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Field of Screams

  Considering we combined to shell 78 catches between us last year it's slightly worrying that in 2023 Offley & Stopsley might be putting the worst fielding side in history on the pitch. That's not something to be said lightly of a club that once used to hold the Milk Floats of Fire contest to determine the slowest player. The only greyhound connected with the club is owned by Secretary Matthew Taylor.  And the fact Matty T got landed with the secretary job shows he's clearly lost some of his speed and mental agility. A combination of the slow, the aged, the weighty and the infirm (and that's just Luke Munt's medical notes) look set to go into action when the season gets underway next month. It's not helped by the fact two of the younger members of the club, James Barker and Kaiz Ul Haq, are away at university for the start of the season. JB only plays on a Sunday and Kaiz is rumoured to be taking his 20 career ducks from 66 innings to Potten End on a Saturd
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Player Profile #25: Cliff Large

  These days Cliff Large tends to limit his appearances for Offley to about one a year, preferring to spend his time on the golf course or offering support and encouragement from the boundary edge. It's safe to say in 2023 that Cliff is more about the pars (occasional) and the bars (plentiful) than wickets and economy rates. Yet there was a time when Large's gentle swing proved fatal for opponents.  These days the swing on the golf course is markedly less gentle and reminiscent more of a Saxon Housecarl dying hard in the final moments at Hastings, sweeping his blade through the air looking for Frenchmen to smite. By the end of the 2022 season only eight bowlers in Offley history had taken more wickets than Cliff's 179. As a young man - and there are cave drawings to support this - Cliff relied on pace, bounce and an intimidatory stare to weaken a batsman's resolve. Yet at the height of his Offley heyday, Cliff relied upon guile and craft and the ability to make a ball m

Player Profile #24: Adam Ward

  Adam Ward might not be the best batsman in his own family (his career average of 14.97 leaves him in the slipstream of brother Marc's 15.32 record) but in 2022 he recorded the highest score by an Offley batsman for eight years and also the fifth highest score ever.  In the context of last year it probably goes without saying that Offley lost but in fairness it wasn't really Adam's fault, especially as he took two of the three Queens Park wickets to fall in a miserly spell of 7-0-64-2, a performance that made Peter Gilkes look economical. While it may be tempting to regard that knock as something of an outlier (he failed to average 10 in his other innings last year), there has never been any doubting Ward's class. To see him drive through the covers or mid off early in his innings is to see a batsman of real pedigree. Sometimes he even makes contact with the ball. Sadly the Offley scorebooks are littered with entries along such lines of Ward bowled 0 or  Ward bowled 1

The Offley Aquatics Centre

  Offley & Stopsley C.C. are delighted to announce the opening of the new Offley Aquatics Centre on the site of the old pavilion.   The new facility features a shallow end in what was once the away dressing room. The kitchen end boasts the deep end and enough water to encourage diving from the top of the kitchen worktop. Elsewhere the site also boasts the Joshua Hook Paddling Pool for younger children who need time to cool off. Unfortunately there are still no showers - at least nit unless the roof has also given way in the wake of this weekend's torrential downpours. It is hoped the Aquatics Centre will also encourage wildlife - after so many ducks were seen in the middle last year there are expectations that they may make themselves at home in the pavilion wetlands. With nets still five weeks away the opening of the Aquatic Centre means an opportunity to get ready for the new season and as the above picture shows, the Offley Synchronised Appealing Squad are already getting in

Play Nicely...

Interesting update regarding social media and the ECB's latest dictate from their ivory tower.... "Recently, there have been an increasing number of social media posts that contravene the ECB’s new General Conduct Regulations. These GCR’s prohibit the posting of derogatory, defamatory, or discriminatory comments by any participant, (player, umpire, spectator, club member, club etc.), about any other participant on any social media platform or Club website.   "Clubs and participants should be aware the penalties for such posts range from player bans/suspensions to point deductions, with such transgressions posted to the League’s Disciplinary Update report for all to see.    "Apart from the above penalties, please think how you would feel if someone posted about you, what you post about someone else." This represents a new and exciting development, an entreaty to take a deep breath before you tweet and not say anything remotely controversial about suffering nine l

