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Offley & Stopsley CC 199-6 vS Welwyn III's 201-7 - 15th Sept

OSCC Lost by 2 runs

Offley & Stopsley lost a thriling match by only 2 runs on a lovely sunny day at Welwyn's second ground, serving to remind everyone present what a rotten summer this has been. Plenty of "if only's" were repeated throughout the day.

OSCC lost the toss and fielded first. Mathew Freeman got the innings going and looked to be bowling himself back into form, the pace is back, just theline to fix now. Colin Keeley opened at the other end despite getting to the ground late after his customary tour of Hertfordshire. The breakthrough came after only three overs when Keeley forced a poor shot from Wooley who was well caught by Jeff Francis in the gulley. Pressure bowling from Keeley and Freeman caused panic in the batsmen in the next over when a suicidal call resulted in a sharp run out from Darren Lunney.

Willis and Meyer came together to repair the damage, without looking too comfortable the pair put on a solid 50 odd partnership before Keeley found the edge of Meyer who was taken at first slip by Latino. Sumpter came to the crease and was promptly dismissed of the bowling of Barker by a terrific piece of fielding from Colt player Gary Chamberlain. Sumpter mis hit a drive that spooned u[p to the vacant square leg, he looked to have got away with it, until Chamberlain raced from Deep Midwicket and dived to take a marvellous catch - holiding on to the ball whilst falling heavily to the ground.

Richie Barker bowled tight tempting lines throughout trying to get the 8 wickets required to break the club record of 70 wicckets in a season got the valuable wicket of Edwards afetr another mishit drive went to Bexfield in the covers. After a juggle the skipper held on to it to record his 8 catch of the season. Gary Chamberlain then bowled Weels of an inside edge and Mark Ward was rewarded for his efforts when Keeley took a catch in the deep towards the end.

Chasing 202 to win the OSCC innings got of to a bizarre start when 14 extras were run off the very first over without the ball ever hitting the bat. The first ball of the second over brought the demise of Keeley who simply played all around a dead straight delivery. Chris Latino came to the crease looking nervous at the prospect of batting so early. However he settled down immediatly, playing calm measured shots of some poor bowling and gaining runs of a fast outfield. Together with Darren Lunney they posted 84 runs for the second wicket. Lunney never looked in any bother throughout his innings of 48 before being clean bowled of a yorker. Two short of his fifty, this follows being two short of his century the week before. Rizwan was next man in, onlt to be bowled first ball for his 7th duck of the year. Meanwhile Latino was heading for highest score ever and a maiden 50, until an underhit drive went straight into the hands of the cover fielder for 40 deserved runs.

Jeff Francis and Steve Bexfield were now tasked with chasing down 92 runs in 11 overs to gain victory. The run rate was 9 an over and this was consistently achieved albeit without hitting boundaries. Then came the moment that could have won the game. Bexfield met a length delivery and smashed hard and flat to the mid wicket boundary where upon it smashed the boundary marker. Was it a four or a six, the debate rages still ! The umpire gave a four on the understanding that the ball did not clear the boundary, it hit it. It later transpired that the rules state that flags should be placed outside the line of the boundary and taht therefore it should have been a six. Never mind eh!

Whan Bexfield was bowled for 33 with three overs remaining and 28 required Barker came to the crease knowing some hitting was required. Some fine running between him and Francis brought the score to 193 with 6 balls to spare when Barker went for the big-un. He met the ball cleanly and looked to have hit a marvellous six when Malley ran round and took a fine catch inches inside the boundary to dash hopes of victory. Despite the best efforts of Freeman only 6 more runs were scored leaving Offley & Stopsley 2 runs short of the target.

If only we knew the rules, Bexfields four would have been a six and the match would have been tied. Bowl out anyone !!!!!!!!!