The Ins and Outs (and Run Outs) of Hertfordshire's premier village cricket club, the one and only Offley & Stopsley CC.
All observations here are totally unofficial and not related to the club on any level.
Additionally, they are not intended to be helpful to anyone in any way.
OSCC 50 all out (Ul-Haq 12) lost to Langford 134-9 (Tattersall 3-6) by 84 runs A stunning burst of 3-6 from Mark Tattersall and a doughty effort with the blade from Kaiz Ul-Haq who top-scored for Offley for the first time in his career, weren't enough to prevent Scott Boatwright's men from slipping to another defeat in the Bedfordshire League. For the moment they remain fourth in the table (God knows how) after a fifth defeat in a row and face a crunch match with seventh-placed Aspley Guise next week. Langford won the toss and elected to bat on a miserable day with rain forecast throughout. Despite the absence of notorious Offley-abuser Adam Parkins, the hosts made a solid start (more than solid actually as Jamie Cummins allowed two sixes in his opening over) and reached 80-1 at drinks. Offley fought back after the break and restricted the hosts to 134-9. Missed By Wiles found his line and length to devastating effect as he claimed 2-17, Tattersall frolicked among the rabbits
OSCC 169 all out (Hook 45) lost to Bovingdon 172-1 (Cummins 1-33) by 9 wickets Nice place to bat, Bovingdon. Flat deck, fast outfield, the sort of place that makes you think God definitely wasn't a bowler. Offley's batsmen enjoyed themselves as they posted their highest Saracens League score of the season, 169 all out. Josh Hook led the way with 45, Ben Wiles made 44 and Hassan chipped in with his customary brisk 20-odd (22 this time) before getting out. Admittedly the tail might have subsided in familiar fashion (the last seven batters got 20 between them and the last four wickets fell for just five) but in general it was a solid display. All in all it's perhaps best not to dwell on the bowling. Jamie Cummins did remove the dangerous Blackburn for 18 - Ali Shah claimed his first catch of the season - but unfortunately that simply paved the way for an unbroken second-wicket stand of 148. Missed By Wiles had a bad day with the radar (he wasn't the only one as Offley
OSCC 158 all out (James Barker 40) lost to Ickwell 187-5 (Wiles 2-34) by 29 runs After Offley won five of their first seven matches it seemed as though a promotion push was on the cards. Although that has manifestly failed to materialise, the only way that the good ship Boaty was going to get into any real trouble was if they somehow found a way to lose each of their remaining nine matches. And you'd have to concede they seem determined to give it a go. Sunday's loss to Ickwell was the fourth in a row and while it was not a particularly soul-crushing defeat, one or two alarm bells are now gently beginning to sound in the background. The writing was possibly on the wall once the skipper had failed with his one job and lost the toss, thereby consigning his side to fielding in the heat on the hottest day of the year. Ickwell piled up 187-5, the highest score surrendered by Boatwright's boys this summer. Ben Wiles was the pick of the bowlers as he collected two wickets to
OSCC 141 (Goord 31) beat Northampton Exiles 88 (Wiles 5-11) by 53 runs Captain Dan's Crew enjoyed something of a novel experience as they won for the first time since May to move off the bottom of the table and offer hope of a great escape. Ben Wiles led the way with a lethal burst of 5 for 11 as Offley stormed home by 53 runs. For reasons known only to themselves Northampton won the toss and elected to bowl on a scorching hot day. Perhaps the Northampton skipper had been reading Captain Dan's Captaincy Pamphlet. Despite prolonging Darren Lunney's miserable run (2), the bowlers were thwarted by a succession of solid contributions from the Offley batters. Captain Dan led the way with 31, Wiles made 24 and there were runs from Scott Boatwright, Josh Scott and Hassan as Offley mustered 141. At one stage Offley looked destined for a more substantial score but a late flurry of wickets saw them slump from 140-7 to 141 all out. Boatwright and Scott formed the bread in an Ali s
Few things in cricket are as terrifying as standing at slip while Harry Kane's brother by another mother, Ben Wiles, charges into bowl. It is a sickening experience as you watch the ball pitch a yard wide of off stump before it swings dramatically and locks on to the target area in the middle of your chest. Evasive action is out of the question and there's no option but to try and parry it to the best of your ability. Ben "Missed By" Wiles has struck again. In fairness to Missed By - and to whoever has the misfortune to be standing at slip and gully - Offley aren't used to having bowlers who can get the ball up above shin height, let alone shoulder height. When he's on song, batsmen have no place to hide. His 5 for 11 against Northampton Exiles improved on his previous best figures of 4-23 and single-handedly gave Offley a fighting chance of not finishing bottom in the Saracens League. However, when the radar malfunctions (as against Eversholt) it tends t
