Otters sunk by batting collapse at Bideford

Duncan Bradshaw-Smith bowling for Ottery 2nds at home to Plymstock. Ref shsp 27-16TI 3519. Picture:

Duncan Bradshaw-Smith bowling for Ottery 2nds at home to Plymstock. Ref shsp 27-16TI 3519. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Fielding an under-strength batting line up took its toll on Ottery St Mary 1st XI as the long trek to Westward Ho! to face Bideford ended in a second successive defeat for the first time since the 2014 season, writes Ian Townsend.

Spinners Matt Reed and Alex Thurgate took advantage of a helpful surface to restrict the home side to a gettable total, but after too many of the top order got themselves out when looking well set, a lower order collapse, which saw the last five wickets fall for just three runs, consigned Rob Crabb’s men to a miserable trip back to East Devon.

Bideford were given a rapid start by Matt Shepherd who tucked into the usually economical Ollie Reed (0-60) to post a near run-a-ball 31 before falling to a catch by Matt Reed off Billy Rudolph. Well supported by the obdurate James Ford, home skipper Paul Heard (24) unleashed some powerful boundaries before an edge behind to Billy Reed saw him become a second victim for Rudolph who, in tandem with off-spinner Matt Reed, began to exert some control.

However, despite Ford (56 from 101 balls with nine fours), edging behind off Matt Reed, at 138-3 with 15 overs remaining, Bideford looked set for a sizeable total. The introduction of Thurgate tore the heart out of the middle order, the left arm spinner’s flight and guile yielding four wickets in nine excellent overs.

Fred King (23) was caught by Ollie Reed and Jamie Lathwell (7) bowled before Rudolph expertly clasped a huge skier to send back Ji Eccles (2). Thurgate returned the compliment, pouching Alex Hannam (17) off Rudolph, before Ollie Reed did brilliantly to hang onto a ball that was travelling like a shell to send back Mike Lemmings and give Thurgate (4-33) his fourth wicket.

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Martin Stewart (1) was run out before the deserving Rudolph (4-43) wrapped up the innings at 203 by trapping Jack Ford lbw.

Dan Flower (16) took advantage of some loose offerings from King as the Otters replied before edging the impressive Heard (1-13 from 6 overs) behind to Eccles. First XI debutant Dan Jeacock (3) soon followed, becoming Eccles’ second victim, this time off King. Josh Atkinson’s well directed change bowling (2-24 from 9 overs) terminated promising innings from Rudolph (20) and Billy Reed (28), both caught by Lathwell at point, as the visitors’ batsmen struggled to get a foothold. Skipper Crabb and promising youngster Henry Mutter (24) battled hard to add 49 in 13 overs before the latter was unfortunate to be bowled off his elbow by off-spinner Lemmings to leave the visitors at 125-5.

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Former Devon all-rounder John Tierney looked in the groove as he powered four big sixes in posting 27 from just 18 balls before falling to a bizarre run out, failing to regain his ground after sending his partner back.

This proved to be the nadir of the innings as the arrival of the speedy Alex Hannam (3-2) saw the lower order capitulate. Crabb’s doughty knock (21 from 67 balls) was terminated by a searing yorker, Thurgate (2) edged behind and Will Harrison was castled for a duck as Ottery slipped to a 42-run reverse.

Bideford 203 (J Ford 56, M Shepherd 31, J Atkinson 28*, P Herad 26, F King 23, A Thurgate 4-33, B Rudolph 4-43) Ottery St Mary 161 (B Reed 28, J Tierney 27, H Mutter 24, R Crabb 21, B Rudolph 20, A Hannam 3-2, M Lemmings 2-14, J Atkinson 2-24). Bideford (20pts) bt Ottery St Mary (9pts) by 42 runs.

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