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Offley & Stopsley, 220-5, drew with Northampton Exiles, 142-9

Offley’s bid to secure their second Saracens League win of the season was thwarted by a young batsman in a T-shirt. No one knows the identity of the youth who foiled the host’s victory charge as the opponents left immediately afterwards without allowing the home team to copy up the scorebook.

The visitors won the toss and despite a clear blue sky elected to field first. A somewhat hungover Richie Barker opened the batting with Chris Austin and the pair shared a stand of 81 before Barker edged a low delivery on to his stumps for 69. Nathan Brodie arrived at the crease and was quickly into his stride, notching 19, his highest score of the season. After 27 overs of watchful defence and stout defiance pinch-hitter Austin fell for a typically dogged 11 before a catatonically drunk Wayne Cutts played all round a straight ball to register a duck. Darren Lunney fell for 6 and Offley were rocking slightly with five wickets down before Dan Jordan and Gareth Mathewson dragged the total up to an imposing 220. Jordan notched his first half-century for the club in just his second innings while Mathewson made an entertaining 28 not out, mixing swipes and sweeps with the odd crashing drive.

Northampton were rarely in the hunt after Colin Keeley made early inroads. Bowling with a burning desire that owed as much to the sunshine as it did to the neoprene shorts holding his groin together, Keeley claimed three wickets to effectively rule out the possibility of a successful run chase. Matthew Freeman overcame a woefully abject fielding performance (“I only turn up to bowl”) to claim three wickets of his own and with Jordan also snaring a wicket the visitors were marooned with seven wickets down and over 20 overs left.

However, the placid nature of the wicket meant that Offley’s bowlers were unable to find a way through the defences of batsmen who had no interest beyond surviving. Keeley returned for a fruitless second spell and Lunney failed to hold on to a sharp chance off the bowling of Cutts. Jon Cerasale puffed and panted his way to the crease but failed to find a way through. A draw seemed certain until Barker was introduced with three overs remaining and struck with his third ball, luring the batsman out of his ground and allowing Austin to complete a smart stumping. Jordan followed up with a quick wicket but the Exiles held on, clinching a solitary point for their somewhat tedious efforts while Offley emerged with 19 points.