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Offley & Stopsley, 208-8, beat Baldock, 115 all out

OSCC Won by 93 runs

Offley made it four wins on the spin in the North Herts League as they produced a fine all-round performance to beat a solid Baldock team in some style.

Martin Bigmore won the toss and elected to bat first and shared a first wicket stand of 58 with Dave Bridgland before the captain was deceived by a well-flighted leg break. Bridgland followed soon afterwards for an impressive 39 and a collapse ensued as Mo Chaudry (0) and Nathan Brodie (1) went in swift succession as leg spinner Letfold created havoc in the Offley ranks as he claimed three wickets. Richie Barker and debutant James Howes steadied the ship before Howes fell with the score on 106 and Mark Tattersall walked out to join Barker.

Tattersall and Barker shared in an entertaining stand of 77 as they wrested the initiative back from the visitors with a fine display of power hitting that placed the emphasis on boundaries rather than quick singles. Barker crashed 68 from 66 balls before attempting to clear the midwicket boundary and contriving to hole out at third man and Tattersall smashed 44 from 30 balls before swinging once too often and missing a straight one. Phil Gourd and Steve Bexfield provided some late excitement as Gourd belied his status as one of the club’s slower men to put Bexfield to shame with some suicidal, yet brilliant, running. Bexfield fell to a vicious yorker but senior batsman Gourd survived to see the total past 200 as Offley closed on 208-8.

Baldock’s reply never got going thanks to the efforts of Mohammed Qumar who produced a fantastic fielding performance to leave the visitors reeling at 12-2. First he held on to a skier at mid on before producing a stunning run out. Qumar cunningly persuaded the batsmen that he had misfielded the ball by letting it smash into his ankle before nimbly swooping on the ball, pirouetting gracefully and hurling down the stumps in a display that suggested he is really more Jonty than Monty. Tattersall followed it up with a pair of impressive caught and bowleds. First he took advantage of a dreadful full toss to perform a leaping, swerving, twisting grab to dismiss Peacock. The writing was daubed on the wall in huge letters for Baldock when the Offley Express hurled himself to his right to haul in a one-handed grab to reduce the visitors to 27-4.

Following a brief rally Nathan Brodie broke a promising stand with his 11th catch of the season and Gourd effectively settled the issue by snaring a skyer on the boundary to remove the threatening Letford. Bridgland claimed a couple of scalps and Gourd picked up a wicket before ending the game with a magnificent one-handed reflex catch at slip to seal a convincing win.