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Offley & Stopsley, 148-5 Vs Hertingfordbury, 147 all out

OSCC Won by 5 wickets

A third victory in a row elevated Offley & Stopsley to second place in the table as they disposed of Hertingfordbury with a solid performance. Dan Jordan shrugged off the pain of a broken toe to produce fine performances with bat and ball, Gareth Mathewson produced a marathon spell and Mo Chaudry continued his return to form with a well made 47.

Steve Bexfield won the toss and invited the opponents to bat and was rewarded with an early breakthrough as Darren Lunney snaffled a fine one-handed catch behind the stumps off Colin Keeley. It was to be Keeley’s only victim of the day, scant reward for 14 overs of toil in the heat. Matthew Freeman mixed some superb deliveries with the odd lump of dross but claimed the second wicket of the innings when he induced a catch to keeper Lunney. Freeman subsequently inquired as to whether or not he could go off for something to eat, a request that was denied

With both openers back in the hutch Hertingfordbury opted to dig in and some fairly turgid cricket followed as the batsmen were happy to allow Keeley, Jordan and Mathewson to turn the screw. Freeman provided some light entertainment by leaving the field in search of a tissue, apparently to stave off a bout of hay fever although there were some doubts as to whether the well known McCoys muncher was doing anything other than taking on fuel.

Melley provided the innings with some ballast with a tortuous 14 from 24 overs but after he was run out wickets began to tumble. Jordan ripped out the middle order with a three-wicket burst, including a well-judged catch off his own bowling after he induced the batsman to try and pierce the ozone layer. At the other end Mathewson proved too good for the tail, claiming his reward for 18 overs of hard work by dismissing top scorer Stone for 47 and then running through the bottom of the order with clinical precision to leave Offley needing 148 to victory.

The reply did not begin well as Richie Barker fell to the second ball of the innings. Wayne Cutts came in and played with some flair for his four runs before missing a straight one to leave Offley wobbling slightly at 19-2. However, Jordan joined Chaudry and the pair negotiated some attacking fields and probing bowling from the joyless Murphy to post 77 for the third wicket. Chaudry hit a pair of impressive sixes before holing out in the deep three short of a deserved half century.

A nervous Nathan Brodie strode to the crease and apparently inspired by his recent success in the swimming pool, he batted like a new man, casting aside his insipid run of form to help himself to an unbeaten 22, his highest score of the season. Jordan fell for 41 after attempting a slightly ambitious legside waft and there were a few flutters in the camp when Bexfield wafted wantonly outside off stump and got a thick edge through to the keeper. However, Lunney and Brodie knocked off the remaining runs with few alarms to seal victory and keep the bandwagon rolling.