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Offley & Stopsley Vs Breechwood Green -10th Sept

OSCC Won by 94 runs

An era ended at Offley on Sunday as the hosts brought down the curtain on their North Herts League programme with victory against Breechwood Green. Skipper Martin Bigmore made his final scheduled appearance for the club before heading for a new challenge in Australia.

Bigmore won the toss and elected to bat first on a wicket that – at least from a batsman’s point of view – quickly proved to be about as useful and reliable as a chocolate teapot. Dave Bridgland spooned a simple return catch, Mo Chaudry crashed an enormous full toss straight to cover and Bigmore’s batting swansong ended when he edged behind where the keeper made a fine song and dance of things before pouching it at the third attempt.

Jeff Francis and Nathan Brodie both got in and then got out, chipping carelessly to midwicket to leave Offley struggling on 114-5 before Steve Bexfield and Richie Barker added 50 for the sixth wicket. Bexfield (41) looked to be on course for his first half-century of the season before sending a drive into orbit and holing out at silly mid off while Barker battled the after effects of Saturday’s celebrations and a chronic lack of timing to make 24 including 20 singles. A few late swings from the tail lifted the total to 192-8 and left Breechwood with a mountain to climb.

Colin Keeley and Rizwan quickly put an end to any thoughts of a successful run chase with miserly opening spells. Keeley claimed three wickets and Rizwan also picked up a scalp after producing a typically impressive albeit luckless eight overs. However, the prized scalp of star batsman Nick Merchant went to a run out as Barker moved to his right with almost laughable athleticism and managed to whip in a vaguely accurate throw before Bigmore whipped off the bails with the batsman stranded.

The game was as good as over with Breechwood reeling at 26-5 and Bigmore introduced Bertie Gourd into the attack to bamboozle the visitors with his all sorts. Although Gourd only actually bowled five legitimate overs, a surfeit of wides and no balls meant it was more like a 10-over spell. Gourd produced one 11-ball over and a plethora of monstrously wide wides as extras accounted for 41 runs of Breechwood’s eventual total of 98. Despite an abject inability to hit the strip, Bertie eventually claimed three wickets and even found himself on a hat trick at one point. Needless to say he bowled a wide. Qumar claimed the other two wickets as Offley cantered to victory with nine overs remaining to send Bigmore on his way with a win.