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Offley & Stopsley, 231-7 Vs Met Police Bushey, 123 all out
OSCC Won by 108 runs
Offley stayed top of the pile in the Saracens League as they thwarted the Metropolitan Polices attempts to steal a draw. Gareth Mathewson and Richie Barker bowled unchanged throughout to set up a 108-run win for Steve Bexfields team.
The visitors won the toss and elected to field first. A new opening partnership of Mo Chaudry and Chris Austin batted with aplomb as they saw off the new ball and took the score past 60 before the drinks break inevitably accounted for Austin.
Bexfield went in at number three and batted with pleasing fluency for a man who has been searching for form for much of the season. He and Chaudry both found the gaps to good effect as they made 43 apiece. Chaudrys dismissal brought Nathan Brodie to the crease and promptly did his best to add to his hefty tally of ducks (Out of interest what is a group of ducks called a flock? A herd? A quack? A Brodie?) by chipping a simple catch to mid off. However, the fielder spurned the chance and Brodie went on to make 34 before swinging across the line and being bowled.
Brodie and Bexfield shared a stand of 73 that was notable primarily for some slapdash running between the wickets with Brodie apparently intent on singles that would have been beyond the reach of Justin Gatlin after a trip to the chemist. For his part Bexfield seemed to display undue caution at times in his running between the wickets before crashing a long hop into the ribcage of mid on. A late flurry of wickets fell as Offleys batsmen fell in creative ways. Matthew Freeman played a one-legged flick that drew comparisons with Kevin Pietersen although he only managed to scoop it to short mid off rather than flicking it out of the ground. Barker lobbed a pathetically simple catch straight back to the bowler and Darren Lunney sliced one to cover for a duck. A few lusty late blows from Mathewson lifted Offley to 231-7 before Bexfield called a half after 50 overs.
Barker and Mathewson opened up with the old ball and were soon into a groove (or whatever passes for it in Barkers case). Brodie dropped a clanger on the boundary and the initial breakthrough came after a fine piece of fielding from Zayyad. He chased the ball down before firing in a flat return to the bowlers end. Mathewson handled the throw efficiently and made Poppatt pay for chancing a third by running him out by a good yard.
Mathewson took a comfortable return catch to claim his first wicket and followed it up by bowling Manley. After some initial misfortune Barker bowled Keene while Freeman took an excellent catch on the boundary and Brodie atoned for his earlier miss to leave the Police six down.
Any hopes of forcing an unlikely win when Clarke was adjudged LBW not playing a shot to a straight ball and the final three wickets fell in a hurry as some dismal shots seeded a succession of deliveries into orbit. Brodie held on to two to claim his 21st catch of the year before Jeff Francis accepted a sharp chance at cover to bring the curtain down on another convincing performance and give Barker his third five-wicket haul of the season. The smile could not be removed from his face!