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Offley Stopsley Vs Rickmansworth III
OSCC won by 5 wkts
Offley & Stopsley won a game at the fourth attempt this season. But not without some drame. In an edgy finish in the rain OSCC avoided snatching defeat from the jaws of victory to gain an ultimatley deserved 5 wicket win.
Stephen Bexfield won the toss and decided to field first ( adecision wisely based on the weather forcast). Rickmansworth got off to a bad start when their opener fell to a good ball from Mathew Freeman to be clean bowled. In the very next over Keeley got their number three out with a loose drive to Darren Lunney at mid off.
The third wicket partnership threated to frustrate OSCC as they put on 51 runs in the next 16 overs to take Rickmansworth to 59-2. The skipper then changed the attack. John Ceresale's searing pace replaced Freeman from the club end with the jungle spin of Richie Barker from the tennis court end. This proved to be a decisic=ve change as both bowlers immediatley made an impact.
Ceresale found the elusive edge of Lewy's bat and in the very next over Barker caught and bowled the opener Flynn in a piece of cricket neither will be proud off. Ceresale went on to bowl with genuine pace in what was now quite wet conditions, meanwhile Barker held the other end up admirally and picked up two more wickets to finish with 3-35. Rickmansworth were bowled out in 36 overs for 101, John Ceresale stareed with a devastating 5-26.
Steve Bexfield and John Ceresale went out to start the reply and got things off to a great start in what by now was quite difficult conditions for all concerned. An opening stand of 63 in 18 overs took care of more than half the target with only 2 boundaries being struck. When Bexfield was caught at first slip the drama began. Darren Lunney was out for a duck playing a back foot stroke to a ball that moved alot. Michael Cunningham played a wild shot to early in his innings to get a duck and then when Nathan Brodie was trapped in front of his stumps for the third duck in a row OSCC had gone from 63-0 to 67-3. At this point the dogged resistence of Chris Austin came to the fore. While Ceresale was scoring the runs, Austin stayed put and supported him. They stayed together for over 30 minutes to score 14 runs when Ceresale was caught in the deep for a well worked 40 runs (in better conditions it would have been a 70).
Richie Barker came to the crease with a further 17 runs required and took care of the business as and when the dogged defence of Chris Austin allowed him the strike.