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Offley & Stopsley, 127-4 Vs Hexton, 125 all out

OSCC Won by 6 wickets

Offley consolidated their position at the top of the league by easing to a relatively comfortable victory against Hexton at Wardown Park. Dan Jordan led the way with four wickets and a boundary-laced 36 not out as Offley proved too strong for their opponents.

Steve Bexfield won the toss and gave Hexton first use of a decent track and a lightning fast outfield. Colin Keeley made the early breakthrough but Hexton regrouped to good effect as Marshall and Short took advantage of some wayward bowling from Matt Freeman to post the 50 in the seventh over. The introduction of Jordan stemmed the flow of runs as he struck with his first ball, finding the edge and allowing Richie Barker to claim the catch at second slip at the fourth attempt.

Keeley and Jordan combined to good effect to make steady inroads into the Hexton order but the crucial moment came when Short drove Jordan to mid on. Mo Chaudry ran round to field the ball smartly and persuade the batsmen not to attempt a single. However, Short was slow to regain his ground and Chaudry threw down the stumps with a brilliant piece of fielding to remove Hexton’s best batsman.

Offley suffered a blow when man of steel Chris Latino aggravated a long-term knee injury after he gave gallant chase to a well struck ball. Latino crumpled in a sickening heap to reduce Offley to ten men. He bravely returned for a brief spell before giving way to twelfth man Mark Tattersall. Despite the loss of Latino Offley kept their nerve and concentration to run through the Hexton batting order. Jordan finished with four wickets and Keeley picked up three scalps before Barker claimed 2-3 to roll Hexton over for 125 and leave Offley with 66 overs to reach their target.

Offley began their response before the tea interval and Bexfield showed encouraging signs of rediscovering his form as he made 25 before the break. Offley went to tea on 29-1 with Chaudry the man out for three. Nathan Brodie looked to be skating on thin ice after the break and it was no surprise when he fell for five. Darren Lunney cracked a couple of boundaries before shuffling across his stumps and being bowled behind his legs and the result was in some doubt when Bexfield drove over a straight one and was castled for 44 to leave Offley rocking at 69-4.

However, Jordan and Chris Austin combined to great effect as they shared a match-winning stand of 58. Jordan hit five fours and a six in his 36, including a scoreboard-smashing shot, while Austin made an undefeated 16, settling the match with a glorious drive through the extra cover region to seal a six-wicket victory.