OSCC 136 all out (Bateman 31) lost to Luton Town 137-9 (Bateman 4-26) by one wicket A majestic all-round performance by "Dirty" Desmond Bateman carried Offley to the brink of victory against Luton Town before they slumped to an agonising defeat of the last ball at Lancaster Avenue. Dirty Des recorded career-best figures with bat and ball and also claimed his first catch for the club but it was not quite enough. Offley have now lost three in a row in the Beds League to ensure another season in Division 4 and they have also lost six out of their last seven overall. Offley batted first and got off to a poor start when Dan Goord was bowled by a young child with just a solitary run on the board. In fairness the opening stand of one was one more than the openers managed yesterday. Josh Hook and Hassan added 38 for the second wicket before Hassan reached his customary self-destruct point and was bowled for 21. Hook (17) fell moments later and John Davis and Matty Taylor were left
Ahoy there, mateys! Captain Dan here! I'm here to bring you this month's installment of tips, suggestions and hacks - and I don't just mean those slices I carve to point! This month I'm going to offer my thoughts on toss strategy. Anyone can lose the toss. Boaty is a notorious tosser and invariably walks back to the pavilion having lost the toss to be informed he only has one job. Obviously that one job isn't to score runs! However, it takes someone with real talent to consistently win the toss and consistently make the wrong decision when it comes to choosing whether to bat or bowl. This year I've won the toss five times out of six. That means we've had the ability to dictate the course of the match five times. And we're 17 points adrift at the bottom! Even though we have no real batting depth or quality (in six matches we've recorded a solitary half-century), I've decided it's best that we should always bowl first, thereby allowing the o
OSCC 108 all out (Ali 33) lost to Shenley 246-4 (Barker 2-37) by a lot A disgraceful piece of cricket from Darren Lunney overshadowed a wonderfully inept performance by Offley at Shenley. On a day in which Offley had heroically contrived to drop, refuse or run past everything that had been hit towards them in the air, Lunney embarrassed himself and his colleagues in the final over of the Shenley innings by holding on to a stinging return catch at the fourth attempt. Frankly there was no need for it. Captain Dan won the toss and for reasons known only to himself elected to bowl first on a surface which, if it was not exactly a motorway, could reasonably lay claim to A Road status. Captain Dan later admitted he had been surprised to win the toss, had actually hoped to lose it, and had not fully considered the consequences of his actions before inviting Shenley to book themselves in for breakfast and buffet. That decision to bowl could fairly be identified as the turning point in the m
Marc Ward burst on to the scene as a fresh-faced teenager back in 2007, the first true superstar to emerge from the youth ranks and a three-time winner of the Young Player of the Year Award. 15 years later Ward still retains a certain fresh-faced innocence but it's perhaps fair to say that he hasn't quite kicked on as hoped - in part because he's invariably injured - and despite batting over 150 times he's still some way shy of 2000 runs. The runs have yet to flow since making his comeback in 2021 but that's hardly set him apart from his colleagues. To date Ward has played in three matches this year and Offley have been annihilated in all three, succumbing by 88 runs and by 8 & 7 wickets respectively, casting him firmly in the role of the Ginger Jinx. His highest score is 86* and the hope is he will soon transfer his form from the golf course to the cricket pitch because if he can do that a first 100 will be just around the corner. A stylish and free-flowing b
Demon left-arm bowler. Jeremy Corbyn lookalike. Wide Covid sufferer. Duck collector par excellence. These are just some of the attributes that Peter Gilkes has brought to the Offley ranks since his debut at the back end of the 2019 season. The owner of the finest beard in the club's history, Gilkes has established himself as an integral part of the club in an extremely short period of time - it goes without saying that most of his trips to the middle with his bat in his hand also last an extremely short period of time. He missed the start of the season after falling victim to a particularly virulent bout of wide Covid but made his comeback when Offley found themselves a man short moments before the start against Harpenden Dolphins and heroically abandoned his pint at the bar to open the bowling. Gilkes might not be the quickest bowler on the village circuit but when it comes to consistently baffling opening batsmen with a variety of different deliveries, the left-arm leftie has
OSCC 92 all out (Barker 37) lost to Old Warden 93-3 (Vaidya 1-15) by 7 wickets It would be unfair to describe Offley's trip to Old Warden as pointless - after all the Covid-ravaged outfit mustered a point for their efforts. That being said, it was not one of the more glorious days in the club's history as they slumped to a fairly comprehensive defeat against their previously bottom-of-the-table hosts. Things began rather well. Stand-in captain Richie Barker won the toss and elected to bat and Darren Lunney and Josh Hook plundered three boundaries from the opening two overs. The pair put on 18 for the first wicket with no real alarms before Hook edged behind. Marc Ward joined Lunney and dominated a partnership of seven before he was bowled for 6 to leave Offley on 25-2. John Davis walked out to join Lunney and at that stage you would have got excellent odds on Davis standing at the non-striker's end while the next four wickets fell, even allowing for his dedicated extra ne