Ottery St Mary’s Pritchard blunts the Axes threat
- Credit: Archant
The short trip to Axminster saw Ottery St Mary produce by far their best all round performance of the season to claim a conclusive victory over their high flying hosts, writes Ian Townsend.
Boosted by a wonderful century from in-form wicketkeeper-batsman Jack Pritchard, the Otters posted a challenging total after which their bowling attack performed with a collective control hitherto missing this season, to seal a terrific win.
Batting first on a sweltering afternoon, the Otters recovered from the early loss of Dan Flower (8) thanks to Lewis Townsend and John Tierney as the young home paceman, Matt Pile, struggled for line and length. Tierney (24) sliced left armer Joel Seward to Tristan Wakeley at backward point for the second wicket to fall at 65.
There was then a fine 86-run stand in 17 overs between Townsend, playing circumspectly in an unfamiliar opener’s role, and Pritchard. Off spinner Gary Larcombe proved hard to get away, but runs flowed at the other end until skipper Tristan Wakeley entered the attack. Townsend reached a steady 50 (nine fours) before being trapped lbw by the Axes’ skipper, but Pritchard continued to flourish, powering past 50 (one five and eight fours) as 79 were added with Sam Lynch (21). The Ottery innings featured an explosive finale as Jody Clements returned to form with a blistering unbeaten 45 from just 20 balls. Pritchard reached three figures (16 fours and a six) in the final over before holing out to Tristan Wakeley as 64 were added in the last four overs! Larcombe’s 1-16 from nine overs was a masterpiece of control, but the visitors’ 289-6 appeared highly competitive.
Larcombe and Johnny Hurford began the Axes’ reply in typically aggressive fashion, but left arm paceman Joe Birch soon trapped the latter lbw shouldering arms. The 50 arrived in the seventh over, but shortly afterwards Larcombe (32) gloved a Birch lifter to Flower at slip to leave the home side at 59-2.
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Miller and Seward then batted well to add 77 with the former passing 50 (seven fours and a six), but the introduction of Dave Richardson had curtailed the scoring rate leading to Miller (55) miscuing the medium pacer to Flower who pouched a fine catch in the covers. Seward (45) hoisted off spinner Matt Reed for a huge six, but when he holed out to Townsend at long-off off the bowling of Richardson, the Otters smelt blood.
Steve Wakeley (14) briefly resisted before being bowled by Reed but a fine 54-run stand between Brett Garner and Pile revived the home side’s hopes. The return of Birch snuffed them out. Having added control to his natural pace and swing, the youngster is now a difficult proposition. Pile (31 from 26 balls) drove loosely to be castled whilst Garner (36) and Taylor (0) were both beaten for pace and bowled. From 247-8, opening bowler Will Harrison returned to wrap up proceedings as Tristan Wakeley (5) was beautifully caught by Reed at long off and Peter King (0) was bowled. Birch (5-40) and Richardson (2-36) took the bowling honours on a day when the entire attack performed well.
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Ottery St Mary 289-6 (J Pritchard 100, L Townsend 50, J Clements 45*, J Tierney 24, S Lynch 21, T Wakeley 2-48, J Seward 2-80) Axminster 249 (P Miller 55, J Seward 45, B Garner 36, G Larcombe 32, M Pile 31, J Birch 5-40, D Richardson 2-36, W Harrison 2-69). Ottery St Mary (20pts) bt Axminster (8pts) by 40 runs.
Otters Man of the Match – Jack Pritchard.