Teenager Walker shines as Ottery St Mary are edged out at Heathcoat
- Credit: Archant
Ottery St Mary went down by three wickets in a thrilling contest at Heathcoat 2nds, who reached victory with just a single delivery to spare, on matchday two of the new Tolchards Devon League C Division East campaign, writes Ian Townsend.
Nevertheless, the contest featured a number of bright spots for the Otters, most notably another polished innings from exciting emerging young talent, Lawrence Walker.
After losing the toss and being put in, the Ottery were given a terrific start by opening pair Ollie West and Alex Clements.
West was into his stride from the off, playing fluently all around the wicket and, with Clements growing in confidence, the score passed 100 in the 21st over before the latter was caught by Dylan Penberthy off Matt Hodson for a patient 40 from 79 balls. Dan Flower (0) was soon pinned leg before by Simon Sobczak, but despite initially scoring slowly, the incoming Walker looked very solid. Sadly, the teenager was culpable as a run out ended West's fine knock at 78 (83 balls, 10 fours and two sixes) but rather than being phased, Walker's response was highly impressive as he then assumed the role of the aggressor.
After a useful stand with Jack Malden (15), despite regularly losing partners, Walker unleashed a series of delightful shots to post his maiden first XI half century before being bowled by Hodson (3-43) for a fine 57 (65 balls, four fours and three sixes). However, from a promising 162-3, the visitors' total of 218-9 was somewhat disappointing.
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When the home side batted, despite producing a wayward opening spell, Otters' skipper Will Harrison castled Penberthy for a duck and with the pacey Joe Birch (2-30) hitting his straps to induce John Fairclough (12) into giving a catch to West, Heathcoat were reduced to 26-2 in reply. Sobczak (1) and Jake Stoneman (36) added a useful 35 before Jody Clements bowled the former and Sam Brook held a return catch to remove the latter.
From 64-4, despite a terrific spell from Jody Clements (2-22 from nine overs), Heathcoat were boosted by an excellent 67 run stand between the hard hitting Henry Frankpitt (46 from 44 balls) and Matt Hague. After Clements removed Frankpitt, Hague (66* from 91 balls) continued to play solidly adding 42 with Hodson (15) and 45 with Paul Elliot (14). Young seamer Brook drew the short straw of bowling the final over of the innings with Heathcoat requiring four runs to win. Finn Stoneman's boundary from the penultimate ball consigned the Otters to defeat.
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Reflecting on the narrow reverse, Ottery skipper Will Harrison said: "Absolutely gutted to lose a really tight game that was, I'm sure, entertaining for the neutral! Still there are many positives to take.
"Ollie West continued his fine form and young Lawrence was really impressive, showing maturity beyond his years, especially after running our overseas out!
"A few more runs would have proved handy, but despite terrific spells from Jody and Birchy, we probably didn't create quite enough chances with the ball."
Otters Man of the Match - Lawrence Walker
Ottery St Mary 218-9 (O.West 78, L.Walker 57, A.Clements 40, M.Hodson 3-43, M.Hague 2-34, S.Sobczak 2-39) Heathcoat 2nd XI 222-7 (M.Hague 66*, H.Frankpitt 46, J.Stoneman 36, J.Clements 2-22, J.Birch 2-30). Heathcoat 2nd XI (19pts) bt Ottery St Mary (8pts) by 3 wkts.