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Offley & Stopsley CC 120-10 Vs Totteridge Millhillians 121-7 ; 28th Aug

OSCC Lost by 3 Wkts

The penultimate match of the Herts Cricket League season was a dull and disappointing affair in more ways than one for Offley and Stopsley, now languishing perilously close to the bottom of the division 8 table.  The weather was bright and sunny when Bridgland stepped out to take the toss with the opposition skipper.  Perhaps he has lost that double sided coin, as his opposition number called incorrectly; Bridgland elected to bat and Totteridge Millhillians, a side still in contention for division champions took the field.  Bridgland’s luck, and that of his team, was to fade as the weather deteriorated through the match.

Bexfield and Chaudry walked out to face the Totteridge attack (if your usual correspondent was penning this report, references to Rourke’s Drift might now follow!) and Bexfield opened his account with a 4.  The run-ups and the surface of the wicket were damp and greasy from the week of rain that Offley had endured and the ball skidded off the surface of the wicket making it difficult to play the two seamers, both of whom were quite nippy.  Chaudry survived for 8 overs before Salcthivel cleaned him up, and Ward was to follow him back on the long trudge to the pavilion just two deliveries later having failed to trouble the scorer.  This brought Bridgland to the wicket who, with Bexfield, began to build the innings despite Bexfield being  dropped at gulley when the score was just 22.

Slowly (very slowly), the total increased and both batsmen began to look more confident, although it was still difficult to get the ball off the square and many good shots went straight into the hands of the fielders.  The first 50 runs took 88 minutes and 23.3 overs to but the batsmen seemed more assured  when Patnaik bowled Bridgland  and Bexfield fell just a few overs later to catch by Benn.  The next few batsmen came and went in similar fashion; a few torrid overs at the crease before being dismissed, and it was not until Austin was joined by Freeman that another partnership of double figures was achieved .   

Austin departed to a smart stumping by his opposite number leaving Niven and Large to add just 5 more runs before the innings close at 120 all out.  It was scarcely enough and the gathering clouds matched the glum faces of the home team.

Offley opened their attack with Large and Niven when their main strike bowler informed the skipper that he needed 10 overs to warm up.  The two bowlers toiled manfully but Mallavarapu played his shots freely and both batsmen took many quick singles to the fielders.  After 6 overs, the players returned to the pavilion to sit out the first cloudburst and to don jumpers to cope with the drastically changed weather.  Mallavarapu’s knock was not without a chance; he was dropped by Freeman when he had scored 36 and it took some smart fielding by Ward to run out Graves and break the opening partnership.  However, by this time, they had passed the 50 partnership and the result of the match was more or less decided. 

Conscious of the need to score as many bonus points from bowling as possible (since the low total meant Offley had no batting points), Bridgland’s men celebrated when Venugopal bagged a golden duck and then the weather intervened again, as the rain fell steadily and heavily.  The teams headed for the pavilion where an impromptu game of indoor cricket with some of the colts passed the time.  The opposition skipper stood forlornly in the rain looking at the sky and badgered the umpire about recording the time accurately so that the number of overs the innings would be reduced by was correct.  In truth, this was the only real role he played during the match since he neither faced a ball, bowled, nor directed the field.  In total, 7 overs were deducted from those available but this proved academic as Totteridge reached their target in just 30.3 overs, but Offley had added 7 vital bonus points to their total with the wickets of 7 of the Totteridge batsmen.  It might have been more had Bexfield not spilled a catch in the 29th over.  The result leaves Offley 5th from bottom and needing a win against Wormley II next week in the final league game of the season.  This should have been played at Wormley but they have requested that we play the match at Offley as they have difficulties providing a venue.