Ottery slip to third successive Tolchards League defeat
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An ‘England-style’ middle order collapse saw Ottery St Mary 1st XI consigned to a frustrating narrow defeat at the hands of Exmouth 2nd XI in a high scoring affair at Salston Field, writes Ian Townsend.
On the back of an explosive innings from impressive teenager Louis Morison, the visitors looked set for a 300 plus total before the Otters bowlers hit back well. A fine knock from Joe Henkus then put the home side in with a chance before a clatter of wickets put them so far behind the clock, that even a characteristically powerful display of ball striking from Jody Clements was insufficient to see Will Harrison's men over the line.
Having chosen to bat first, visiting skipper Sean Day and Marison gave Exmouth a rapid 59-run start in eight overs before Day (18) was pinned leg before by Harrison.
Morison, however, was in full flow taking a particular liking to left arm paceman Joe Birch whom he launched for an immense maximum over the adjoining caravan park. The powerful 17-year-old had blasted 80 from just 59 balls faced (15 fours and a six) before Birch exacted some degree of revenge by pouching him off Ollie West's leg spin.
Luke Davies (46) and Finn Marks (45) kept the runs flowing and, with the score passing 200 with more than 10 overs to spare, a huge target was on the cards.
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However, with teenage seamer Sam Brook (3-36) accounting for both men and Exmouth contriving to fall victim to no less than three run outs, the visitors total of 261 all out appeared challenging, but not insurmountable.
A series of fluent shots from West (48) gave the Otters a rapid 70-run start in reply, the diminutive Aussie striking eight boundaries before being castled by a fine leg cutter from the pacy Alvin Pollard.
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With the incoming Henkus looking in fine form, the runs continued to flow as the youngster launched some powerful drives.
However, the introduction of Ryan Schaufler changed the course of the innings as the medium pacer claimed an amazing 5-12 in just four overs - first Alex Clements (15) edged behind to Davies before Dan Flower (2) played across the line to be trapped lbw, Lawrence Walker (0) fell victim to an unplayable 'shooter' and both Harsha Liyanage (0) and Rick Jackson (1) were bowled playing very loose shots.
At 136-6 Ottery appeared to be in the mire, but that reckoned without the talents of all-rounder, Jody Clements.
With solid support from Henkus, Clements was immediately on the front foot playing expansively all around the wicket as 59 were added in ten overs and, even after Henkus (61 with seven fours) holed out off Sid Fereday, the runs continued to flow. Brook (10*) provided intelligent support as Clements stormed past 50 off 38 balls, but the lack of runs from his middle order colleagues meant that victory was just out of reach, Clements remaining unbeaten on 73 (48 balls, seven fours and two sixes) as the Otters closed 16 runs short.
After a third successive defeat from an admittedly tough run of fixtures, the Otters will be desperate to return to winning ways in this weekend's long trip to face Barnstaple & Pilton.
Exmouth II 261 (L Marison 80, L Davies 46, F Marks 45, S Brook 3-36) Ottery St Mary 246-7 (J Clements 73*, J Henkus 61, O.West 48, R Schaufler 5-43). Exmouth II (18pts) bt Ottery St Mary (10pts) by 15 runs.
Otters Man of the Match - Jody Clements