Ottery St Mary win bizarre encounter at Plymouth Civil Service and Roborough

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Last weekend’s trip to Buckfastleigh, the temporary home of Plymouth Civil Service and Roborough, saw Ottery St Mary 1st XI emerge victorious from a bizarre encounter played on a shockingly under-prepared wicket and featuring an outlandish total of 107 extras, the vast majority of which were wides, writes Ian Townsend.

After Otters’ opener Dan Flower (4) fell in desperately unlucky fashion, Jason Williams clasping a truly amazing catch at short leg from a full blooded shot off Ciaran Ellard, Sam Tennant and Rob Johns compiled a useful 45-run stand in 11 overs. Tennant (22) gave Rob Walker a return catch and Johns (26) immediately fell to the Williams/Ellard combination but vice-captain Lewis Townsend (25 with four fours) and Alex Thurgate then took the total to 101 before the former was bowled by James Sharpe. After Sam Lynch joined Thurgate, the pair took full toll of a very poor home bowling performance to post a terrific 145-run unbroken stand in just 17 overs. The in-form Thurgate batted with real composure to reach a sheet anchor 59 not out from 93 balls (seven fours) whilst Lynch played in characteristically wristy fashion to score an undefeated 57 (nine fours and a six) from just 45 balls faced. 246-4 represented a good effort on an awful surface.

Williams (13) slogged from the off as Civil replied but although Dave Richardson removed him, courtesy of a catch by Thurgate at cover, the Otters’ seamer was struggling for line and length as he delivered a series of wides to set the tone for a sub-standard bowling display from the visitors. Ben Wilkinson and Rob Gaylard cashed in to add 86 in 18 overs. However, with the added pace of Joe Birch and Jody Clements, the wicket was proving to be real handful and the former broke the stand by bowling Wilkinson for 39 (five fours and a six). At 100-2 in the 16th over, Civil were up with the run rate and despite young left armer Zac Johns bowling Chris Sanders for a duck, the home side were still in contention as the score advanced to 174-5. The loss of three wickets for two runs swung the game in the Otters’ favour with Johns returning 3-45 as he removed both Adrian Vickery, bowled for nine, and Walker, caught by the ubiquitous Thurgate, also for nine. Sharpe (15*) and Dan Sanders (13*) then repelled all boarders but Civil fell well short on 206-8. Continuing his fine season with the ball, Clements (2-27) was easily the pick of an attack which conceded a whopping 54 extras.

Ottery St Mary 246-4 (A Thurgate 59*, S Lynch 57*, Extras 53, R Johns 26, L Townsend 25, S Tennant 22, C Ellard 2-29) Plymouth Civil Service and Roborough 206-8 (Extras 54, R Gaylard 41, B Wilkinson 39, Z Johns 3-45, J Clements 2-27, D Richardson 2-39). Ottery St Mary (19pts) bt Plymouth CS and R (7pts) by 40 runs.

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