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Offley, 204 all out, beat Steppingly, 139 all out

OSCC Won by 65 runs

Offley’s ten men earned a comfortable victory on the road as Mark Tattersall produced another sparkling innings. However, the plaudits went to Wayne Cutts who shared a stand of 83 with Tattersall and cracked a career-best 18 not out from 36 balls as he batted for over an hour.

Offley lost the toss and feared the worst on a warm day but were offered first use of a sporting track. Zayyad got the innings off to a flying start before he came crashing back to earth after hitting his wicket with a helicopter impersonation. Jeff Francis stroked a couple of boundaries before guiding a wide long hop to cover before Damien Sale gloved a brutish delivery to backward square leg to leave Offley in trouble on 41-3. Qumar joined forces with Dave Bridgland and the pair rebuilt the innings. Qumar batted well for 22 before feathering a catch to the keeper while Bridgland made 26 from 68 balls before skying a catch to midwicket. Umar fell for six to make it 88-6 whereupon Tattersall and Cutts came together. It was clearly a situation for guts and there are not many larger guts around than those straining to escape from beneath the ill-fitting cricket shirts of Cutts and Tattersall. Tattersall was quickly into his stride, blasting the bowling to all parts and reaching his 50 in 27 balls before holing out on the point boundary for 65 from 34 balls.

However, Cutts demanded centre stage as he batted with an aplomb never before seen. The trembling, stumbling blind bunny batting with a stick of celery in the nets was transformed into a blazing shot-maker, evidently armed with a blade of fire. Cutts mixed cultured defense with aggressive stroke play and proved particularly adept at scoring off his legs as he worked the bowlers off middle and leg with the grace and ease of an Inzamam or some other portly batsman. Richie Barker weighed in with a quickfire 28 before he and debutant Chris Moore fell to the final two balls of the innings to leave Offley on 204 with Cutts undefeated on 18.

Steppingly were soon in trouble as Moore lunged forward to hold a catch at square leg off Tattersall to make it 1-1. Qumar bowled with impressive effect as he claimed 3-19, bowling one batsman who appeared to be waving at a plane with his bat and then claiming two other scalps thanks to a magnificent diving catch by Moore and a well-judged effort by Bridgland. By the time the Browns had departed in the space of seven balls, holing out to Tattersall at mid-off off Barker and being bowled neck and crop by Umar without offering a shot, Steppingly were 60-6 and gone for all money. Barker picked up two more wickets, one via the back of the bat, the other a return catch where he appeared to trip over and end up with the ball in his hand. Despite an abject fielding performance by Cutts, evidently struggling after his long innings, the chances of a quick finish seemed high but Sale dropped a searing catch at point and Steppingly’s youngsters shared a stand of 54 for the ninth wicket to cut into valuable drinking time.

Tattersall seemed particularly unimpressed with one or two decisions that were turned down by the home umpire, specifically the one that pitched middle and would have flattened off. Having the appeal rejected on the grounds that the umpire was the batsman’s father was one thing. Having it turned down after the umpire had earlier informed Tattersall of the family tie and the fact that he wouldn’t be raising the finger under any circumstances was something else. The ninth wicket finally fell when an abysmal Francis long hop landed in Bridgland’s lap at midwicket before Barker held on to a skyer off Bridgland to wrap up the win in the final over and bring the curtain down on the events of Sunday, July 30 – forever after to be known as Wayne Cutts Day