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Offley & Stopsley 127-7 Vs Hatfield 123 all out

OSCC by 3 Wkts.

Offley took advantage of a magnificent all-round fielding performance to scratch out a deserved win over Hatfield.

Hatfield won the toss and elected to bat first on a warm day but were soon on the back foot as Mark Tattersall produced an impressive display of bowling. He conceded just nine runs in his eight overs while Rizwan also bowled effectively to restrict the visitors to 31-2 from their first 16 overs.

The hosts turned the screw as wickets fell at regular intervals, Mo Chaudry holding three catches, as Hatfield slumped to 77-5. The arrival of Hazledene threatened to swing the game in Hatfield’s favour and he hit Dave Bridgland for three consecutive sixes. However, the dangerous Gale fell to a stunning return catch by Richie Barker, diving away to his right to evoke memories of Simon Warrington or a young Gordon Banks, and Bridgland gained his revenge by cleaning up Hazledene. Bridgland finished with 4-24 and Barker and Nathan Brodie each claimed two wickets as Offley were left with 45 overs to score 124 for victory.

The run chase began in inauspicious fashion as Steve Bexfield holed out at cover in the opening over to record his third duck of the campaign. After that initial setback Offley made steady progress as Hatfield’s bowlers were repelled by solid batting. Martin Bigmore and Chaudry added 73 runs in circumspect fashion to lower the total needed below 50 before Chaudry holed out on the boundary. Brodie came and went first ball and there were signs of panic when Bigmore fell for a solid 42 to leave Offley rocking on 87-4.

However, with Gary Davison bating with assured calm and Phil Gourd, the man for a crisis, showing a rare willingness to run singles that he generally only reserves for fighting his way to the bar, Offley inched nearer to their target. Gourd sacrificed himself for the cause, running himself out heroically in search of a suicidal single, and Davison edged a catch behind to make it 115-6. Damien Sale fell for a duck to leave Tattersall and Barker to finish the job off in the dark, eventually clinching victory with five balls to go to secure Offley’s third consecutive win in the North Herts League.