Ottery St Mary see off visitors despite batting flaws

Ottery 2nds against Lewdown. Ref shsp 23-16TI 1621. Picture: Terry Ife

Ottery 2nds against Lewdown. Ref shsp 23-16TI 1621. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Despite a fine bowling display in which off-spinner Matt Reed and in-form paceman Will Harrison stood out, a collective lack of application amongst their batsmen saw Ottery St Mary 1st XI make ridiculously hard work of overcoming a decidedly mediocre Dartington & Totnes side during last weekend’s trip to South Devon, writes Ian Townsend.

Despite a fine bowling display in which off-spinner Matt Reed and in-form paceman Will Harrison stood out, a collective lack of application amongst their batsmen saw Ottery St Mary 1st XI make ridiculously hard work of overcoming a decidedly mediocre Dartington & Totnes side during last weekend’s trip to South Devon, writes Ian Townsend.

Having restricted the home side to just 152 all out, at 107-2 the Otters were cruising, but the loss of six wickets for just 30 runs transformed the contest and, in a nerve-jangling finale, it required the level headedness of former skipper Jody Clements to guide the Salston Field side to their third win from four completed matches.

Yet again Harrison (3-16) gave the Otters a great start as in swinging yorkers removed Liam Bligh, bowled for three, and former Clyst St George all-rounder Chris Cook (12), pinned lbw, before Kalon Veale (1) was bizarrely caught and bowled as an inside edge onto his pad flew back to the bowler.

South African import Eddie Verrall set about rebuilding the innings from 24-3 with a series of fine shots despite the loss of Matt Haw (12) who weakly guided Clements to Matt Reed in the gully. Verrall’s stand with Harry Baxendale had reached 56 from 12 overs when he became the first of Matt Reed’s five scalps as a ‘jaffa’ of a delivery pitched on leg and hit off to send back the left hander for 48 (five fours and a six).


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After Baxendale’s useful knock was ended at 33 (four fours) as he edged Matt Reed behind to brother, Billy, it was all downhill for the home batsmen as the off-spinner skilfully exploited a helpful, poor quality pitch.

Home skipper Will Gornall (0) was bowled before returning opener Ollie Reed (1-29) comprehensively cleaned up Andy Bligh (5) and when brother Matt (5-23) then bowled Alex Hartridge (0) and trapped Nick Dennis (1) lbw, the hosts had been hustled out for a wholly inadequate 152.

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Gornall struck an early blow as the Otters replied, his nigh on unplayable yorker castling Billy Rudolph with the first ball of the innings. However, with remaining opener George Biggs, returning to the side after a two season sojourn at Sandford, providng solid support to Billy Reed, who was playing in T20 mode, the score raced to 38 before the latter’s luck ran out as he miscued a Gornall (2-35) full toss to mid-off. Former Torquay batsman Mickey Wilkinson then gave a masterclass in playing spin as he used his feet beautifully to unfurl a series of delightful drives. When the score passed 100 in the 16th over, the contest appeared to be over but after Wilkinson (42 with eight fours) carelessly holed out off Cook, Baxendale taking a fine tumbling catch at long-on, the innings nose-dived. First XI debutant Joe Henkus (3) miscued Cook (2-32) to extra cover, Biggs’s valuable knock was ended at 39 as he fell in similar fashion, also to Baxendale who soon castled skipper Rob Crabb (5) and when Alex Thrugate (0) and Matt Reed (1) were both needlessly run out, at 137-8, the visitors appeared to be sliding to an ignominious defeat.

Thankfully the experienced head of Clements took control and with sound support from Ollie Reed (4 no), amongst some tension, the all-rounder crafted a priceless undefeated fifteen to see his side over the line.

This Otters side undoubtedly has the ability to be contenders in B Division, but to effectively compete with top sides such as this weekend’s opponents, Ivybridge, it is essential that their batsmen exhibit the concentration and application to properly build an innings, a sentiment echoed by their relieved skipper who commented: “Whilst it was great to have Biggsy back and patiently building an innings, overall that was a poor batting display with far too many loose shots. Matt bowled beautifully, though - great to see him get the wickets he deserved - and what a ball to get their overseas out! Another top performance by Will Harrison too”.

Dartington & Totnes 152 (E Verrall 48, H Baxendale 33, M Reed 5-23, W Harrison 3-16) Ottery St Mary 156-8 (M Wilkinson 42, G Biggs 39, B Reed 20, C Cook 2-32, H Baxendale 2-33, W Gornall 2-35). Ottery St Mary (19pts) bt Dartington & Totnes (7pts) by 2 wkts.

Otters Man of the Match – Matt Reed

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