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Offley & Stopsley CC II's233-6  Vs Preston 111's 107 all out ; 25th July

OSCC II's Won by 126 runs

On a hot sultry day and with an under prepared pitch it was with anticipation that the skipper tossed the coin into the air. Heads was the call from Preston’s skipper. Both captains watched as the coin fell to earth to land…..

Tails up. Skipper Cooper had won the toss and so, with little hesitation, he decided to bat. This was a momentous occasion as he has never felt that the batting has been good enough to be able to make a game out of batting first but with the influx of 3 first team players, and the form of some the others he felt that it was time to have a go at batting. Especially as it was so hot.

Cooper and Patel strolled out to the middle to open the batting with Cooper taking the first ball. It was difficult to know what the pitch would do as it hadn’t been rolled or scarified in preparation for the match. To be fair there was lots of bounce early on and the ball nipped around a bit off the pitch. This caused Patel to do something no one had seen before; he missed a ball down the leg side. Cooper aimed a big drive at the ball, only to miss it by a country mile. The next ball was pitched up a bit further, this time cooper connected and dumped it straight back over the bowlers head for six. The next ball wasn’t in his half and the resulting hook shot caught the top edge and flew to short long leg, only to be dropped by a one handed attempt. Patel pulled one for 4 in the next over as did Cooper. Then the pitch showed how it was probably going to play as one kept low and bowled Cooper, who again was attempting a pull shot, off his pads.

This would normally have been a concern as the batting can fragile but despite Patel going in the next couple of over’s, things were looking good. With Patel out it meant two of the young prospects of the club were batting together in Ward and Hook. Ward was his usually fluent self scoring a quick 20 plus until he perished to a good catch in the covers. Offley & Stopsley were batting well and accumulating runs steadily and were well past the 100 mark by drinks with Freeman playing the anchor role to young Hooks innings. Just after drinks the pitch played another cruel blow. With Hook playing back to a good length ball it kept low and bowled him off stump. He dropped his bat and held his head in his hands, Bowled 49.

This brought together Freeman and Williams. Now in days of old we may well have been all out for 150, but the two senior players knuckled down to bat out some over’s. Freeman in his lung forward and smother the spin method and Williams with his fall over and burst out laughing method. He got up and dusted himself off and started to bat in the way we know he can, well almost. Strangely not all his runs were on the leg side. Freeman and Williams decided they would bat through and try and see off the opening bowler, who had returned to the attack. They did this successfully picking up singles and the odd boundary to keep the score ticking over. This tactic would come back to haunt Freeman at the end of the innings however. Once they had seen off the quickie they decided they would start to try and up the run rate. They did this in a couple of ways, hitting boundaries and some very dodgy running. Somewhere along the way there was another momentous occasion. Despite Freeman constantly telling him to see the quickie off and to bat a bit more conservatively Williams reached his first 50 for the club. He did with a typical Williams shot, a flick off his legs shall we call it. Unfortunately he didn’t last much longer and was out for 52. This should have been a call for Freeman to try and up his scoring. Wilkes tried his best to give him the strike. The only problem was Freeman seemed intent on going to the top of the sixes league. Having already hit 2 off the 12 year old spinner earlier in the day he proceeded to try and hit everything out of the ground. Unfortunately he didn’t succeed and missed the last ball of the innings, which bounced over the top of middle stump to leave Freeman stranded on 48 not out. He was later heard bemoaning his luck and that if he had known he would of tried to get 2 off the last ball and that Williams had hogged the strike etc etc.

After a fine tea of top notch sarnies, including the now infamous cream cheese and sun dried tomatoes it was O&S’s turn to go out and field. With the skipper picking his two young fast bowlers to open the bowling the prospects for the club were looking good. With Lovell creating bounce from the club house end and Niven swinging the ball like a boomerang it wasn’t long before the first break through. After setting the batsmen up with some great away swing he got one to nip back to bowl the opener. With both bowlers causing problems skipper Cooper decided to bowl them as long as he could which paid dividends for young Lovell. Getting extra bounce with his height he managed to get a bit extra out of the pitch which saw he batsmen thick edge one to gully, who had only just been installed by the skipper. With both bowlers coming to the end of their allowed 6 over’s it was time for a change. This meant the inform Lunney had to turn his arm over. Now to say it didn’t go well would be an understatement. How we didn’t lose a ball I don’t know, it certainly went through the trees about half way up which was enough for skipper and bowler alike. The only good thing about it was that it created a chance for one of the young lads to have a bowl. With Williams keeping it tight ish at the other end young Kelley got a chance. One thing I can say is that he doesn’t take pressure well. I bass this not on him bowling rubbish, far from it, he bowled wonderfully. I base it on the fact that twice, yes twice; he was on a hat trick ball only to fire it down the leg side. If it had been one of the senior players we would have said it was a jug avoidance tactic but most of us don’t like coke that much.

With his devastating spell young Kelley killed the game off. Williams chipped in with a couple and there was a run out. Now you would think that would be the end of the game. Start the car and get the beers in. Now normally it would have been except for the 10th wicket partnership of 33. Now it was a strange partnership indeed. They lasted some 106 balls apparently; it certainly felt that way in the field. Cooper brought back his 2 opening bowlers to try and finish the game, but to no avail. To be fair neither lad bowled as well as they had in their opening spells and with them only having 2 over’s left neither really had chance to hit any rhythm. The skipper by this stage was beginning to think he would have to get loose himself. Ward bowled an over of leg spin. At least it meant he bowled no no balls. The last wicket was finally taken by Hook; well it was the pitch really. The ball crept along the ground to find middle stump and to end a long last wicket stand. The strange thing about it, not the 33 runs, but the fact that neither batsman scored a run. Think the umpires’ didn’t realise the bar was open. All in all a good day for O&S. Perhaps finally the second team realise they can win games.