Otters put South Devon into a spin


Cricket - Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary 1st XI’s fine start to life in B Division of the Tolchard’s Devon League continued as their visit to South Devon CC yielded a comfortable fourth win of the season, writes Ian Townsend.

On a helpful surface, spin bowling was prominent in the Otters’ attack, claiming six wickets as the home side were hustled out for a modest total before a solid batting display saw Rob Crabb’s men cruise to victory with no less than 17 overs to spare.

After the visitors won the toss and elected to bowl, in the absence of in-form paceman Will Harrison, 17-year-old’s duo Ollie Reed and Billy Rudolph opened the attack in impressive fashion with the former soon claiming the scalp of Ryan Maunder (0) who edged to Crabb at slip.

David Knowles and Richard Beaumont took the score to 45 before change bowler Jody Clements induced Knowles (20) to edge behind to Billy Reed.

When prolific South African Divan Marais joined Beaumont at the crease, South Devon then posted the one really substantial partnership of the innings. Both players unfurled some fine shots as 78 runs were added in good time before off spinner Matt Reed ended the fun, bowling Beaumont for an excellent 59. Without addition, left arm spinner Alex Thurgate claimed the prized scalp of Marais (37) who edged a well flighted delivery behind to Billy Reed and, from 123-4, the home side never recovered.

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Thurgate (2-21) and Matt Reed (2-32) claimed a further victim apiece as home skipper Jonathon Martin (1) offered a return catch and Joseph Kitto (0) was bowled. After Aaron Hammett (2) was run out, Crabb, normally a seamer, turned his hand to left arm spin to good effect as Robert Stephens (6) was pouched by Kevin Kelly and Gareth Harris (1) was trapped lbw leaving the Ottery skipper with figures of two for one from three overs!

Cameron Fogden’s late cameo ended at 18, courtesy of a catch by Thurgate off the returning Ollie Reed (2-30), as South Devon recorded an inadequate-looking 156 all out.

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Rudolph and Dan Flower gave the visitors a fine start in reply, taking full advantage of some wayward bowling from the home attack to post a rapid 73-run stand. Flower (24) unleashed some characteristically crashing drives before offering a sharp return catch to Beaumont (2-30) and when the same bowler then castled Rudolph for a solid 32 and Billy Reed (6) was bowled by Knowles, Ottery stood at 88-3. That soon became 98-4 as Clements (4) was held by Fogden off Stephens but that was as good as it got for the home side as the youthful duo of Thurgate and George Biggs took control for the visitors.

The return of Biggs to Salston Field represents a major coup for the Otters whose batting is clearly benefitting from the considered approach of the stylish right hander.

Well supported by the wristy Thurgate (20*), Biggs crafted a solid undefeated 39 as he eventually cast off the shackles to end the contest with a series of boundaries, culminating in a six, to propel the Otters past the winning post at which point the impressive unbeaten fifth wicket partnership had reached 63.

South Devon 156 (R Beaumont 59, D Marais 37, D Knowles 20, R Crabb 2-1, A Thurgate

2-21, O Reed 2-30, M Reed 2-32) Ottery St Mary 161-4 (G Biggs 39*, B Rudolph 32, D Flower 24, A Thurgate 20*, R Beaumont 2-30). Ottery St Mary (20pts) bt South Devon (5pts) by 6 wkts.

Otters Man of the Match – George Biggs

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