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Offley & Stopsley II's 123-7 Vs Codicote 120-2 : 18th May

OSCC II's Won by 3 Wkts

Offley and Stopsley Lions beat a Codicote Friendly XI in the very last over of a low scoring encounter to seal a three wicket win, and there first victory in 10 attempts, although 8 of the previous 9 defeats had come under the reluctant skippering of Darrell Cooper.

On a cool, yet sunny afternoon, fitting for cricket, Offley welcomed back Dathan Sale after a week’s absence, and also had Cliff Large playing his first game for a couple of years. Skipper Bexfield lost the toss and Offley where invited to field, an outcome which didn’t look anywhere near as bleak as the previous week.

Chamberlain and Ward opened the bowling against what looked an experienced opening partnership from the visitors. Chamberlain was unlucky not to claim the first wicket when Latino failed to hold onto a sharp chance at extra cover, at the other end Ward bowled a steady 5 over spell, occasionally dropping a little short, allowing the batsmen some easy runs. At this point in proceedings the opposition skipper was looking less than impressed with the pitch, being used to a nice bouncy track at Codicote, he was getting bogged down with the low “bounce”.

A double bowling change brought Roy and Cooper into the attack, and a combination of very low bounce and good length’s restricted the hosts to 27 runs off the bat in the next 16 over’s. With Avent heavily bogged down, it was left to Gillard to play some shots, the batsmen took the chance to go over the top whenever possible, but the runs started to dry up, meaning that after 25 over’s the visitors where 60 odd for the loss of no wicket.

Phil Gourd was introduced, and his first two deliveries where rather comical, as they both floated then rolled towards extra cover. Gourd pulled it together and was very unlucky not to take a wicket, as three catches went down in his four over spell. The first culprit was Freeman, bringing his total of drops to three for the weekend, not wanting to miss-out, Kermit got in on the act and shelled his second chance of the afternoon, to be fair, other players may have re-created scenes from the matrix to avoid the ball, as it was travelling. Then the very next over Dathan dropped a sharp chance at point, to compound Gourds bad luck.

The break-through finally came in the 32nd over with the re-introduction of Chamberlain, it wasn’t a classic dismal, as a leg stump half tracker was diverted onto the stumps via bat and then pad, although the wicket was deserved after perseverance from the bowler. With Large bowling well from the other end it was little surprise when C Dodd chipped a simple catch to Bexfield at short extra cover. S Ware came in at number 4 and hit a couple of lusty boundaries late on, leaving Codicote to defend 120, a total that looked more than get-able at tea.

The trusted opening partnership of Sale and Latino set out to make heavy inroads into Codicote’s total of 120, and with a required run-rate of 3 per over, a Hayden and Gilchrist approach wasn’t required. Whilst lacking in pace, the opening bowlers probed with good line and length, and where also helped by the lack of bounce. The highlight of the first 10 over’s was a cracking shot down the ground by Dathan, which missed going for a six by a matter of inches. There is one major flaw with this opening partnership, running between the wickets, and it almost resulted in another run-out, as for a brief moment they were almost sharing the same crease, luckily they got away with it. After making a good start, Latino threw it away to be bowled for 18 by French, leaving Offley 40-1 after 15 over’s. With Chamberlain in at 3 and Offley just behind the required rate, the game was well poised, given Offley’s developing batting line-up. After a couple of near misses, Chamberlain was bowled by Ware on the last ball before drinks.

After a brief interval, Freeman walked out to join Dathan at the crease, now with 20 over’s remaining, Offley required 70 odd to win. As boundaries were limited the pair looked to push the fielders and rotate the strike. With the board ticking over at between 2-5 runs per over, things were going well until Dathan went for a big hit and was clean bowled by Ware for 25, a very tidy score, but in future games Offley will be looking for Dathan and Latino to push on towards 50+,  once they reach 15. Ward was well caught at a short midwicket for 3, giving Ware his 3rd wicket of the afternoon.

Damien Sale considered himself a tad unlucky, as he entered the fray at time when Freeman had become a-little bogged down, due to the low bounce and lack of pace. After being starved of the strike for 3 over’s, Freeman pushed a single first ball of the next over, prompting Damien to have a big swing, the old adage of ‘you miss, I hit’ came into play, and Damien was clean bowled for 2. Large and Roy both came and went quickly, but in there time at the crease both looked to play positively, adding 7 runs to the total between them.

Upon the departure of Roy, with the chase looking a tad shaky, Bexfield decided it was time for bat, requiring 36 from 9 over’s the pair set about the task. The opposition skipper Avent brought himself onto bowl, and began bowling a mixture of good and buffet balls, allowing Bexfield to take one over for 9. At the other end a child named M Dodd was introduced into the attack, due to the extreme lack of bounce, Offley were left to score from extras and extreme pies.

It all came down to the last over, which was to be bowled by Avent, Offley required 3 runs to win, with Bexfield on strike. First ball of the over Offley scampered a bye leaving Freeman to score the 2 runs required to win. There was a chance of a single next ball, but Bexfield turned it down, instead hoping for some sort of last ball, deal or no deal type drama!! It wasn’t to be for Bexfield, as Freeman pulled the next ball for 4, winning the match with three balls to spare. Freeman only just managed to outscore the number of over’s he batted, scoring 21 runs from 19.3 over’s!!

With the Offley Sixes next Sunday, the Lions return to action against Preston 3rds the following week, where it is hoped a winning streak can be started.