Rudolph in the form of his young life

Ottery batsman Billy Ruldolph fell short of a hundred by just three runs against Uplyme on Saturday.

Ottery batsman Billy Ruldolph fell short of a hundred by just three runs against Uplyme on Saturday. Ref shsp 7241-22-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

When you’re hot, you’re hot, and, at present, in the entire Devon Cricket League, there can surely be no-one in a richer vein of form than Ottery St Mary 1st XI’s rising young star, Billy Rudolph, writes Ian Townsend.

In a painfully one-sided contest with newly promoted Kentisbeare, not content with a seven wicket haul which skittled the home side, Rudolph then teamed up with skipper Lewis Townsend to savage a distinctly friendly bowling attack and propel the Otters’ to the simplest of victories.

There was little indication of the carnage to follow as, despite well directed spells from Will Harrison and Ollie Reed, the Kents’ openers, James Sprague (25) and Richard Norman compiled a solid 64-run opening stand before the former sliced a Jody Clements full toss to point where Sam Lynch, diving full length, clasped a brilliant left handed catch. Norman reached a good half century (11 fours) but after Paul Tatterton (5) fell to a fine low catch by teenage keeper Billy Reed off Clements (2-23), the wheels came off for the home side. Rudolph’s skiddy medium pace was perfect for a pitch offering little bounce, and the 16 year old soon sent back Norman (56), courtesy of another athletic catch by Lynch at backward point. From 100-3, Kentisbeare then plunged to 108-7 as Rudolph claimed an incredible four wickets in an over! Neil Farley (0) was bowled by a fine delivery which seamed away to hit off stump and Gordon Benzie’s shell-like drive was very well held by Clements before skipper Scott Chappell (4) and Tom Wilkinson (0) were pinned lbw.

Mike Cooke put up spirited late resistance via useful stands with Tom Bunker, who struck a rapid 23 before being bowled by Rudolph, and Peter Howe (8) who fell lbw to become the young all-rounder’s seventh scalp.

Rob Crabb terminated the Kents’ innings at a woefully inadequate 174 by trapping Cooke (26) lbw. Rudolph returned a remarkable 7-43 from seven overs.

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From a Kentisbeare standpoint, the Otters’ reply was nothing short of a bloodbath! In a textbook display of how to despatch sub-standard bowling, Townsend and Rudolph produced an array of shots all around the wicket, resulting in an avalanche of boundaries.

Townsend launched Farley for a straight six to reach 50 (six fours and four sixes) and Rudolph soon followed suit (nine fours and a six).

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The pair had not given a single chance as the total raced to 146 in the 22nd over whereupon Rudolph hit a Sprague full toss to Tatterton at deep mid-wicket to depart for 74 (75 balls, ten fours, four sixes).

Townsend was now hitting sixes almost at will and, as the final six overs haemorrhaged an incredible 86 runs, the Otters’ skipper ended the contest in trademark fashion with a huge straight driven maximum to close on 84 not out (57 balls, seven fours, eight sixes).

This weekend’s clash with visiting Alphington will be an altogether different proposition and is likely to represent the first serious test of the Salston Field side’s promotion credentials.

Kentisbeare 174 (R Norman 56, M Cooke 26, J Sprague 25, T Bunker 23, B Rudolph 7-43, J.Clements 2-23) Ottery St Mary 177-1 (L Townsend 84*, B Rudolph 74). Ottery St Mary (20pts) bt Kentisbeare (3pts) by 9 wkts.

Otters Man of the Match – Billy Rudolph.

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