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Offley & Stopsley, 174-4, beat Ardley Walken, 72 all out, by 102 runs

Mark Tattersall produced another dominant performance with the bat to help Offley cruise into the last eight of the Herts Village Trophy. Tattersall, currently enjoying a hot streak that is not so much a purple patch as a mauve mile, crashed 95 from just 49 balls to carry Offley to a total that always looked to be beyond the range of the visitors. The Offley bowlers took advantage of the big score to help themselves to easy wickets with Matthew Freeman claiming three scalps and Colin Keeley, Jon Cerasale and Gareth Mathewson helping themselves to a brace apiece. Only the luckless – and some might say hapless – Wayne Cutts went unrewarded.

The visitors won the toss and elected to field first, placing their faith in their ability to chase down a target. Tattersall opened the innings with Mo Chaudry and the bowlers were quickly on the back foot. Tattersall hit the ground running, getting off the mark with a boundary before launching into an assault that yielded five sixes and a dozen fours. Chaudry provided solid support but soon gave up trying to keep pace with Tattersall. The partnership was finally broken by the persevering Free who produced a vicious delivery to find the edge of Tattersall’s bat. It might have been all right now for Free but it was a bitter disappointment for the batsman who fell five runs short of a deserved century.

Cerasale came and went in the blink of an eye, castled by Harrow as he aimed an ambitious shot at his second ball, before Chaudry edged Free to the keeper for a well made 44. Mathewson failed to get into his stride and was run out for 3 but Mohammed Qumar hoisted a mighty six to lift Offley to 174-4.

The visitors needed to make a positive start but they quickly found themselves behind the run rate and wickets began to tumble. Keeley made the initial breakthrough and Cerasale wasted little time in storming into the breach. Mathewson held a beast of a skyer to give Cerasale his second wicket and the issue was effectively settled as Keeley’s slower ball hopelessly deceived Dyson, hoovering up the batsman with ease.

Freeman entered the attack and helped himself to three wickets with an interesting variety of good balls and utter dross while Mathewson picked up two wickets as he ripped through the lower order. The end came when the final pair attempted an optimistic single to old stager Steve Bexfield. Evidently deceived by Bexfield’s advancing years and grey hairs, the young Harrow was stunned by Bexfield’s one-handed pick-up and throw. Chris Austin did the rest, demolishing the stumps with some aplomb to seal the victory and send Offley through to the next round.