Ottery St Mary begin new league term with victory at Filleigh


- Credit: Archant

Ottery St Mary 1st XI took full advantage of the fact North Devon escaped the ravages of the Bank Holiday weekend monsoon to post a crushing opening-day victory at newly promoted Filleigh, writes Ian Townsend.

After teenage debutant Ollie Reed starred in a fine all-round display from the Otters’ seamers, Devon U15 team mate, Billy Rudolph, and vice-captain Rob Crabb produced impressive knocks to guide the visitors to a nine-wicket win.

It was the perfect start to the new campaign and sets Ottery up nicely for the visit of Barnstaple & Pilton this Saturday.

“We’ve often started slowly in recent seasons so this is a fantastic win,” said Ottery captain Lewis Townsend.

“The bowlers set the game up for us with a terrific all-round display.

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“Ollie’s spell was a top effort on his debut and with Billy playing such an accomplished innings, it was really exciting to see two under 16s making such important contributions.

“Huge credit to Crabby as well. He applied himself really well at number three and once he got in, he showed what a fabulous ball striker he is.”

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After winning the toss, in overcast, damp conditions, Townsend had little hesitation inserting the hosts who were soon in trouble in the face of testing spells from experienced seamers Rob Johns and Will Harrison.

The latter soon sent back Jonathan Hickman, bowled for two, and when Johns yorked Mark Prideaux (15), Filleigh were 35-2 in the 15th over.

Zimbabwean import Mark Mbofona and Ryan Bowden added 46 in eight overs before the introduction of man of the match Reed triggered a catastrophic collapse which saw the hosts lose five wickets for five runs in four overs!

First Reed claimed the key wicket of Mbofona (28), who played on, before Jody Clements (2-18) trapped Bowden lbw for 27.

An ‘all-Reed’ dismissal then accounted for Simon Prosser (2) who edged Ollie behind to elder brother Billy after which Colin Nye was immediately run out for a duck.

When Ollie Reed then induced Gary Henry (0) to offer a catch to Rudolph, the youngster had announced his 1st XI arrival by claiming three wickets for seven runs in 11 balls.

John Harrison (11) edged Rudolph behind to provide Billy Reed with a second victim, after which Clements ended Victor Lothian’s resistance at 28 , courtesy of a catch by Sam Lynch.

Ollie Reed wrapped up proceedings by castling Mike Prideaux (6) to finish with an impressive 4-25 from 6.3 overs as Filleigh struggled to 134 all out.

Mbofona and Hickman bowled with control as the Ottery reply began slowly, the total reaching 11 in the fifth over before the former yorked Townsend (4).

That was as good as it got for Filleigh, however, as surviving opener Rudolph and Crabb gradually wrested back the initiative.

The highly promising Rudolph, in prime form having scored heavily in pre-season, broke the shackles as he despatched Hickman for three sumptuous boundaries, the total passing 50 in the 14th over.

In the face of some loose, change bowling, Crabb really got into his stride. Medium pacer Lothian came in for particular punishment, his two overs disappearing for 33 runs as the powerful left-hander posted a run-a-ball fifty containing six fours and three sixes.

Rudolph (62no) reached a classy half-century from 66 balls as the visitors cruised to victory with 20 overs to spare.

Crabb (57no) ended the contest in characteristic fashion as he launched Mbofona for six.

Ottery 2nd XI are away to Barton this Saturday. The 3rd XI entertain Halberton.

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