Ottery 1sts full of potential

Ottery St Mary 1st XI produced another disappointing display.

Ottery St Mary 1st XI produced another disappointing display as the re-emergence of their old Achilles heel - spilt catches - and a sub-standard batting performance saw them struggle to a losing draw in the delightful rural surroundings of Ipplepen.Inserting the opposition on a spongy surface, which was not really conducive to enterprising cricket, the visitors were indebted to a fine spell of pace bowling from 6ft 10ins Rob Johns for initially giving them the upper hand. Well supported by experienced opening partner Mark Woodman, the all-rounder exerted a stranglehold on home openers Simon Tapley and Steve Bowden who could post just 16 runs from the opening 10 overs. And although Tapley powerfully dispatched one or two loose deliveries, Ipplepen were soon in trouble. Johns' bounce and late movement first accounted for Bowden (12), Rob Bradshaw-Smith pouched a good low catch at second slip, then snared Tapley (20) who nicked an outswinger to give Rob Crabb a sharp catch at slip and, finally, sent back Luke Tuckett for a duck, the youngster edging a leg cutter to Jody Clements in the gully. The incoming Jeff Heath was fortunate to survive as Matt Kirk spilt a dolly catch in the covers, but Tom Cooper (4) became Johns' fourth victim, edging to Sam Lynch at backward point to leave Ipplepen at 43-4. Heath made the most of his good fortune, hitting a quick fire 28 via a combination of powerful blows and 'well placed' edges before holing out to Lewis Townsend on the deep cover boundary off Bradshaw-Smith. 'RBS', bowling as steadily as ever, also sent back young Sam DeFriend lbw before putting down a sharpish caught-and-bowled chance offered by Matt Quartley. The same player, who received a second life when Woodman grassed a steepler at long on, then made the Otters pay for their profligacy by blasting a powerful 30, including a straight six over the sightscreen off Crabb, a vital innings in a low scoring contest. After Bradshaw-Smith finally claimed his man, well held by Steve Forbes at deep extra cover, experienced left-hander Keith Bell (35 not out) guided the home side to useful 159-8 from a full 46 overs but not before Bradshaw-Smith grabbed a deserved fourth wicket as young keeper Charl Axsel produced a neat stumping to remove Joe Abbot (4).The Otters proceeded to make hard work of the relatively gentle home attack.Having looked in little trouble, Forbes (4) was unfortunate to fall to Paul Thomas, victim of a stunning one-handed catch by Abbot at backward point and, after No 3 batsman Crabb had lifted Wakeham over midwicket for six, his 'airy-fairy' drive presented DeFriend with a simple catch to leave Ottery at 18-2, Thomas again the beneficiary. Worse was to follow as remaining opener Axsel (4) pushed tentatively at a wideish delivery from Wakeham and edged behind to Tuckett. Thomas, who was bowling accurately and achieving some late swing and seam movement, claimed his third wicket as Kirk (0) chipped the ball tamely to Quartley at long on. Clements finally claimed the Otters' first boundary of the innings, clipping Wakeham to the mid-wicket boundary in the 16th over. Lewis Townsend (0) succumbed to a fine delivery from Thomas, leaving the visitors staring down the barrel at 29-5. Otters battled to stave off defeat, but even master batsman Bradshaw-Smith fell victim to the malaise as his indecision saw him trapped lbw by Bowden for six. Some sanity was restored by the incoming Johns and skipper for the day, Clements who, not for the first time this season, was demonstrating the application lacking in some of his teammates. After the 50 arrived in the 32nd over, Clements produced the shot of the day, a delightful backfoot cover-driven boundary off DeFriend before falling lbw to the persistent Wakeham for 33 as he played across the line for virtually the first time in his valuable innings. In the company of the incoming Woodman, Johns, who was also playing very responsibly, guided the Otters to a losing draw at 110-7. Johns remained unbeaten on 39. Thomas was the pick of the home bowlers with a fine 4-18 from his 13 overs. Otters' Man of the Match - Rob Johnsl Francis Clark Devon League D Division: Ipplepen 159-8 (M Quartley 30, J Heath 28, S Tapley 20; R Johns 4-24, R Bradshaw-Smith 4-32). Ottery St Mary 110-7 (R Johns 39*, J Clements 33; P Thomas 4-18, K.Wakeham 2-22) Ottery St Mary (7pts) drew with Ipplepen (12pts).Ottery 1assts

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