Otters make winning start to new league season

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- Credit: Archant

Life in the unfamiliar surroundings of B Division of the Tolchard’s Devon League began in encouraging fashion for Ottery St Mary 1st XI as the newly promoted Salston Field side claimed a narrow but hugely satisfying victory from the short trip to well-fancied local rivals, Thorverton, writes Ian Townsend.

After left arm pacemen Will Harrison and Joe Birch claimed three wickets apiece in an impressive all-round display of bowling and fielding, a typically powerful knock from opener Dan Flower and a captain’s innings from new skipper, Rob Crabb paved the way for a tense two wicket win.

Harrison gave the Otters a great start as a trademark in-swinging yorker castled home opener George Greed for a duck. Thors’ skipper Graham White and Paul Fielder fashioned a 40-run stand in 10 overs before Harrison struck again, White (20) edging behind to Billy Reed. When change bowler Birch then struck two further blows, trapping Fielder (27) lbw and bowling Harry Choules for a duck, the home side were staring down the barrel at 54-4 in the 15th over. However, after a sketchy beginning, David Baldock was finding his feet as an important 37-run partnership was compiled with the passive Sam Reddick (8) who eventually became a third victim for Birch (3-28), courtesy of a catch from Matt Reed. Harrison (3-26) returned with good effect to bowl Aussie import Adriane Morrison (23) and with off-spinner Matt Reed’s frugal nine over spell (0-28) being backed up by sharp ground fielding, the home side were behind the clock at 142-6 after 38 overs. Baldock, though, was still in residence, having reached a solid fifty from 82 balls, and well supported by Andrew Pitt (25), he opened up somewhat as 54 were added from the last seven overs. Nevertheless, despite Baldock’s undefeated 85 (11 fours and a six), 196-7 from a full 45 overs on a decent surface was par at best.

Flower got the visitors’ reply off to a flying start as he hammered a number of boundaries in dominating a 46-run opening stand with Billy Rudolph. When Rudolph (7) and fellow youngster Billy Reed (8) both fell in quick succession to the combination of Jake Crouch and home keeper, Harry Choules, the Otters had slipped to 63-2. Useful cameos from Mickey Wilikinson (16) and John Tierney (15) were both terminated by the excessive lift of impressive paceman, Jake Choules (2-34) but Flower continued to prosper, passing fifty from 62 balls (nine fours). Crabb was providing excellent support via an unusually pedestrian innings punctuated with occasional typically bludgeoning shots. After Flower’s fine knock was ended by Pitt at 79 (13 fours), the loss of two more quick wickets saw the Otters wobbling at 163-7 but Crabb remained calm, sharing useful stands with Ollie Reed (3) and Harrison (2*) to guide his side home with an unbeaten 39.

It was a delighted Otters’ skipper who afterwards enthused: “It’s great to start the new season with a win against a team tipped for promotion. The guys turned in a really solid bowling and fielding performance and then Dan’s super innings set the game up for us”.


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Thorverton 196-7 (D.Baldock 85*, P.Fielder 27, A.Pitt 25, A.Morrison 23, G.White 20, W.Harrison 3-26, J.Birch 3-28) Ottery St Mary 200-8 (D.Flower 79, R.Crabb 39*, Extras 30, J.Crouch 3-39, A.Pitt 2-31, J.Choules 2-34). Ottery St Mary (18pts) bt Thorverton (8pts) by 2 wkts.

Otters Man of the Match – Dan Flower

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