Ottery St Mary prove that they are ‘simply the best’ as title is secured

Ottery St Mary, the 2015 Tolchards Devon League C Division East champions.
Back row: (left to right

Ottery St Mary, the 2015 Tolchards Devon League C Division East champions. Back row: (left to right); Joe Birch, Will Harrison, Rob Johns, Dan Flower, Rob Crabb Front row: (left to right); Pete Gascoigne (scorer), Billy Rudolph, Ollie Reed, Lewis Townsend (capt), Sam Lynch, Billy Reed, Zac Johns, Elliott Jeffery (Bovis Homes). - Credit: Archant

Despite their local derby with Feniton being truncated by a spectacular thunderstorm, a fine bowling display last weekend saw Ottery St Mary 1st XI claim the necessary points to clinch the Tolchard’s Devon League C Division (East) title and thus secure promotion to the third tier of Devon cricket for the first time in their history, writes Ian Townsend.

Teenage paceman Ollie Reed has been one of the Club’s many successes in a collectively impressive campaign and when home skipper Jonathan Pyle opted to take first hit on a damp wicket, the sixteen year old was soon into his stride.

Openers Graham Tucker, bowled for nine, and Mark Salter (3), trapped lbw, were sent back to leave the total at 23-2 but former Fenny skipper Mark Kingdon then put up spirited resistance. Well supported by Sean Devine, Kingdon played some fine shots all around the wicket including a straight maximum off Kevin Kelly.

However, the former Honiton all-rounder was generally bowling with real control and in combination with the ever-reliable Jody Clements, he curtailed the scoring to the point where both batsmen got themselves out. Devine (20) was castled aiming a big drive and Kingdon (37 with five fours and a six) mistimed an on drive to Dan Flower at mid-wicket, Clements the beneficiary in both cases.

When left armer Joe Birch (2-18) then induced the dangerous Alex Frankpitt (8) to play on and saw Pyle’s edge behind well held by Billy Reed standing up, Feniton were on the slide at 97-6.

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Canadian all-rounder Adam Ramcharran (19) unleashed some defiant blows before playing around a straight one from the returning Ollie Reed (3-27) and when Billy Rudolph (2-7) removed both Matt Kingdon (6) and Matt Davies (0), the end was nigh. Veteran Pete Avery (0) shouldered arms to be trapped lbw by Clements (3-30) and, with the storm looming, Fenny closed on 133 all out.

The deluge which followed ended proceedings, but the Otters’ haul of eleven points meant that the Salston Field men had claimed a richly deserved league title.

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Capturing the sense of collective elation, Ottery skipper Lewis Townsend afterwards commented; “Obviously we’re absolutely thrilled. Many people have put in a lot of hard work and to see that pay off with the league title is very rewarding.”

The fact that his side is almost totally home grown is clearly a source of great satisfaction to Townsend who continued: “As captain, I’m hugely proud of what we’ve achieved. I firmly believe that as a club we play our cricket in the right spirit, and our philosophy in investing in young players is really paying off. It’s testament to countless hours of work from everyone associated with our academy over many years.

“The fact that we have so many home grown players, guys that have grown up together, has contributed to the fantastic team spirit that we have –every single player has put their hand up and made key contributions at one time or another.”

Leading his side to promotion in just his second season at the helm clearly hasn’t satisfied the appetite of the 24-year-old who concluded: “It’ll be exciting to play B Division cricket but that isn’t the end goal; the club is continuing to grow and develop and I hope this is just a stepping stone in the process”.

Feniton 133 (M Kingdon 37, S Devine 20, O Reed 3-27, J Clements 3-30, B Rudolph 2-7, J Birch 2-18). Match abandoned – rain. Ottery St Mary 11pts, Feniton 8pts.

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