Otters will have to improve

Having begun life in C Division with an encouraging victory, Ottery St Mary 1st XI crashed back to earth as a combination of superb swing bowling from Clyst Hydon skipper, Kevin Sercombe, and a lack of application amongst some of their batsmen saw them dismissed for one of their lowest-ever league totals, writes Ian Townsend.

And yet things began so brightly for the Otters. After visiting openers, Andrew Feather (17) and George Pawley (20) had posted a steady 33 run opening stand, the probings of Mark Woodman trapped the latter lbw.

Skipper, Jody Clements took the pace off the ball by introducing medium-pacer, James Faulkner and leg spinner, Sam Loud, and the home side was soon in the ascendancy.

Faulkner was in his element in conditions offering considerable late swing, and the Jersey man soon struck as series of blows removing Chris Jelley (5), Mike Lewis (11) and Sercombe for a duck to leave Clyst at 77-5. Heffin Wood (0) committed suicide slogging at Loud before Matt Fitt and Richard Martin breathed some life into the innings with a lively seventh wicket stand of 41.

Faulkner struck again to remove Fitt caught and bowled and Martin Dudley, bowled for six and when left armer Will Harrison ended Martin’s defiance at 41 as he edged behind to Trevor Griffin, the end was nigh. Loud’s direct hit from the cover boundary to run out Will Thornton (0) ended the innings at 137 which appeared very gettable despite the bowler friendly conditions. Faulkner posted an excellent 5-29 from 12.1 overs.

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In reply the Otters’ top order showed little application as Thornton and, in particular, Sercombe derived prodigious late swing from the off. The latter soon removed Sam Tennant (6), bowled aiming a cross batted heave, and Adrian Pullin, who appeared a little unfortunate to be lbw, for a duck.

And when remaining opener Loud (9) was bowled through the gate, pushing lazily at Thornton, Ottery had slipped to 17-3. Worse was to follow, as no less than four wickets fell with the score on 25! Another Sercombe inswinger trapped Griffin (0) before Clements (0) was bowled by an unplayable ‘jaffa’ from Thornton. George Biggs (0), Woodman (0) and Faulkner (7) all fell looking clueless as Sercombe continued to ‘hoop’ the ball around and after Thornton induced Alex Clements (3) to miscue a drive to Fitt at extra cover, Sercombe completed a magnificent seven by castling last man Harrison (0) to dispatch the Otters for a pitiful 45.

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The Clyst skipper returned remarkable figures of 7-21 from 8.5 overs but well as he bowled, this was a woeful batting display who will have to show vastly improved application to compete in this division.

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