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Offley & Stopsley, 141-5 Vs Shenley Village, 140
OSCC Won by 5 wickets
Offley revived their Saracens League ambitions with an impressive five-wicket win against Shenley Village. Following some minor difficulties in locating the ground, Offley lost the toss and were invited to field on the hottest day of the year. Jon Cerasale and Matthew Freeman opened the bowling and both claimed an early wicket. However, a combination of heat stroke, a sore throat and some fairly insipid bowling led Freeman to be replaced by Colin Keeley who's recent flu had meant he only turned up to watch.
Keeley struggled at first as he chugged in up the slope but he was swiftly revitalised by two wickets in two balls. Richie Barker defied gravity and years of evil living to claim a sensational one-handed catch in the slips before a Keeley in-swinger accounted for another victim. Keeley continued to bowl with great effect and picked up two more victims before Nathan Brodie held a comfortable catch to dismiss the dangerous McLennan for 53 and seal Keeleys five-wicket haul, deserved reward for years of toiling up the hill into the wind. Gareth Mathewson claimed two quick wickets, Chris Latino held a pair of catches and Cerasale wrapped up the innings with a casually brilliant catch at short leg to leave Offley requiring 141 to win.
The visitors were left with a tricky period to negotiate before tea. Last seasons Young player of the year - Nathan Brodie - survived just one ball before getting yet another ball with his name on,edging a catch to the keeper for a single. His luck must change soon. However, Cerasale and Barker saw the score through to 29-1 at tea without further alarms.
After the interval the two batsmen resolved to chance their arm in a bid to keep running to a minimum in the sweltering heat. Cerasale moved to 26 with some aplomb before wafting a lazy shot to point. Dan Jordan came and went with undue haste before Darren Lunney came out to join Barker who was clearly beginning to toil in the heat. Abandoning caution in favour of a policy of swinging at everything, Barker moved to 79 before carving a catch to cover. Mathewson went first ball to leave Offley rocking at 122-5 but Steve Bexfield walked out to knock off the remaining runs with the minimum of effort to give Offley their second win of the season.