Ottery St Mary Cricket Club celebrate successful campaign
- Credit: Archant
Over sixty Ottery St Mary Cricket Club members, sponsors and guests recently gathered at the Tumbling Weir Hotel in the town to celebrate the achievements of a generally positive campaign for the Salston Field outfit, writes Ian Townsend.
Without doubt the most exciting aspect of the season was the manner in which female cricket continued to flourish.
Under the terrific tutelage of Alex Clements and Ollie West, despite only playing in their second season of cricket, the Women's XI won seven of their nine fixtures including winning a tournament held at Budleigh CC.
Clements enthused: "The team has made incredible progress and are a pleasure to coach."
There were numerous contenders for the newly introduced Ladies' Player of the Year trophy but the award went to experienced batsman Kath Dockley who performed with admirable consistency throughout.
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With the Youth Section Player of the Year award going to a girl for the first time in the form of Hayley Blackmore, the future of female cricket at Salston Field looks very bright.
On the male front, 1st XI skipper Will Harrison joked that his charges "robbed third place in the league" as a favourable series of results on the final weekend of the campaign saw them leap up the C Division (East) table. He reflected that despite some availability issues, the side had been close to "real success" whilst acknowledging that the season featured one some sub-standard performances.
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Returning Aussie overseas, Ollie West, described by club chairman Rob Johns as "a fantastic asset to the club", again performed splendidly posting 837 runs at an average of 56 and claiming eighteen wickets. The star of season on the batting front, however, was undoubtedly West's opening partner and OSMCC stalwart Alex Clements, who enjoyed a golden season hitting 677 runs at an average of 45, including two centuries, to become a hugely popular winner of the 1st XI batting award.
Newcomer Harsha Liyanage made an immediate impact as he claimed the Clive Russell Trophy by capturing a hat-trick on his first outing for the club and registered 18 wickets in total.
Jack Malden, Joe Birch and Sam Brook also contributed well to the bowling effort whilst Harrison's 24 wickets at 25 apiece made him the leading wicket taker.
However, the 1st XI bowling award again went to the metronomically accurate Jody Clements whose 20 victims cost just 19 runs each.
The final weekend of the Tolchard's Devon League campaign saw the club's 2nd XI complete an amazing escape. Having posted only one win in the first nine games of the season, Dan Jeacock's men appeared to be relegation certainties.
However, boosted by the return of players such as the Tierney brothers, Luke & Jake, and George Southall-Brown and a general surge in self-belief, a remarkable seven wins were garnered from the last nine games with a last day triumph at Bideford securing another season in E Division (East).
Dan Flower (249 runs @ 62), Tom Jeacock and Anthony Dean all contributed well with the bat, but the batting award went to the admirably consistent Dan Jeacock whose 374 runs included 81 vs. Countess Wear. Jeacock also claimed 15 wickets with his off spin, the Tierney brothers both bagged 11 wickets in relatively few matches and youngster Jon Triner performed promisingly, but the bowling award went to 14-year-old seamer Max Moore whose sheer consistency was rewarded with an impressive 21 wicket haul.
The 2nd XI was very much based upon graduates from the club's thriving youth set-up. In paying tribute to the efforts of head coach, Alex Clements and all the age group coaches and managers, chairman Johns highlighted the fact that two hugely promising youngsters, Lawrence Walker and Matt Jeacock, will this winter be touring South Africa with the Devon U15 side, a real feather in the cap of all involved.
The Richard Whittington Fielding Award went to 16-year-old Eddie Rudolph, a wicket keeper by trade who, on his elevation to the 1st XI, showed admirable flexibility in becoming a highly effective outfielder and finally, the coveted Clubman of the Year award was awarded to Brett Venables.
Johns paid tribute to the remarkable impact made by Brett despite only arriving in England from Sydney in late 2018. As well as doing a great job of supporting the younger players in the 2nd XI, frequently assisted by wife Sam, he was highly active in the reinvigoration of the social side of the club as well as bringing a whole new, creative dimension to the barbecue, which was a prominent (and profitable) feature of junior training nights!