Otters’ vital points in thrilling draw
Francis Clark Devon League Second XI C Division: Ottery St Mary 215-7 (G.Iley 48, B.Burns 45, A.Clements 23*, L.Townsend 22, O.Seymour 3-33, C.Brigden 3-44) Braunton 212-7 (D.Creswell 115, O.Seymour 47, W.Harrison 3-47, K.Biggs 2-40.) Ottery St Mary (14pts) drew with Braunton (10pts)
Francis Clark Devon League Second XI C Division: Ottery St Mary 215-7 (G.Iley 48, B.Burns 45, A.Clements 23*, L.Townsend 22, O.Seymour 3-33, C.Brigden 3-44) Braunton 212-7 (D.Creswell 115, O.Seymour 47, W.Harrison 3-47, K.Biggs 2-40.) Ottery St Mary (14pts) drew with Braunton (10pts).
Ottery St Mary 2nd XI's second successive match against opposition struggling towards the foot the C Division table saw them claim a healthy points haul from a hard fought draw in last weekend's long trip to Braunton.
The Otters now lie fourth from bottom in the table with relegation fears beginning to ease.
Batting first, the visitors got off to a solid start as Steve Forbes (10) and Brain Burns (45) posted a 29 run partnership but, after Chris Brigden first bowled the former, then had Richard Townsend (4) caught at square leg from a top edged pull, Ottery began to struggle.
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The loss of last week's centurion, Rob Johns, saw them slump to 58-3 after 14 overs, before Burns and incoming skipper Gavin Iley posted an excellent 78 run stand for the fourth wicket. Iley eventually fell for 48 as he tried to up the scoring rate, but Lewis Townsend kept things moving with a rapid 22.
Alex Clements (23 not out) and Scott Gibbins (14 not out) then combined to scramble a useful 25 runs from the last four overs.
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The visitors' 215-7 from a full 46 overs looked to be a par score on a lush outfield against steady bowling, the pick of which was Brigden's 3-44 and Ollie Seymour's 3-33.
Ottery seamers Johns and Will Harrison then produced lively, well directed opening spells as the home openers struggled against the new ball.
Harrison removed Jody Abbot, lbw for two, after which Cresswell and Seymour took the score to 115 before the latter was bowled by off-spinner Burns for 47.
But the Otters' change bowlers were struggling and a further good partnership took the score to 171-3.
Things appeared bleak for Ottery as the North Devon side looked to be cruising to victory. However, when Cresswell was bowled by Harrison for a fine 115, having been dropped on three occasions, the score stood at 200-5 with four overs to go and the tension was palpable.
Experienced paceman Keith Biggs removed two young batsmen and further tight bowling saw Braunton reach the last over requiring six for victory.
Burns was the 'lucky' man to bowl it and the young Aussie came up trumps, bowling flat and full to concede just three runs to earn his side a hard fought draw and 14 precious points.
The Otters' skipper was characteristically honest in his appraisal of the contest, commenting: "We were very lucky to get the points we did today, but we kept going right until the end. We can't go to Axminster next week thinking we'll roll them over - I'm sure it'll be a tough game.
"Man-of-the-Match for us today was definitely Will Harrison - two cracking spells of aggressive fast bowling from someone who is really maturing as a bowler and a person."
By Ian Townsend
Ottery St Mary CC 2nd XI