Otters spurn victory chance

Luke Tierney bowling for Ottery 2nds at home to Paington. Ref shsp 20-17TI 3039. Picture: Terry Ife

Luke Tierney bowling for Ottery 2nds at home to Paington. Ref shsp 20-17TI 3039. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

When you’ve got your foot firmly on your adversary’s throat, failure to press home the advantage frequently comes back to bite you and so it proved to be for Ottery St Mary 1st XI in their Tolchards Devon League B Division home meeting with Shobrooke Park, writes Ian Townsend.

Will Harrison’s men had opened the new campaign with four straight defeats as a recent haemorrhaging of batting talent from the club seriously curtailed their run scoring capability.

However, despite again posting a modest total, with the visitors struggling in reply, it appeared that victory was finally on the cards.

Sadly two lives given to visiting batsman, Chris Simpson via dropped dolly catches proved costly as the Aussie went on to register an unbeaten 74 in his side’s five wicket win.

Left arm paceman Craig James, who last season plied his trade in the Premier League, made early inroads into the home batting line up to reduce Ottery to 13-3.

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After trapping Dan Jeacock (0) lbw, the pacey Kiwi produced terrific deliveries to castle both Dan Flower (4) and Jody Clements (0). Alex Clements and Rob Crabb restored some semblance of order with a 53-run stand, both men playing nicely until Crabb (22) was bowled by Simpson.

The departure 0f Alex Clements (28), who toe-ended a low Simpson full toss to mid-wicket, was the signal for a clatter of wickets as the Otters slipped from 82-4 to 110-9, but teenagers Harry Conway (38*) and Tom Jeacock (16) produced a spirited last wicket stand, adding 36 in five overs as the Otters limped to 146 all out. Craig James returned an impressive 5-33 and Simpson 4-28.

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Home seamers Harrison (1-19) and Joe Birch (2-27) immediately hit their straps as Shobrooke replied, both men deriving considerable late swing from the new ball.

Dan Robbins (4) edged behind to Alex Clements as he wafted loosely at Birch, John James (0) knicked a lifter from Harrison to the keeper and Chris Ford (0) fell to a sharp catch by Crabb at second slip off Birch as the visitors slumped to 8-3. Simpson then appeared fortunate to not to depart following a huge appeal for a catch at the wicket off Birch before surviving chances to Tom Jeacock at point and Matt Reed in the gully.

The Otters were made to pay for their profligacy as the stylish left hander began to play some fine shots.

Sixty-four were added in 10 overs with Craig James who eventually gave a return catch to Reed to perish for a scratchy but valuable 20. Simpson then received solid support from Andrew Codling (10), who fell to fine catch at the wicket off the excellent Jody Clements (1-22), and Richard Pyle (20*) as he passed 50 with a big six off Dan Jeacock, the visitors reaching their target with almost seven overs to spare.

A long hard season appears to be in store for the Otters who remain rooted to the foot of the B Division table.

Ottery St Mary 146 (H Conway 38*, A Clements 28, R Crabb 22, C James 5-33, C Simpson 4-28) Shobrooke Park 147-5 (C Simpson 74*, R Pyle 20*, C .James 20, J Birch 2-27). Shobrooke Park (18pts) bt Ottery St Mary (5pts) by 5 wkts.

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