Woodman hat-trick seals win over Stoke

The eternal unpredictability of cricket is surely one of its most appealing traits and if ever a contest epitomised this, it was last weekend’s clash between Ottery St Mary 1st XI and erstwhile league leaders, Stoke Gabriel, writes Ian Townsend.

Despite posting a competitive total on a difficult surface, the Otters appeared dead and buried as Stoke moved to within 40-odd runs of victory with only two wickets down and ample overs in hand.

However, an inspired spell by 18-year- old 1st XI debutant, Ed Fane-Trefusis and a hat-trick from the evergreen Mark Woodman saw the South Devon side lose eight wickets for just 33 runs as the visitors claimed a stunning victory!

Ottery were once again given a sound start by openers George Biggs (23) and Richard Townsend (15) who took the total to 43 before the latter’s top edged pull saw him caught off Nick Sandbrook.

Two further wickets for the same bowler, including Alex Clements for a duck, then saw the Otters slip to 50-3 but a good stand between Jack Pritchard and a typically aggressive Jody Clements (30 with 3 x 6s) doubled the total before Clements was bowled by Seb Ansley. Adrian Pullin (2) appeared unfortunate to be adjudged lbw to Sean Dwyer as the visitors began to lose wickets at regular intervals on the green, damp surface, but Pritchard (39) was batting very steadily and with Fane-Trefusis chipping in with an explosive late cameo (22* off 10 balls with 2 x 6s), the Otters reached a useful 171-9 from their 43 overs.

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Sandbrook (3-17) was the most successful of the home bowlers.

Stoke Gabriel began their reply in purposeful fashion, reaching 32-0 from just six overs as the nervous looking Fane-Trefusis struggled for his line and length.

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Billy Allcock (9) edged Woodman behind to Pritchard but Steve Tolley and Aussie all-rounder Tony Scott (32) compiled a relatively untroubled stand before the latter was trapped lbw by Biggs.

Nevertheless, with the total at 127-2 and 12 overs remaining, the contest appeared as good as over. The returning Ottery opening bowlers had other ideas, however.

Fane-Trefusis returned with a vengeance - with the home batsmen clearly intimidated by his aggression, the young paceman proceeded to claim four wickets in quick succession. Three victims fenced at lifting deliveries and edged behind to Pritchard whilst the other lost his middle pole!

Stoke were now in panic mode and a direct hit from Woodman sent back Andy Locker (2) as he attempted a suicidal second run. Woodman wrapped up the contest with a hat trick, trapping Angus Lee lbw before Sandbrook gave a catch to Will Harrison and Sam Hill slashed at a full ball to be pouched at cover by Alex Clements. Wild celebrations ensued amongst the gleeful visitors!

Opener Steve Tolley, who had observed the carnage from the other end, carried his bat for an undefeated 55 whilst Woodman (4-27) and Fane-Trefusis (4-34) took the bowling honours.

Otters Man of the Match – Ed Fane-Trefusis

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