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Offley & Stopsley CC II's 92-6 Vs Studham 88 all out ; 13th June

OSCC II's Won by 4 Wkts

Some say that the 13th day of the month is unlucky, but if its good enough for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen to be born, its good enough to play cricket on. This theory was somewhat dismantled as  Offley went down to 5 for 6. However, as the game closed there was nothing but glory for Offley & Stopsley’s 2nd XI as they maintained there longest unbeaten streak.

Charlie Page and Colin Williams were asked to open the bowling and kept it tight until Williams was launched for 6 over mid-wicked by Studham’s answer to Kevin Pietersen. Page ensured he kept it tighter than a Scotsman’s wallet through his 4 overs taking the opening wicket and ensuring runs were as hard to come by as a Rachael Stevens single.

Studham’s batters were settling into a groove and with runs ticking along nicely, things looked ominous. However, Harry Lovell and Cameron came on and bowled well with Lovell taking out the top order batsmen.

With the middle order dug in, the next bowling change proved an inspired decision by Captain Cooper, giving the ball to the more than experienced Cliff Large. In 4 overs Large went through  the Studham middle order like a Greek attempts to seduce middle aged British holiday makers taking 3 wickets for 6 runs, give or take a couple….leaving Studham struggling on 75 for 6 and the match wide open
With the  Austrialian Paul Hum bowling ‘top nuts’ at the other end and achieving a double maiden that would have had Kylie and Danii Minogue drooling over him in the bar later, if they had turned up…Offley 2nd XI were heading in the right direction.

The Studham lower order offered little resistance and the final 3 wickets to be taken by an inspired display of bowling from Jack Willis. Leaving Offley & Stopsley’s 2nd XI to chase the challenging, and I repeat challenging, target of 91 runs.

The  Captains innings finished not long after it started, with Cooper strolling into the Pavilion with the score 1 for 1. Studham continued through the top order like a hot knife through butter. Lovell and Hook falling for ducks. Bringing Wilkes to the crease to show dogged resistance as further wickets fell around him

Niven showed a little resistance despite early promise, Lunney strolled in only to be taken first ball by a stunning catch at point to bring the youthful exuberance of Page to the strip, only for him to walk back next ball and provide a hat-trick for Charda. At 6 for 6 Offley 2nd XI still had a chance…..

Williams strolled to the crease to partner Wilkins as they provided innings that would make Gary Lawand Geoffry Boycott  proud, as  defence overcame the desire for runs. However the slowly accumulated runs to take Offley II’s past  50. Slowly and carefully the score crept upwards as the excitement plunged down.

The overs ticked by and it suddenly appeared that Offley 2nd XI might yet pull out a stunning win. Wilkins creamed a couple of 4’s over the covers, as Williams tapped 4’s into the legside (surprise surprise).

However this progress was disturbed with the introduction of the a spinner Wingfied, And, despite LBW shouts, nicks, singles and apparently appeals that  were ‘not worth bothering about because it would not be out.’ Offley 2nd XI reached the 34th over with only 8 runs required. It came upon Williams in the next over to knock a  final boundary to secure the win, the  taste of victory made sweeter as Offley 2nd XI made it a record breaking  3 game unbeaten streak and settled down to watch the Germans give the Aussies a right good thrashing in the World Cup.