Ottery rewarded for solid all-round play


- Credit: Archant

A fine all-round display saw Ottery St Mary 1st XI begin the second half of the Tolchard’s Devon League season in encouraging style with a four wicket victory over visiting Thorverton, a result which saw Rob Crabb’s men claim the double over the Exe valley outfit, writes Ian Townsend.

After inviting the visitors to bat, the Otters were given a fine start by Will Harrison who soon induced Jamie Khan (0) to edge behind to Sam Lynch. And with teenage pacer Ollie Reed producing a particularly well directed opening spell (0-11 from six overs), the visitors’ innings got off to a slow start. After Jody Clements gave John Farley a life, shelling a low return catch, despite the relatively benign pitch, he and fellow change bowler Joe Birch once again expertly applied pressure. Clements was rewarded with the wicket of Paul Fielder (25) who failed to get over a drive and was athletically held by Billy Rudolph at extra cover. Birch then comprehensively yorked James Hope (0) and when Clements (2-33) produced a ‘jaffa’ to knock back Dave Baldock’s off peg, the Thors stood at 82-4. Without ever looking convincing, Farley battled on until his 99-ball vigil was ended at 49 (seven fours) as he was bowled by Billy Rudolph. Birch’s terrific spell (1-15 from nine overs) was well backed up by off-spinner Matt Reed who bowled Andy Pitt for a single.

However, Australian overseas, Adriane Morrison,(47 with five fours and a six) was looking good, producing a fine array of shots all around the wicket until an extravagant switch hit off Matt Reed (2-28) was brilliantly clasped one-handed above his head by Crabb on the mid-wicket rope. Jake Crouch (29* from 27 balls) produced some impressive late innings blows, but 170-7 from 45 overs appeared well under par.

In sharp contrast to the visitors’ innings, most of which was played in bright sunshine, as the Otters replied, glowering low cloud hung over Salston Field. The pacey Morrison at once yorked Dan Flower (0), after which Rudolph and Crabb (9) were forced to tough it out. Despite the odd false stroke, 45 were added before the Ottery skipper loosely drove Jake Crouch to brother Gilam at cover. The Thors could ill afford Baldock’s shelled slip catch to give Rudolph a life. The talented 17 year old made the visitors pay in a fluent 63-run stand with a typically belligerent Billy Reed (40 from 41 balls) who unleashed a series of powerful shots before driving wildly at Jake Crouch to be bowled. By now, Rudolph was in full flow, unfurling a series of characteristically flowing off drives to reach 58 (eight fours) before weakly guiding Gilam Crouch to Kahn at short third man. The light was now appalling but, not for the first time this season, the experience and cool head of Clements came to bear. Despite Gilam Crouch (2-33) trapping Alex Thurgate (4) lbw and brother Jake (3-35) removing Lynch (2), the former Otters’ skipper stood firm, punctuating a typically gutsy undefeated 30 with some meaty drives to see his side home to a hugely satisfying sixth win of the season with six overs in hand.

A proud Otters’ skipper afterwards purred: “That was a very good bowling performance. We collectively applied pressure and I reckon they were at least 30 runs under par. I was pleased with the gutsiness of our batting. Billy Rudolph played beautifully, that was a super cameo from Billy Reed and once again, Jody played really well – he’s stepped up big time this year.”

You may also want to watch:

Thorverton 170-7 (J Farley 49, A Morrison 47, J Crouch 29*, M Reed 2-28, J Clements 2-33) Ottery St Mary 171-6 (B Rudolph 58, B Reed 40, J Clements 30*, J Crouch 3-35, G Crouch 2-33). Ottery St Mary (18pts) bt Thorverton (7pts) by 4 wkts.

Otters Man of the Match – Jody Clements

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