Tennant's 114 gets Ottery 'out of jail'

This astonishing run feast at Salston Field was illuminated by a magnificent maiden 1st XI century from 18-year-old Sam Tennant which helped propel Ottery St Mary to a much needed opening victory of the season against visiting Ipplepen. writes Ian Townsend.

This astonishing run feast at Salston Field was illuminated by a magnificent maiden 1st XI century from 18-year-old Sam Tennant which helped propel Ottery St Mary to a much needed opening victory of the season against visiting Ipplepen. The West Hill youngster's fabulous knock, which came from just 101 balls faced, was a continuation of his tremendous early season form which is rich reward for a player who has worked hard to augment his natural 'eye' with improved technique. Despite another lacklustre display of bowling and fielding, the Otters chased down a daunting total to triumph with two and a half overs to spare, thanks to Tennant's remarkable innings and the tremendous supporting roles played by Gavin Iley and Brian Burns.Winning the toss in the absence of holidaying skipper John Tierney, vice captain Rob Johns chose to bowl first on what appeared to be another Salston Field 'shirtfront'. And so it proved to be as Ipplepen, despite losing opener Luke Tuckett (4) to a catch by Iley at square leg as he miscued an attempted pull off Johns, soon began to impose themselves after a circumspect start. Number three batsman Tom Cooper unfurled some pleasing off side shots before first change bowler Dave Richardson accounted for opener Steve Bowden (13), courtesy of a very sharp catch at second slip by Rob Crabb. Richardson then beat the bat of the incoming Matt Quarterly on a number of occasions, but the big man survived and soon began to open up, taking 12 from the same bowler's fifth over. Fellow change bowler Jody Clements was unfortunate to see Cooper dropped by a diving Ollie Mann at slip, but the runs were beginning to flow as the score progressed from 50 to 100 in just 32 minutes, Quarterly depositing Richardson for six over cover. Cooper (40) eventually fell to the hard working Richardson, bowled trying to lift a ball over mid-wicket but, after Iley spurned the chance to catch Geoff Heath as he miscued his second delivery to square leg, the wheels started to come off for the home bowlers whose wayward line and length saw them serve up a series of wides and 'four balls'. Heath took full advantage of his escape as he produced a series of powerful boundaries all around the wicket, one soaring six smashing into the front of the newly refurbished pavilion and nearly decapitating Ottery club stalwart John Lovell! Despite the loss of Quarterly (40 of whose 41 came in boundaries) from a thin edge behind to Sam Lynch off Clements, Heath continued unabated, although a moment of controversy saw him survive a unanimous appeal for a catch at the wicket off Richardson. Clements accounted for Lee Curtis (4) with a full-length slower ball but, after the total passed 150 in the 33rd over, the scoring rate rocketed, the last 13 overs yielding an astonishing 134 runs! Aussie off spinner Burns was put to the sword to the tune of 48 runs from just five overs despite accounting for Simon Tapley (17), and a delightful delicate cut brought up Heath's 50 from just 40 balls. Heath found an able ally in Richard Hayman who willingly tucked into the run feast and, despite a commendably controlled spell of bowling late in the innings from Tennant, the pair fashioned an unbroken 81 run partnership to boost the visitors to a daunting 284-6 from a full 46 overs. Heath remained 89 not out from just 71 balls and Hayman 35 not out from 22 balls.A positive start to the Otters' reply was essential and Burns, one of nine players of 21 or under in the home side, duly obliged. Despite losing Joe Edwards (0), caught by Curtis attempting to paddle a Sam De Friend delivery to leg, the young left hander unleashed a series of fine shots, being particularly severe on anything pitched on leg stump. Poor footwork accounted for Mann (1), bowled by Curtis, but the score passed 50 in the ninth over as the visitors' bowling was proving to be equally wayward. After Burns' 50 arrived from just 38 balls (10 x 4s), he deposited Paul Thomas for a huge six over mid-wicket but, in attempting to repeat the dose, he perished for 58 following a leading edge to De Friend at point. However, the total stood at 94-3 in just the 16th over and the chase was on! The incoming Tennant was batting in a controlled manner, running well between the wickets and unleashing some delightful off drives and, although the innings briefly faltered as the erratic Thomas accounted for Crabb (1) and Lynch (0), the runs continued to flow. 2nd XI skipper Iley, stepping up due to the absence of some key players, proved the ideal foil as he and Tennant fashioned a magnificent sixth wicket 97 minute stand of 156 in just 25 overs to propel Ottery to an unlikely victory. A lofted off drive off Thomas brought up Tennant's 50 from just 46 balls as the total passed 150 in the 25th over and some excellent running between the wickets saw the under pressure visitors' ground fielding begin to disintegrate. Iley was displaying some delicate deflections amongst his trademark powerful blows and reached his 50 from 68 balls before surviving a chance to De Friend at long on as Ipplepen's last chance of victory evaporated. To rapturous acclaim, Tennant's 13th four brought up a wonderful century in the 40th over and, although he departed for 114 shortly afterwards, miscuing Thomas to Hayman at mid-on, the job was done as shortly afterwards skipper Johns clipped a midwicket boundary to see his team home. Iley remained unbeaten on a fine 72.A jubilant Johns paid tribute to Tennant's contribution observing: "Sam's bowling saved us 20 to 30 runs and his batting was superb. He's worked really hard at his technique."So, after an incredible contest which yielded 569 runs in 90 overs and finished at 8-35pm, the Otters' season is off and running, but they will know that they got out of jail and a huge improvement in bowling and fielding is essential if they are to compete in the newly formed D Division. Otters' Man of the Match - Sam Tennant.

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