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Offley & Stopsley CC  75 all out Vs Caddington 122-9 ; 1st June

OSCC Lost by 47 runs

After a fine team effort in the field, which restricted the hosts to 122 from their 40 overs, Offley pressed the self destruct button in the pursuit of the 122 runs required for victory.

With Bexfield absent, it was left too Freeman to captain a developing team, which on paper, looked a tad light on batting. After a brief discussion between the captains it was decided that for everyone to enjoy the game properly, Caddington should bat first.

Offley took to the field with 10 plus a Caddington recruit, to be greeted with a pitch that looked very bowler friendly. Cooper and Ward opened the bowling, both settled in nicely, with the first wicket coming in the third over, as Bull smashed a low drive to extra cover. In truth the batsmen can count himself unlucky as he picked out the only fielder who was going to catch it, in Latino. Norman was looking to go over the top at every opportunity, luckily for Offley, Cooper and Ward both managed to shackle the batsmen at the other end, and continued to make in-roads. Briston was next to go, attempting a horrid swipe across the line, and only succeeded in offering Cooper a simple return catch. Cooper was back in the wickets in his next over as Casey wafted a simple catch to Dathan at point.

Baron was brought on to replace ward, resplendent in a brand new pair of spikes, and proceeded to mix good with bad. But it was wasn’t long before he got himself in the wickets as V Londe lopped a leg stump long hop to Page at square leg. In hind-sight Caddington may regret the mix up that allowed Cooper to bowl a ninth over, as he removed the dangerous Norman for 46 with the penultimate bowl of his spell, returning good figures of 27-3 from 9 over’s.

At this point the hosts where rocking on 63-5, the skipper flirted with the idea of bringing himself on, but decided it would not be within the spirit of the occasion. Charlie Page entered the attack, and in his second over clean bowled the hosts skipper M Page with a dipping yorker. Unfortunately this brought Fiaz to the wicket, fresh from a 60+ score for the first team the previous day. Fiaz hit Page for 10 from one over, but credit has to go to the young bowler, as he bowled his last two over’s with a good line and length and almost had Fiaz caught at Extra Cover. At the other end Dathan replaced Barron, and bowled a solid 5 over spell, for the cost of 23 runs.

A double change brought Gourd and Tallon into the attack, after a typical Gourd start, he removed Welch with a beautifully delivery which hit the base of off-stump. Gourd was unlucky not get a second wicket, as Freeman charged round from mid-off and spilled a chance off of Fiaz, the drop cost Offley 12 runs, as Tallon picked up the important wicket shortly after he had reached his 50, Tallon then removed Tensfeldt for 0. Ward and Freeman bowled the last two over’s for the cost of 1 run, leaving Offley a target 123 for victory.

After a ponderous think, and due to a lack of real options, skipper Freeman asked debutant Gareth Sales to open the batting with his brother Dathan. The Hosts took to the field after enjoying some Guinness with there tea, it was pleasant to see that some of the traditions of friendly cricket on a Sunday haven’t died. Offley’s reply started a little shakily, with Dathan being dropped behind on 0, and most of the runs coming behind the wicket, the danger man with the ball being Fiaz. First to go was Gareth, after looking as comfortable as possible given the circumstances, he offered up a straight forward chance that was snaffled up by the hosts. This brought together the more experienced brotherly partnership of Dathan and Damien. After Dathan picked a lovely six up over midwicket, Offley pressed the big red panic button, as the very next ball Dathan carved a wide delivery to gulley, leaving to Barron to march out at number 4, with the aim of scoring double figures for the first time. Damien was under orders to bat some overs and rein his attacking game in, a task he set about well until he slogged a slower ball up in the air to gift an easy chance to point. Latino dragged himself to the middle, still drunk from the night before, and set about seeing off the bowling of Fiaz.

Barron smashed a four through midwicket to bring up his first double figure’s score, unfortunately a few balls later he fended at a turning delivery from Bull and wafted the ball towards point. The fielder dived forward and caught the ball, and was promptly bundled by his entire team, a sight which summed up the atmosphere at the ground.

Loan player Tallon copped loads from the hosts as he took his guard, and due to being stuck doing the book Freeman was unable to get padded up and take his place as next man in. The Partnership briefly lifted the scoring before Latino was given out LBW by umpire Damien, and next over Gourd got a shooter to leave Offley 50-6 and deep in trouble. Ward struck a couple of nice blows off of the returning Fiaz before being cleaned up with the last ball of the bowlers spell, it was a little unfair on Ward as the first team quickie steamed in up the hill determined to get the wicket. The score board reading 60-7

Offley where well and truly drinking in the last chance saloon as Freeman and Tallon joined forces in the middle, a wicket now and the game barring a miracle was over, and with only 62 runs required from 14 over’s the chase was more than on. After seeing off Bull’s last two over’s, Freeman decided it was time for a bit of tip and run, the first two balls of the next over and two singles had been acquired, 4 or 5 singles per over plus the odd boundary would be enough for victory. The third ball spelt disaster as Freeman knocked the ball back into the bowlers path, followed by a loud no, but it was too late, Tallon had set off, as the bowler flipped the ball back towards the stump’s,  Tallon hadn’t grounded his bat and was correctly given out. This prompted more delirious celebrations, in review it was fine innings and the top score with 19.

Charlie Page got himself his first run and was then bowled by Lilley, Cooper and Freeman added a few more runs, before Cooper spooned a catch to cover to end the game. Offley all out for 75, but with a little more application Offley should have been able to chase this total down, but did leave with lots of positives to take from their fielding display. Caddington played there part in making this a good day for cricket, with the teams meeting again this time at Offley in July, hopefully by the time Offley return to Caddington on the 3rd of August the “series” will be 1-1 with all to play for!!!