Reed powers Otters to victory.

OTTERY St Mary 2nd XI had to dig deep to see off the challenge of local rivals, Thorverton and secure a victory which keeps them hot on the heels of league leaders, Ipplepen, writes Ian Townsend.

Having won the toss and bowled, the Otters struck an early blow as teenage left armer, Zac Johns trapped the experienced Matt Millward lbw with the first ball of the contest.

Neil Anning and big hitting Alan Tait (26 including six 4s), added a quick fire 34 before the latter was caught by James Faulkner off Alex Tubbs.

Fine bowling from the visitors then claimed regular wickets to put the Thors in deep trouble. First the metronomically accurate Keith Biggs (1-27 from 13 overs) induced Nat Davey to edge behind to son, Louis, after which left arm paceman, Rob Crabb, bowling aggressively on the hard surface, claimed two quick victims, Anning (21) fending a bouncer to Matt Reed in the gully and Nick Taverner (6) giving skipper, Gavin Iley, a catch at mid-off. And when Faulkner joined in the fun, bowling Andy Stirling (5) with a big in-swinger and trapping Mark Shaw (8) lbw, Thorverton had slipped to 111-7.

The mid-Devon side were revived by a breezy half century from the vastly experienced Mike Denford who shared stands of 47 with Phil Jones and 21 with James Meredith. Punctuated by a series of aerial shots, Denford’s 50 not out contained five fours and a six, enabling the Thors to post a respectable 179-8. Crabb claimed 3-30 from his eight overs, good support coming from Faulkner (2-19).

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Excellent bowling from swing merchant, Jones, and left armer, Meredith, soon had Ottery struggling in reply. Faulkner (4) edged Meredith behind to Tait before Jones bowled George Biggs (1) and trapped Al Thurgate (8) lbw to reduce the Otters to 20-3. However, Reed and Crabb then played beautifully, running well between the wickets and cashing in on anything loose to add 70 in 12 overs until Crabb’s typically belligerent 45 (five 4s and two 6s) was ended by leg spinner Dave Green.

A further 37 were added by Reed and Alex Clements during which Reed completed a fine half century (8 x 4s) before being trapped lbw by Shaw. Clements (47 not out) then took centre stage producing some fine shots as partnerships of 22 with Iley and an unbroken 33 with Tubbs guided the Otters home with two overs to spare. Jones (2-32) was the pick of the home bowlers.

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