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Offley and Stopsley II's 153-9 vs Woodford Green C C 227-5
Official Match Sponsor: Barings Bank – Bad Decisions - 1762 to 1995
The Offley and Stopsley Lions made the long trip to Essex to play Woodford Green seconds. The Lions featured a strong line-up this week, as Francis, Cutt’s and Lunney bolstered the ranks. Upon arrival at 2.20pm, 20 minutes after the scheduled start time, the opposition captain for some strange reason decided they wanted to play a time game, and after losing the toss Offley took to the field at 2.30pm, with tea to be taken at 5pm.
In terms of the fielding and bowling portions of the game, it went downhill rapidly, as the young opening batsmen took Cooper and Ward around the ground. In-between some good balls from each bowler, they seemed to be competing to see who could feed the batsmen the easiest ball to hit to the short boundary, and it was particularly painful having to watch the ball sale into the road two balls in a row, as Ward confirmed the general theory that short = runs!!
With the score-board reading close to 40 after 4 over’s Bexfield called Freeman into the attack to replace Ward. His first ball produced an outside edge which carried to Damien behind the stumps, alas the keeper failed to hold onto the sharp chance as it flew waist height through first slip. Freeman then carried on the flavour of the day as he gifted Carr two lovely full tosses which where duly put away. Cooper continued to mix the good with the bad before being replaced by Lunney.
The runs where stemmed briefly as Freeman sent down two consecutive maidens and followed it by bowling his next two over’s for the cost of 5 runs. At the other end Lunney served up some tasty treats, and was punished through mid-wicket once too often, but the bowler was denied a wicket when Freeman spilled a difficult-ish chance at mid-on. Two over’s later Dathan Spilled a chance in the same position off the bowling of Freeman. Lunney did bowl some very good balls during his 6 over spell, but needs to restrict the amount of boundary balls he sends down in order too progress further.
With the scoreboard reading 102, Freeman finally made the break-through, as he sent Evans middle-stump cart-wheeling away towards the wicket keeper. Offley enjoyed Drinks. The old saying of “one brings two” came firmly into play, as the next ball after Evans had been cleaned up, Carr decided to run himself out for 68. The wicket brought some rest-bite to the Offley bowlers, just as Cutt’s entered the attack, and allowed Freeman to be removed after an effective 10 over spell.
Cooper changed ends to replace Freeman, and sent down a couple of comfortable over’s as the two new batsmen played themselves in. Cutt’s got his reward in his third over as Harper tried to cut a ball that was too tight, and the ball smashed into the bails, to leave the hosts 3 down. With 50 minutes play left the hosts had 120-odd, and Offley had hopes of restricting them too 160, unfortunately at 4.10pm on the 20th of July 2008, despite all the fears of a credit crunch, the Offley Pie industry suffered a massive boom, as the ball started disappearing to all parts of the ground. After collecting the ball from the road, the situation allowed Wayne Cutt’s to walk into a huge branch and be knocked over, the said fielder then had to leave the field with blurred vision for an over or two.
Cooper fed A Naipaul a succession of middle-n-leg offerings which where dispatched too and over the short boundary, before being replaced by Latino. Ward was re-introduced into the attack and after taking some initial punishment, picked up two good wickets as time began to run out and the batsmen started swinging. It was a good comeback from Ward as he showed the character that is needed to bowl at the death. Latino gave the boom its last rights as he was thumped for 31 from 3 over’s, including a massive 6 which cleared the tree’s and landed on the other side of the road.
Bexfield and Latino opened the reply for Offley, as things got off to a steady and calm start, as Offley had an hour to bat plus 20 over’s from 6.30pm. With the score board reading 30+ after 8 over’s Naipaul was introduced into the attack, with the bowler being a-little quicker than his team mates he started causing problems straight away, as he made a mess of Latinos stumps, before sending off-stump cart-wheeling to remove Dathan Sale.
Bexfield and Francis started to rebuild the innings with a watchful partnership, as the skipper moved onto his 50, Offley had 79 on the board at his point and Bexfield had scored 52 of them. Francis was weighed down by some leg-side bowling, as he struggled to put bat on ball, but on a positive note he did have a solid defence. Bexfield took advantage of a few short deliveries and some width outside off-stump to move his own score past 70.
Francis was bowled for 7 attempting to guide the ball through the vacant mid-on and Gourd came and went for 1 to leave Offley four down, with the draw now looking favourite. After playing a couple of nice defensive shots Damien was bowled for 3, the batsmen in question was not particularly happy as he walked back into the pavilion and promptly kicked a chair over.
Bexfield had been working the ball around nicely to reach a score of 96, picking up the 1’s and 2’s without looking in any real trouble, then for some strange reason he smashed a long-hop to square leg, as he fell four short a century. This left Cutt’s and Ward at the wicket to face the last 9 over’s as the hosts looked for the 10 wickets required for victory.
Ward gained some revenge for earlier in the day as he picked a lovely four up over midwicket, and at the other end Cutt’s mixed solid defence with luck, as he survived a stone-dead LBW appeal from umpire Latino. After building a patient innings of 8, Cutt’s had his off-stump removed by Evans to bring Freeman to the wicket.
Freeman’s innings lasted two balls, as Umpire Latino failed to hear or see a huge inside edge and adjudged the batsmen LBW. Instead of putting the decision down to something that happens in cricket, Freeman in true Offley style decided to disgrace himself by launching his bat towards the pavilion from the middle, and rein a tirade of bad language upon the pavilion. After all that, Cooper was bowled for one, before Ward and Lunney guided Offley to a draw after 36 over’s of batting.
A bad day at the office for the Offley Lions, as too many people failed to play at their potential against a good team, but next Sunday is another day and it provides a trip to local “rivals” Whitwell.