Win propels Ottery up the league

Having gone into last weekend’s home clash anchored to the foot of the table, Ottery St Mary 2nd XI will have been delighted with this comprehensive victory over a relatively weak South Devon side, writes Ian Townsend.

The fact that the result propels the Salston Field side up to sixth position emphasises the tightness of this season’s B Division.

Batting was far from easy as the Otters took first knock on an unevenly damp and greenish track. In the face of good opening spells from Pat Duke and Richard Beaumont, openers Trevor Griffin and Dan Flower rode their luck somewhat to compile a valuable 56 run opening stand. Both men were given lives before Flower (23) was trapped lbw by the deserving Duke.

Ottery produced an all-too-familiar batting performance demonstrating a collective lack of application which would surely have been punished by stronger opposition. Matt Reed (0) was caught sweeping carelessly at Dave Amery who also ended Griffin’s useful 34 via a catch in the deep before castling Anthony Dean (9).

A desperately out-of-form Lewis Townsend (1) was yorked by youngster James Otieno and when Rob Crabb (17) holed out to long-on off the same bowler, the Otters were struggling at 111-6.

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Skipper Rick Jackson and James Faulkner added a useful 36, featuring some powerful hitting and good running between the wickets, before Faulkner (33) was bowled having a wild ‘yahoo’ at Beaumont.

Jackson (28) also departed to a poor shot but a very good unbroken 10th wicket stand of 24 between Ed Fowler (17*) and Joe Birch (11*) lifted the total to a reasonable 192-9.

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South Devon were never in contention in reply. Birch soon trapped lynch-pin batter Matt Blackmore (4) lbw and, despite 14-year old-opener Ben Pritchard batting impressively, in combination with Faulkner, the left arm paceman exerted a stranglehold which resulted in the total crawling to just 16 from the first 10 overs.

And after Faulkner removed Duke (4) and Pritchard (16), off spinners Townsend and Reed took over. On a surface offering considerable turn the two youngsters claimed three wickets apiece. Townsend produced a beautifully flighted delivery which saw Neil Matthews (1) edge to Jackson at slip before ending Brian Allen’s resistance by trapping him lbw for 20 whilst Beaumont (14) and Amery (0) both drove over full balls from Reed to be bowled.

South Devon had declined to 78-8 and the end was nigh. Youngster Otieno (5) batted bravely to help take the total to 89 but when he edged a lifter from Crabb behind to Griffin, Kalen Warne (8) immediately became Reed’s third victim, courtesy of a fine diving catch by Birch at square leg, as the Otters romped home by 103 runs.

Reed returned 3-19 and Townsend 3-26, good support being provided by Faulkner (2-16).

So a comprehensive victory for the Otters but, in a league where a 17 mere points cover the bottom five teams, improved application with the bat will be vital in avoiding relegation, beginning with Saturday’s crunch trip to Alphington.

Francis Clark Devon League 2nd XI B Division: Ottery St Mary 192-9 (T Griffin 34, J Faulkner 33, R Jackson 28, D Amery 3-59, P Duke 2-37, J Otieno 2-38, R Beaumont 2-61) S Devon 89 (B Allen 20, M Reed 3-19, L Townsend 3-26, J Faulkner 2-16). Ottery St Mary (19pts) bt South Devon (4pts) by 103 runs.

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