Knobbed Out at Knebworth

  48 hours before the start of the Herts Trophy semi-final OSCC and Aldenham were still in the same division. By the time the game got underway there were three divisions between the sides, Aldenham going up one flight as a result of finishing runners-up in Division 8A, Offley dropping down two tiers as a result of finishing rock bottom. To that end the result was perhaps not a great shock. Ben Wiles won the toss but that was about as good as it got as Offley's bowlers were subjected to 20 overs of toil. Aldenham piled up 176-5 and then immediately reduced Offley to 6-2 with key men Wiles and Jono Evetts back in the hutch.  Not for the first time this year the top order disintegrated with only standout performer Mark Tattersall (28 & 2-26) emerging from the rubble with a great deal of credit. Aldenham went on to beat Potten End in the final (they racked up 190-5 which suggests we did quite well to hold them to 176) so fair play to them.  On the plus side Eaton Bray lost to Ware

Player Profile #23: Stephen P. Bexfield

  These days Stephen Bexfield is something of a dinosaur, last of a dying breed of batters from a bygone era who persists in wearing a white helmet. Yet back in the day Bexfield was a dinosaur of a different kind, a mighty predator who devoured bowling attacks and terrified trundlers everywhere. He also terrified his own umpires who dreaded retribution and recrimination should they ever give him LBW when he padded up to a straight one. His greatest days may be behind him but he remains the most prolific run-scorer in Offley history, the great batting dinosaur known as none other than Tyrannosaurus Bex. Or T-Bex, as he likes to be known. As OSCC's 25th season draws to a close Bexfield is within touching distance of 15,000 runs, currently boasting 14,769. If you ask him he can probably talk you through each of them. It should be noted that had he not pissed off with the hump to play with his mates at St Joseph's at some point in the early part of the 21st Century during his inter

Uncharted Depths

  On the first Saturday in September in 2021, Ben Wiles claimed 7-7 as Offley smashed Northchurch to earn a victory that failed to keep[ them up. On the first Saturday in September in 2022, Ben Wiles scored a maiden century for Offley as they lost to Watford and consequently dropped down two divisions.  Basically Ben Wiles parties suck. So essentially (and barring a league reshuffle) we've dropped three flights in 12 months and will be exploring life in Division 9A in 2023. Amongst others we can renew rivalries with Hatfield Hyde, Luton Inidans IVs and - joy of joys - Pinner IIs. Any repeat of this year's less than stellar performance will see us drop into the regional wastelands of Divison 10, be it East, South, North or West. We've had better years...

Good Luck Boys

  Good luck to all the Offley players heading to Knebworth on Sunday. While we may have been absolutely fucking terrible on our travels this season in the Herts & Beds Leagues (14 of 16 road trips have produced defeats which have ranged from comprhensive to crushing to outright annihilation and humilaition) we are unbeaten on the road in the t20 after hammering Little Gaddesden in our one previous match.  The omens are clearly on our side. The opposition isn't up to much. Frogmore got relegated (admittedly from Division 5A but wevs). Potten End only came second (fair enough it was 5B). Aldenham have already lost 10 wickets to Offley this year (admittedly over two games). Furthermore all three won on Saturday so they've clearly peaked too soon. Victory shall be ours! And if it's not there's always beer to take the edge off it. Go well boys. Good luck emulating the 1998 Offley & Stopsley team that won the club's first trophy 25 years ago. Back Row: Gary McDer

The Way It Were

As we countdown to Sunday and an appearance at Finals Day,  it's a good time to take a look back at perhaps the club's most epic cup match. The OSCC side that took on Luton Sixth Form at Leagrave in 2003 In 2003 Offley & Stopsley were the defending midweek champions. The previous year we had swept all before us prior to overcoming a determined Shaheen side in an epic encounter of sportsmanship and chivalry at Crawley Green and hopes were high that they could lift the trophy again in Keith Towndrow's final season.  They were so high that eight players turned up for the first round at home to Vauxhall Griffin.  It would have been nine players but Phil Gourd claimed it was too cold and refused to leave the sanctuary of the bar.  In the end his absence was not crucial as Richie Barker claimed four wickets and Mohammed Qumar made 43, his highest ever score for the club. Offley fielded ten men in the next game, Towndrow contributing runs and wickets to the cause to seal a com