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Holwell 87-1Vs Vs Offley & Stopsley CC 86 all out ; 1st June

OSCC Lost by 9 Wkts

(Official Match Sponsors: Offley Duck Farms: Laying Eggs Since 1998)

Offley’s unbeaten record went by the board on the day that they recorded more ducks (four) than boundaries (three). Offley’s batsmen embarked on an exercise in single-figure scores and the bowlers never came close to rescuing the situation as the team plummeted to a crushing defeat.

With Steve Bexfield absent at the toss due to taxi duties, Nathan Brodie took over and elected to bat on a damp pitch with a thick covering of grass. Colin Keeley and Richie Barker opened the innings and rode their luck as they got Offley off to a flier with an opening stand of 12. Barker played and missed early on and Keeley survived a couple of drops before guiding a catch to gulley. Mo Chaudry became the first Offley player to go without scoring when he was beaten by an in-swinger to make it 13-2. Jon Cerasale and Barker took the score to 33 before Barker guided a long hop to cover after making a patient 12.

That marked the point where the innings fell apart as Offley lost six wickets for 20. Brodie, frustrated by his inability to pierce the field, was comprehensively bowled by Mansfield before Bexfield marked his first North Herts appearance of the league by being beaten for pace without scoring. The ball ripped through the gate as Offley crashed to 43-5.

Darren Lunney threw his wicket away with a dreadful slog across the line, bowled by Mansfield without scoring. Carl Clare batted solidly as he and Cerasale took the total past 50 before being undone by a fine ball from Mansfield. Moments later Rizwan gormlessly slogged Mansfield to mid off to make it 53-8. Mansfield finished with the alarming analysis of 8-5-6-4.

Youngster Gary Chamberlain put some of his more experienced colleagues to show by digging in alongside Cerasale to add 15 for the ninth wicket before top-edging a pull into the keeper’s gloves. Scott Addy joined Cerasale for the last stand and the pair added 18 for the last wicket before Addy was bowled after making a useful 8. Cerasale finished unbeaten on 28 with extras contributing 27 to the total as Offley slumped to a season-low score.

Offley struck early when Dixon sliced Keeley to Lunney at point to make it 0-1. It might have been 0-2 had Offley taken advantage of a run out opportunity but Pointing and Parkins survived the scare and Offley never came close to breaking the partnership after that. Parkins played himself in and then went to town, unfurling some crashing shots off Keeley, despite bowling to a specific field, the sheer ferocity of his hitting eluded those well placed bravehearts including two huge sixes and a number of fours. Despite being understandably keen to avoid decapitation, Offley’s fielders stuck to their hopeless task well before the game ended with a wide to seal a nine-wicket win for the hosts.