-Smith claiming two wickets.

The return of Harrison saw Nicholls’ long vigil end at 52 as he guided a lifting ball to Pritchard at short third man and the innings ended with two further run outs, one as a result of a fine direct hit by Nick Doman.

Even on a drying and slightly uneven wicket, the Ashes’ total of 153 appeared inadequate.

Harrison was, undoubtedly, the Otters’ standout bowler, his aggression and new found accuracy yielding 4-26 from 11 overs, whilst Bradshaw-Smith (2-16) lent excellent support.

In reply, the Ashes came out all guns blazing, particularly in the form of impressive 19-year-old paceman Durman, who followed up Marcus West’s early dismissal of Alex Clements (8) by having remaining opener Steve Forbes (2) caught behind by Berry.

And when Kirk (10) fell in similar fashion off West, the home side were struggling at 28-3.

Sixteen year old prospect Pritchard was applying himself well and, despite losing partners Lewis Townsend (8) and Woodman (9), the youngster accumulated runs in beautifully controlled style.

George Biggs (0) departed in desperately unlucky fashion, run out backing up as bowler Ashley Harvey diverted Pritchard’s fierce drive onto the stumps.

Jody Clements (1) was soon bowled by Steve Harvey, but the incoming Bradshaw-Smith rolled back the years, producing some fine shots as 33 runs were added before Pritchard inside edged Durman onto his leg stump to end an excellent knock at 38.

Nick Doman added a valuable 18 before being bowled and, with only Harrison to come, the Otters’ goose looked cooked at 144-9.

However, the No.11 blocked out the penultimate over leaving Ottery needing 10 to win from the final over. Amidst enormous tension, Bradshaw-Smith edged Durman to the boundary and the scores were tied with one delivery remaining.

Bradshaw-Smith swung and missed, but keeper Berry fumbled slightly and the resultant bye won a pulsating contest! Bradshaw-Smith remained 44 not out.

Reflecting on his team’s recent renaissance, the jubilant Otters’ skipper Rob Johns commented: “Getting more experience back in the side has given us a real lift. As we showed today, we bat all the way down and the spirit in the team is terrific.

“Will Harrison was shaking when he went in to bat – he really cares about the side and he did a great job all round. And didn’t RBS bat well?”

Francis Clark Devon League D Division: Ottery St Mary (18pts) bt Ashburton (7pts) by 1 wkt.

U10s SOFTBALL PAIRS - Ottery CC B U10s v Ottery A U10s (Softball pairs)

These two teams of clubmates played a tightly-contested match on a cloudy evening at Salston Field, with Ottery B eventually running out winners.

Ottery B batted first and posted a total of 294, Tom Jeacock top-scoring with 30.

Andrew Mortimer was the pick of the Ottery A bowlers picking up two wickets. Ottery A’s reply started well with Charlie Olive in particularly fine form hitting five fours and a six. However, some mediocre running between the wickets and some fine fielding from Ottery B led to eight run outs with Ottery A finishing on 260.

Ottery B U10s v Whimple U10s (Softball pairs)

Some excellent bowling and fine catching saw Ottery B restrict Whimple to 227 with Will Bugler, Ben Marsh and Ben Cathcart holding excellent catches.

Ottery B scored 301 in reply, with Tom Peters cracking four fours in an excellent opening partnership of 35 without loss with Tom Simmons.

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