Shocking bowling costs the Otters in home defeat to Braunton

A cricket ball on the scorers table.

A cricket ball on the scorers table. - Credit: Archant

Developing the art of bowling straight was surely the order of the day at this week’s training session after Ottery St Mary 1st XI produced a hapless display to hand visiting Braunton victory in last weekend’s encounter at Salston Field, writes Ian Townsend.

After the prolific opening partnership of Alex Clements and Ollie West both registered centuries to boost the Otters to an impressive total, when Braunton lost their ninth wicket still requiring 89 runs to win, a home victory appeared certain.

However, coupled with some fine batting from tenth wicket pair, Joe Barnes and Alec Hodges, an epidemic of wides amongst the home attack resulted in an incredible 63 extras which saw the visitors clinch victory with an over to spare.

And yet it all began so well for the home side after skipper Will Harrison won the toss. On a good batting strip West was soon into his stride, playing fluently all around the wicket as 41 were added in the first five overs and with Clements eventually joining in the fun, the 100 stand came up in the 18th over.

Runs continued to flow and after a further fifteen overs, a boundary off Jason Raynor brought up the 200 partnership. The carnage was ended when West (104 with thirteen fours and two sixes) flicked Phil James to short fine leg but not before a league record 204 opening stand had been posted.

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Clements's golden season continued as he too powered past the century mark before being bowled by Barnes (2-45) for 114 (eleven fours) and whilst the scoring rate slowed with the Otters losing late wickets, a total of 266-5 looked challenging.

Ben Whitty (26) and James Kemp (8) gave Braunton a decent start before both men departed with the score on 49. However, opening bowlers Harrison and Harsha Liyanage gave a hint of later woes by delivering a number of wides. Liyanage (3-61 with 23 wides) continued his curate's egg of a spell by producing fine out swingers to have Rob Patterson caught in the covers, then castling Jack Brazier for a first ball duck.

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However, Raynor was batting in agricultural but effective fashion, blasting ten fours and a six in a 66-run knock before holing out off Jody Clements (3-39) whose bowling was a beacon of accuracy in a sea of profligacy. Further wickets tumbled to leave the visitors at 178-9 but after last man Barnes joined Hodges (32*), the Ottery bowlers' radar collectively exploded. With Barnes (54* with four fours and two sixes) batting in amazingly impressive fashion, in between delivering wides, the home bowlers were smashed to all parts as a remarkable 50 runs were added in just five overs to propel the visitors to an incredible victory with an over to spare.

Wayward bowling has been a recurrent theme in the Otters season to date and only hard work in training is likely to remove the millstone from the necks of Harrison's men and see the side retain their C Division status, something that should be well within their compass.

Ottery St Mary 266-5 (A Clements 114, O West 104, J.Barnes 2-45) Braunton 270-9 (J Raynor 66, Extras 63, J Barnes 54*, A Hodges 32*, B Whitty 26, J Clements 3-39, H Liyanage 3-61). Braunton (17pts) bt Ottery St Mary (9pts) by 1 wkt.

Otters Man of the Match - Alex Clements

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