Ottery rusty after lay off

The resumption of action at Salston Field after two weeks of rain-enforced inactivity saw Ottery St Mary 1st XI produce a thoroughly lacklustre performance in crashing to a comprehensive defeat against Ivybridge, writes Ian Townsend.

After an inconsistent home bowling display led to the visitors posting a sizeable total, the Otters were completely unable to handle the wiles of Sri Lankan spinner, Jeewan De Silva who returned a six wicket haul.

Having inserted the visitors, the Otters’ collective rustiness was evident from the off as opening bowlers Mark Woodman and Will Harrison set the trend by producing regular loose deliveries to allow visiting openers Kevin Jacobs and Andy Johnson to get the innings off to a rapid start.

The home fielders were pressurised by excellent running between the wickets and the score passed 50 in the 13th over. The Otters’ change bowlers were unable to stem the tide and Jacobs lifted spinner Adrian Pullin for six over midwicket to bring up the 100 in the 22nd over. Both batsmen were producing fine strokes and Jacobs cruised past 50 (6 x 4s, 1 x 6) before teenage leg spinner Sam Loud finally broke the opening stand at 127 as his probing spell was rewarded with the wicket of Johnson (45 with 5 x 4s), trapped lbw.

In the absence of the sorely-missed holidaying Rob Johns, home skipper Jody Clements had entered the attack and proceeded to produce a well-directed spell which temporarily stemmed the flow of runs, prompting many observers to question why, these days, he turns his arm over so rarely.

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After Jacobs’ fine knock ended at 75 (8 x 4s, 1 x 6), Woodman trapping him lbw, De Silva and big-hitting Kelvin Trent heaped more misery on the home attack by producing another century stand. De Silva (55*) unleashed some fine shots all around the wicket while Trent bludgeoned his way to an unbeaten 46 from just 38 balls faced. The usually frugal Woodman was twice deposited in to the adjoining caravan park! The visitors declared at an imposing 245-2 from 45 overs.

Despite the Ivybridge opening bowlers, Pete Abraham and Paul Veale, giving their counterparts a lesson in bowling straight, home pair Richard Townsend and Trevor Griffin (12) gave Ottery a sound start in reply.

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After the latter perished lbw, trying to whip Veale to leg, Sam Tennant joined Townsend and the pair batted steadily to take the score past 50. The introduction of spinner De Silva to the attack enticed Townsend (22) down the track to dolly a catch to Harry Solomon at cover. Tennant, who was unleashing fine drives, soon lost out-of-form partner Pullin (7), bowled by Solomon. De Silva trapped George Biggs (8) lbw and, when he also sent back Tennant (59), who missed aiming a big hit over mid-wicket, the writing was on the wall.

After Dan Flower (7) bottom-edged a pull against Veale into his stumps, and Jack Pritchard (0) looked unlucky to be trapped lbw by De Silva, skipper Clements (10) fell on his sword trying to blast his side to the two thirds total needed to claim a losing draw. Tail enders Loud (2) and Harrison (0) both panicked under pressure exerted by De Silva and his cohort of close fielders, bowled as the Otters collapsed to a hugely disappointing 146 all out giving the visitors a crushing 99 run victory. De Silva returned 6-39 from his 13.5 overs.

Ottery collected just three points.

from what should have been a winnable encounter, slipped to fourth from bottom of the league as a result and will need to sharpen up in all facets of their game if C Division status is to be maintained.

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