Ottery’s fireworks fizzle out
Ottery St Mary 1st XI ended their league campaign with a whimper as they slipped to a heavy defeat against promotion-chasing visitors, Bideford, writes Ian Townsend.
The Salston Field side paid the price for their inability to take advantage of bowling first on a difficult track after which the home attack were given a lesson in line and length by visiting paceman Josh King who claimed six wickets to ensure the Otters’ season finished on a distinctly downbeat note.
Having won the toss and inserted the visitors on an evenly damp, slow and low wicket, the Ottery opening bowlers failed to exert any sustained pressure on Bideford openers Mike Young and Fergie Bradbeer, with left armer Will Harrison, in particular, struggling to find his line and length. Consequently, the pair were able to post a valuable 63-run opening stand before change bowler Zac Johns produced a fine yorker in his first over to castle Young for a solid 45. Mike Ford and the obdurate Bradbeer (44) took the total to 122 before a full toss from off spinner Lewis Townsend was miscued by Ford to skipper Jody Clements at point.
Townsend, who was deriving considerable turn from the drying surface, produced a fine off break to bowl Alex Crisp (14) through the gate and, although all of the Otters’ bowlers were guilty of serving up too many loose deliveries, Bideford lost regular wickets to slip to 175-8 with the returning Harrison claiming three victims (3-61) and Townsend four (4-56).
Via a combination of a good eye and a few slices of luck, Mike Luxton produced a late innings blitz to smash 42 at a run a ball before falling to a catch by Dan Flower at deep mid-wicket off Zac Johns. Fifty three runs were added in the final seven overs and it was puzzling that Rob Johns, the only home bowler to show any semblance of control, delivered only six overs (0-17) in the innings. A total of 231-9 appeared to be a least 50 runs over par.
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After the early loss of Richard Townsend (3), who was adjudged lbw despite appearing to get a sizeable inside edge, Flower and the ever reliable George Biggs (23) steadied the ship.
They took the score to 57 before the latter was trapped plumb lbw by change bowler, King whose lively pace and skiddy delivery appeared ideal for the conditions. And sure enough, after Rob Johns (0) was run out, King proceeded to wreak havoc.
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Five Otters’ batsmen were bowled including Jack Pritchard, who got a jaffa pitching on middle and hitting off, and Flower whose fine 38 was ended as King went around the wicket and nipped one in through the gate to leave the total at a miserable 102-8.
Brave lower order resistance from Sam Lynch (20*) and Harrison (5) only delayed the inevitable until Crisp mopped up the tail by pouching a return catch from the latter before yorking Zac Johns (0) as the Otters slipped to a crushing 101-run defeat.
King’s terrific 6-28 from nine overs extolled the virtues of consistently putting the ball in the right areas.
So, a very disappointing end to a mixed season which, nevertheless, saw the newly promoted Otters claim a respectable mid-table finish.
Reflecting on their inaugural C Division campaign, Ottery skipper Clements observed: “We were decidedly lacklustre but over the season as a whole we achieved what we set out to do - both of our teams have stayed up. But our bowlers have got to learn to bowl a more consistent line and length.”
Francis Clark Devon League C Division: Bideford 231-9 (M Young 45, F Bradbeer 44, C Luxton 42, L Townsend 4-56, W Harrison 3-61, Z Johns 2-53) Ottery St Mary 130 (D Flower 38, G Biggs 23, S Lynch 20*, J King 6-28, A Crisp 2-8).
Bideford (20pts) bt Ottery St Mary (6pts) by 101 runs.