Ottery 2nds scraped vital win

Ottery St Mary 2nd XI did just enough to secure a priceless win from last weekend’s short trip to Alphington, writes Ian Townsend.

The Otters were guilty of taking their collective foot off the throat of the Alphas when they were there for the taking and were almost made to pay by a fine eighth wicket stand between veterans Andy Mills and Tim Collier.

Fortunately for the Salston Field side, evergreen paceman Keith Biggs (4-39) claimed two late scalps to complete a terrific spell and spare their blushes as the winning post was reached with just six runs to spare!

Ottery were given a fine start by Trevor Griffin and Ed Fowler who compiled a rapid 55-run opening stand on a benign wicket. As is so often the case, both men departed in quick succession, Griffin (18) being trapped lbw playing across a full ball from Ben Newcombe and Fowler (33 with 4 x 4s) aiming a big drive to be bowled through the gate by off-spinner Lee Rowe, thus setting the tone for numerous other Otters’ players to depart to poor shots.

Rick Jackson (2) was soon run out to leave the visitors at 67-3 before two players perished playing across the line of full deliveries. Alex Thurgate (16) was trapped lbw by Newcombe and Matt Reed (13) bowled by Richard Gott. Rob Crabb was playing sensibly and, with Lewis Townsend showing his intentions with three quick boundaries off Gott, the pair took the score to 138 in quick time before Crabb (28) edged an innocuous delivery from Gott behind to Luke Phillips who took a fine low catch. Townsend continued to flourish, launching a series of fine drives as stands with Anthony Dean (11) and skipper Gavin Iley, who also appears to be rediscovering some long overdue form, took the total to 192.

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Townsend (42 from 43 balls) departed, bowled aiming a big hit at Collier,” before Iley (18 with 4 x 4s) and last man Joe Birch (0) continued the trend of wickets being lost to shots across the line, both men falling victim to the innocuous-looking Matt Ely as Ottery closed on a rather disappointing 195 all out.

Fourteen runs flowed from the first two overs of the Alphas’ reply as Birch’s radar went completely awry to produce a series of wides until a rare straight ball castled Richard Cousins (0).

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Keith Biggs’ excellent outswing accounted for Jack Webber (4) who edged behind to Griffin, and Rowe (0) who was brilliantly taken low down by Crabb at second slip, to leave the score at 22-3. Newcombe and Phillips launched some powerful blows to affect something of a recovery, the total reaching 69 before the introduction of spinners Reed and Townsend once again turned the innings.

Reed trapped Newcombe (22) lbw playing back to a full ball. Gott (10) lost his leg stump to Townsend before Reed (3-36) removed Phillips, for 34, and youngster Jack Mills (4) caught and bowled. At 105-7, the visitors took their foot off the pedal to such an extent that veterans Collier and Mills were able to compile a terrific stand which almost snatched victory. Fine shots peppered the boundary but, with just 14 runs needed, the return of Birch and Biggs did the trick as Collier (39) edged the former behind to Griffin before the same fate befell Mills (37) off Biggs, ending a 14-over, 77-run partnership. Biggs removed last man Ely (5), pouched by Townsend in the covers, as the relieved Otters scraped home to claim a vital win which lifts them into mid-table.

Otters’ Man of the Match – Lewis Townsend.

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