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Offley & Stopsley CC Vs Baldock - 3rd June
OSCC Won by 169 runs
Offley romped to an emphatic victory at picturesque Baldock as they thumped the hosts by the margin of 169 runs. The day had everything, including five chances for Steve Hoar, an epic batting collapse from the hosts, a platoon of single mothers, an outdoor swimming pool paying temporary home to a couple of marooned whales, an unconvincing transvestite and an impressive assortment of individuals from the cream of chav high society.
Steve Bexfield won the toss and had little hesitation in batting first on a pitch that looked like it would be dry, firm and bouncy. After two deliveries it was clear it would be dry, slow and low. Richie Barker and Hoar opened the batting and shared a stand of 48 before Barker launched a booming drive down the ground in a bid to clear the sightscreen and deposit it in the road. In the event he got just enough of the toe of the bat on the ball to propel it to mid on. Mo Chaudry smashed a quickfire 14 before he played on via a horribly agricultural swipe against the splendidly named Mongston. Two balls later Hoar miscued a return catch to spinner Laws and Offley were struggling slightly on 75-3.
However, Gary Davison and Mark Tattersall came together to share a 155-run stand as they decided the game in some style, demoralising the fielding side in the scorching sun. Davison batted with classical elegance and played some fine shots to compensate for his traditional lack of power. He stroked an enterprising 72, his highest score for the club, and it seems only a matter of time (given a good pitch, favourable wind and a short boundary) before his first six arrives. Tattersall played a typical innings, blending delicate golf chips with full-blooded ice hockey slap shots, baseball swings and the occasional recognisable cricket shot. He ended unbeaten on 67 to boost his batting average further although his decision to call for an optimistic single off the last ball resulted in Davison being run out.
Despite taking just a single wicket in his appearances for the club so far this season, Tattersall duly opened the bowling and quickly claimed the first three wickets to leave him with a fantastic chance of adding a five-wicket haul to his half-century. Darren Lunney held on to a chance to dismiss the dangerous Goodlad without scoring and Tattersall bowled Rayat and Gazely with successive deliveries. However, Hoar, who had already put down one opportunity off Tattersall when he failed to hold on to a swirling offering from Rayat, failed to hold on to a regulation chance at midwicket that would have sent Cant back to the pavilion for a single. That missed chance appeared to take the air out of Tattersall albeit in slow, gasping wheezes and he finally retreated to the outfield after claiming 3-17 with the satisfaction of significantly lowering his season bowling average of 151.00.
Watts and Cant were able to keep Baldocks heads above water as they added 36 for the fourth wicket and drinks were taken with the score on 55-3 after 20 overs.
Incredibly the contest lasted just 29 more balls amid scenes of carnage that invoked images of Watership Down and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a succession of increasingly bemused batsmen were mown down with heart-rending cruelty. Dave Bridgland induced an optimistic drive from Watts and Hoar made it third time lucky as he held on to the catch at mid on. In the next over Barker accounted for Gentle with one that may have kept a little low to leave Baldock in tatters at 56-5.
Newman lasted five balls, playing about 17 shots to some of Bridglands more flighted deliveries, before charging five yards down the wicket and skying a catch to Davison at deep midwicket where the fielder made no mistake.
Barkers next over produced a triple-wicket maiden as he had Cant brilliantly caught by the diving Hoar for a face-saving 29. Mongston went first ball before Laws top edged a swipe to Hoar who took the catch running in from midwicket. Unfortunately the incident was tainted as Tattersall petulantly refused to join in the celebrations in protest at Hoars reluctance to catch anything off his bowling while hoovering up everything in sight off other bowlers. There may be no I in team but Tattersall sadly proved that there is a U in sulk.
Bridgland applied the coup de grace in his next over when he castled Rainbow as the sun set over Baldock. The last seven wickets went down at a cost of just six runs as Baldock capitulated for just 61. Offley picked up maximum points to leave them in good fettle ahead of next weeks crunch game against Hatfield where a sterner test lies in store for Bexfields men.