Ottery CC up for award

Ottery St Mary Cricket Club whose most successful season ever in 2011 has been crowned by being shortlisted for the prestigious Exeter Sports Awards Community Club of the Year trophy. The Salston Field outfit will be vying for the prize with two other local sports clubs at the awards ceremony which takes place on January 19, writes Ian Townsend.

Having hosted cricket in Ottery for over 150 years and, after joining the Devon League around 20 years ago, the club has made enormous strides within the last decade. This has largely been under-pinned by the burgeoning youth section which is now the largest in East Devon, boasting an impressive 160 players at U17 and below.

After another hugely successful season in 2011, with numerous cup and league successes at U11, U12 and U13 level, the Otters will next season field seven youth teams up to U15s, in addition to running a Sunday ‘development’ side designed to ease the passage of yet more youngsters into senior cricket.

Thirteen Ottery CC players represented the East Devon and full county youth XIs during 2011 and a number of the club’s products have graduated to Premier League sides in the past.

In recent seasons, a steady stream of homegrown youngsters have progressed to the club’s 1st and 2nd XIs, both of which secured promotion in 2011.1st and 2nd XI’s will be plying their trades in the C and B Divisions respectively of the Devon League in the coming season.

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Much of their success has been down to the youth second and another pleasing aspect of that has been the recent increase in the number of female players and with some older girls also showing an interest, it is hoped that a women’s XI will be established in the not too distant future.

The club, which hosted a Devon Over 50s match in 2011, is keen to enhance further its standard of cricket and is constantly working to improve its facilities.

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Over �7,000 was recently raised in order to refurbish the clubhouse at Salston Field and the improved facility now also acts as the social base for Ottery Crickets Hockey club during the winter months as well as hosting a highly successful annual Sports Quiz (this year’s is on March 23) and the annual Ottery 10K fun run.

It also acts as a base for the local Arts Society and is frequently hired out for private social functions. Subject to funding, plans are afoot to build a �50K extension to the pavilion in 2012/13 to further enhance this valuable community resource.

In summing up the ethos of Ottery CC, club stalwart and long standing chairman, Rob Bradshaw-Smith reflected: “Our club, which has just had its Clubmark accreditation renewed by the Devon Cricket Board, is fully inclusive, has a strong and active committee and invests in its facilities and talent. It really is an all year round organisation which provides a vital sporting and social hub for the people of Ottery and East Devon.”

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