Otters well beaten by pace-setters Plymstock

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

Last weekend’s trip to face promotion chasing Plymstock saw Ottery St Mary 1st XI suffer only their second defeat of the Tolchard’s Devon League season, writes Ian Townsend.

Circumstances conspired against the Salston Field side who, having been forced to field an under-strength batting line up, then endured the worst of the batting conditions in a contest reduced to 40 overs per side due to two rain breaks during the visitors’ innings.

Despite tight opening spells from West Indian overseas Bronte Bess and impressive 16-year old Rob Cunningham, Dan Flower and Billy Rudolph gave the Otters a sound if unspectacular start as 49 were added in 14 overs before Rudolph (21) mistimed change bowler Ian Whalley to Bess at mid-on.

Flower and George Biggs took the score to 71 before Syed Ali struck a double blow. First Flower (37 with five fours) was bowled by a delivery which kept low and seamed away after which Biggs (9) fell in virtually identical fashion and, when Alex Thurgate (4) skied a leading edge catch to Seb Jordan off Whalley (2-22), at 78-4 after 24 overs, Ottery were in the mire!

Ali (3-24) claimed a third victim as teenager Joe Henkus offered a catch to Horton and when Jody Clements’s fluent 21 (four fours) was terminated by Bess, at 108-6, Ottery appeared destined for a sub-150 total.

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However, when Otters’ skipper Rob Crabb joined former Devon all-rounder John Tierney at the wicket, the tempo of the innings was transformed. Few batsmen enjoy putting bat to ball more than these two and, in typical style, seventy runs were added in just seven overs via a series of powerful blows, particularly from Crabb whose unbeaten 42 occupied just 27 balls. Tierney’s 19-ball 25 ended as he was bowled by Jordan whose four overs yielded 38 runs. Matt Reed’s unbeaten 12 from six balls helped the Otters close on a respectable but under par 191-7.

A fine opening spell from 17-year-old paceman Ollie Reed was rewarded as Jordan (16) was snared lbw, but, from then on, a slightly lacklustre Otters’ attack uncharacteristically failed to apply any concerted pressure. Morgan Parkinson and Jason Williams enjoyed their fair share of luck in compiling a gutsy 68-run stand in 14 overs, Rudolph in particular being the unlucky victim of numerous play-and-misses. Off-spinner Matt Reed finally broke through, trapping Williams (38 with five fours and a six) in front, but the scoreboard continued to tick over nicely after Horton, on nought, survived a huge lbw shout.

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Reed (2-43) claimed a second scalp as Parkinson (35) was pinned lbw but after Bess joined the in-form Horton, the contest slipped away from the visitors. Both men unleashed a series of powerful blows all around the wicket with Bess taking particular toll of left arm spinner, Thurgate (0-40 from five overs). Victory arrived at a relative canter for the home side with a full five overs to spare, Horton remaining unbeaten on 48 (seven fours and a six) and Bess completing a fine all round performance with 39 not out from just 24 balls (four fours and two sixes).

The Otters will be hoping to return to winning ways in this weekend’s home clash with near neighbours, Thorverton.

Ottery St Mary 191-7 (R Crabb 42, D Flower 37, J Tierney 25, B Rudolph 21, J Clements 21; S Ali 3-24, I Whalley 2-22), Plymstock 192-3 (J. 48*, B.Bess 39*, J Williams 38, M Parkinson 35, M Reed 2-43). Plymstock (18pts) bt Ottery St Mary (5pts) by 7 wkts.

Otters Man of the Match – Rob Crabb

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