Otters hit rock bottom
- Credit: Archant
After a chronic lack of application amongst the majority of their batsmen and a wayward display from their change bowlers saw Ottery St Mary 1st XI subside to defeat against visiting Ipplepen, the Salston Field outfit find themselves marooned at the bottom of the league table, the only side yet to claim a victory after a month of the new campaign, writes Ian Townsend.
The contest had begun brightly for the Otters as openers Dan Flower (21) and Ed Fowler (20) cashed in well on anything loose to give the home side a rapid 39-run start. However, after Flower was bowled by Matt Nicholls and Fowler edged one behind, the innings was on the slide. Skipper Jody Clements (6), Mark Woodman (1) and Adie Pullin (4) all departed to loose shots as the score limped to 64-5. Stroke makers, Lewis Townsend and John Tierney (18) reined in their attacking instincts as they battled to dig their side out of a hole, but once the latter played inside a straight delivery to edge behind, both Alex Clements and Rob Johns departed cheaply. Townsend’s long vigil (30 from 74 balls) ended as he was deceived in the flight by the leg spinner and stumped leaving Ottery at 126-9 before tail enders Sam Lynch and Zac Johns put the upper order to shame with a fine last wicket stand of 28. Johns (13) provided stout support as Lynch (22 not out) unfurled a number of pleasing drives but a total of 154 was at least 50 runs below par on a good track.
What followed was a seam bowling master class from the experienced duo of Woodman and Johns whose late seam movement and prodigious swing respectively, coupled with exemplary control, exerted a vice like grip. The Ipplepen opener sliced Woodman to Townsend at point and the visitors limped to 20-1 from 10 overs. Squared up by a terrific Woodman leg cutter, Dyer edged behind where Lynch took a fine tumbling catch before Johns trapped Lakmahni leg before then produced steepling bounce which saw Harris splice an attempted pull to Alex Clements who held on well. Woodman and Johns had conceded just 29 runs in 18 overs and the visitors were in the mire at 31-4.
The burning question was could the Otters’ change bowlers keep up the pressure? Sadly, the answer was a resounding ‘no’ and, despite Wakeham being hopelessly beaten for pace and bowled by Jody Clements, left hander Nicholls, having obdurately seen off the threat of the opening bowlers, took charge and produced a fine innings which deservedly won the match for the visitors.
The sixth wicket was not to be taken, it added 110 further runs and the winning line was crossed by Ipplepen with eight overs to spare.
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All the signs are that this will be a long hard season for the Otters. A marked enhancement in the collective application of their batsmen, coupled with improved accuracy on the part of their change bowlers, is essential if the Club’s C Division status, which they battled for so long to secure, is not to be relinquished.
Ottery St Mary 154 (L.Townsend 30, S.Lynch22*, D.Flower 21, E.Fowler 20, K.Wakeham 2-20, S.Bowden 2-26, P.Thomas 2-28, R.Lakmahni 2-29) Ipplepen 155-5 (M.Nicholls 72*, S.Powell 38*, R.Johns 2-13, M.Woodman 2-16). Ipplepen (18pts) bt Ottery St Mary (5pts) by 5 wkts.
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