Ottery stay unbeaten

Last weekend’s clash at Salston Field saw newly-promoted Countess Wear brushed aside by Ottery St Mary 1st XI, whose powerful, all-round display resulted in them maintaining their unbeaten start to the new league season, writes Ian Townsend.

Returning to their ‘day job’ after the previous week’s batting heroics, on a lively wicket, Mark Woodman and Rob Johns produced a fine display of pace bowling to skittle their local rivals. The aggressive Matt Kirk wasted no time in powering his team to victory with a massive 24 overs to spare.

Having been asked to bat first in unpleasant, drizzly conditions, Countess Wear produced a weak display, in which only opener Kav Dias showed any real resistance. After a brief rain delay at 18-0, Woodman really hit his straps, bowling opener Peter Darke (8) with fine leg cutter and trapping Mark Davey lbw for a duck.

Dias, though, was playing well, bringing up the 50 with a fine backfoot forcing shot in the 14th over. However, shortly afterwards, Woodman struck again by deceiving and bowling James Bogue (5) with a full length slower ball, after which partner in crime, Johns, penetrated Phil Irish’s tentative defence to trap him lbw and leave the visitors struggling at 71-4.

Dias clipped off spinner and captain-for-the-day Nick Doman to the midwicket boundary to bring up a fine half century (9 x 4s), but, after the off spinner induced Dave Harkness (8) into edging behind to Phil Cox, the innings collapsed with a whimper. The giant figure of Johns, who was troubling all and sundry with his steepling bounce, comprehensively yorked Kam Singh (1), then snared John Heaver lbw first ball, before teenage leg spinner Sam Loud helped clean up the tail with two quick wickets.

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First Dias’s fine knock ended at 61 (13 x 4s) as Sam Tenant took at tumbling catch at backward point before Carl Downs (5) edged behind to Cox attempting to smash a short delivery through the covers. And when Cox claimed a third victim, as Adam Sussex knicked a lifting delivery from Johns, Wear had capitulated for a paltry 113 in the 23rd over. Woodman’s 3-20 from 12 overs was the pick of the Otters bowling, fine support coming from Johns (4-22).

The Otters’ reply began slowly in the face of accurate opening bowling from Singh and the hard working Dias, who induced young opener George Biggs (9) to edge a wide-ish delivery to second slip.

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However, that was to be the visitors’ sole success, as the incoming Kirk was straight onto the attack against the innocuous Wear change bowlers.

With solid support from remaining opener Steve Forbes (22*), the No.3 batsman ruthlessly despatched a series of boundaries all around the wicket. After clipping Neil Pateman to the mid-wicket boundary to reach a rapid half century (46 balls, 10 x 4s), he really opened up as a Mark Davey over disappeared for 21 runs.

The Otters reached their victory target shortly afterwards, Kirk remaining undefeated on 69, as the Salston Field outfit claimed a deserved maximum 20 point haul to cement second place in the early season league table. Dias (1-39 from 10 overs) was easily the pick of the Wear bowlers.

Skipper, Doman was a happy man, enthusing: “There was a really good intensity and team spirit out there today. The pitch suited our bowlers and they took full advantage”.

Otters’ Man of the Match – Mark Woodman.

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