Ottery win first clash with Sidmouth

The end of the 2011 season saw local rivals, Ottery St Mary and Sidmouth 3rd XI enter B Division of the Devon League from opposite directions and last weekend’s clash in the delightful surroundings of Bicton Park represented the first competitive fixture between the two clubs since the formation of the league in its current form, writes Ian Townsend.

As it was, the newly-promoted Salston Field outfit triumphed in emphatic fashion, their varied bowling attack proving too much for a largely youthful Sidmouth side after a fine partnership from teenagers, Matt Reed and Alex Thurgate and a devastating late salvo from master batsman Rob Bradshaw-Smith had propelled the visitors to an above par 216-8.

After the Otters slipped to 27-2, losing the early wickets of Anthony Dean and Barry Flicker, Reed and Thurgate, both 18, compiled a terrific 78-run stand.

However, the introduction of veteran tweaker, Graham Munday broke the stand as Thurgate was bowled for 34. And when the same bowler then pouched a return catch to send back prolific all rounder, Rob Crabb (2), the visitors had slipped to 108-4. The in-form Reed played a beautifully paced innings, and, despite the loss of Rick Jackson (12), stumped by John Goodwin off Munday, he reached 68 (10 x4s, 3 x 6s) before being bowled by George House.

Munday’s, consistent line and length were rewarded with a fourth victim as he castled Otters’ skipper Gavin Iley (1), but this was merely the signal for Bradshaw-Smith to ‘tee-off’.

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Despite not having picked up a bat since last August, well supported by Zac Johns (15), the Ottery stalwart unleashed a series of characteristically majestic blows in racing to an unbeaten half century from just 22 balls. His innings included five sixes, three of which came from Munday’s final over. Nevertheless, despite 100 runs being haemorrhaged from the final 12 overs of the innings, the left arm spinner returned admirable figures of 4-58.

As Sid began their reply, skipper Mike Dibble took a liking to the bowling of Johns whose first over disappeared for fifteen runs! The teenage left arm paceman soon hit back, however, claiming the wicket of McVey (1) before evergreen swing merchant, Keith Biggs pinned youngster Tim Phillips (0) lbw as he played back to a full length ‘nip-backer’. Sidmouth were in the mire at 20-3 in the sixth over when Biggs then bowled Dibble (19) but the ship was steadied somewhat by a much needed 48 run stand between the hard hitting Rob Fowler and the patient Munday. The introduction of Reed’s off spin did the trick for the Otters as Fowler’s powerful knock was ended at 34 (3 x 4s, 2 x 6s) when Dean did very well to safely pouch a skier to deep mid-wicket. And when Biggs then brilliantly clung to a searing return catch to send back Munday (32), Sidmouth were on the slide. Goodwin’s nothing shot saw him bowled first ball by Biggs after which the tail was soon swept away by Reed and Bradshaw-Smith, the latter bowling Robson (10) and House (0) with the final two deliveries of the match. Amongst the carnage, Devon youngster Harvey Sargeant batted impressively in difficult circumstances, timing the ball nicely to post a well constructed 17. Biggs’s 4-22 from 11 overs was the pick of the bowling with excellent support coming from Reed who claimed 3-34 to complete a terrific all round display.

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