Ottery St Mary 2nds set to play in second tier of County League cricket in 2014

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Ottery St Mary 2nd XI secured promotion to the dizzy heights of A Division after storming to their third successive crushing victory over disappointingly weak opposition whilst nearest rivals, Sidmouth 3rd XI were slipping to defeat against already promoted Budleigh, writes Ian Townsend.

Visitors Plymouth Civil Service and Roborough were totally unable to handle the Salston Field outfit’s bowling attack and were shot out for a paltry 69 after which Rob Crabb’s men cruised home with eight wickets to spare.

Opening bowlers Alex Tubbs and George Southall-Brown claimed an early wicket apiece to give the Otters a great start. Stuart Dent (7) departed to a good low catch at the wicket by Trevor Griffin off Tubbs whilst Ben Richards (9) was pouched by Alex Clements off Southall-Brown to leave Civil at 10-2. Crabb induced Tom Leman (9) to edge behind to Griffin after which the remainder of the visitors’ batting order was blown away by two bowlers at the opposite end of the age scale. Fourteen year old Billy Rudolph continued his fine season, bowling with characteristic control to claim three wickets for just eight runs whilst veteran all-rounder John Tierney delivered a curate’s egg of a spell to return 4-23 despite sending down numerous wides and an eleven ball over! Nevertheless the former Exmouth and Devon man held a terrific return catch to send back Reece Hamlyn (12) before producing a fine outswinger to castle Paul Smith (2). Joint top scorers for the visitors were Nick Read and extras with eighteen.

Griffin and Clements gave the Otters a sound start in reply, adding 39 in 12 relatively untroubled overs. Chris Newton, by far Civil’s best bowler, was surprisingly introduced only as third change but he predictably broke the opening stand as Griffin (24) edged behind. Clements (28) and Harry Conway took the score to 69 before the former slapped a gentle delivery from Smith straight to Read at mid-wicket but this merely delayed the inevitable and, appropriately, inspirational skipper Crabb soon despatched the boundary which saw his side clinch promotion with a massive 26 overs to spare. Whilst the standard of this year’s B Division has been markedly lower than the previous campaign, the Salston Field side can feel justifiably proud of landing a remarkable fourth promotion since 2004.

Reflecting on the side’s success, vice-captain Rick Jackson commented: “Everyone has pitched in really well throughout this season but the young players coming through have exceeded expectations. Billy Rudolph has had a terrific all round season and George Southall-Brown has done tremendously well opening the bowling. And then there’s Harry Conway who has shown real promise with the bat”.

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The Otters will be relishing the prospect of next year’s challenge!ymouth Civil Service and Roborough 69 (J Tierney 4-23, B Rudolph 3-8) Ottery St Mary 73-2 (A Clements 28, T Griffin 24). Ottery St Mary (20pts) bt Plymouth CS and R (1pt) by 8 wkts.

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