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 OSCC, 156-2, beat Bedford Under Nines)154 all out, by 8 wickets


On a day when Luke Munt bowled for the first time since he was banned from doing so by the doctor, a day when Wayne Cutts came out of retirement for about the eighth time and a day when Steve Own finally held his first catch of the season (he dropped another one as well), Offley tightened their grip on second spot as they hammered the children of Bedford by eight wickets with 55 deliveries to spare.

A game that never threatened to become a contest and was not as close as the final margin suggested saw Peter Gilkes and Jono Evetts take the honours for Offley as they sleepwalked their way to victory.

Gilkes claimed the second five-wicket haul of his career, taking 5-37, despite serving up a number of boundary balls and being the chief contributor to the tally of 25 wides.

Evetts starred behind the stumps (well he kept for the first half of the innings; saying he starred would be stretching things a bit - a bit like claiming Marcus Rashford starred in the penalty shootout against Italy), claimed his career best figures for the club (3-22), accounting for two potentially lethal 10-year olds and an old man, and then hammered an unbeaten 78.

Bedford won the toss and elected to bat.

Gilkes suffered heavily in his opening over as he was confronted by an adult but gained his revenge in his second over by bowling Crofts for 12.

This bought Ghandi to the crease, resplendent in black shoes and a burberry cap, and he frustrtated the Offley bowlers for the rest of the afternoon en route to an unbeaten 64. 

At the other end wickets fell with monotonous frequency.

Gilkes struck again when he bowled Mustafa off the edge. The seven-year old opener looked bewildered and walked with the utmost reluctance. Indeed an adult came on to the pitch to plead Mustafa's case, only to be confronted by the uprooted remnants of off stump. 

(I'm inclined to think this may have been his dad, also the captain. After all they shared the same surname and young Mustafa got to open the batting and bowl seven overs. Then again Jono kept wicket, opened the batting and bowled eight overs and I don't think there's anything going on between him and Captain Scott.)

Bozorgi made a rather fortunate 9 before Gilkes beat his swishing prod.

Gilkes then accounted for Captain Mughal with a loopy offering that prompted the batsman to pirouette and look to smash it through fine leg before being nutmegged and losing his middle stump. A furious Mughal stomped off and threw his bat away before sulking off to hid in the changing room where he began to plot his revenge by working out how many stumping appeals he could turn down.

Rehman halted the slide by pillaging 4 and 6 off his first two balls. Built like the Terminator and seemingly having a chin made from a brick, Rehman launched Gilkes many a mile before the tricky trundler deceived him with an even slower ball to complete his five-wicket haul.

Ghandi and Berry produced the most impressive stand of the innings, aided and abetted slightly by some questionable umpiring that ultimately resulted in 25 wides and countless rejected appeals. 

Josh Hook had more stumping appeals turned down than a refugee waiting for a flight to Rwanda. One over from Richie Barker featured a muted LBW shout, two stumping appeals (apparently the first was more out than the second and the second was out by a long way) and a dropped catch from Danny O'Brien.

Barker finally ended the partnership when he persuaded Berry to hole out to mid on where Marc Ward held the catch and contrived to celebrate by throwing the ball 50 yards over his head. Into a bush. 

To be fair it was Barker's 650th wicket for Offley so some sort of celebration was in order. 

Maybe a statue too.

Evetts dismissed young Perry LBW for a duck and Barker sent back the equally youthful Sellers before he had scored, the batsman chipping a catch to a leaping Owen at midwicket where the fielder made no mistake. First time we've been able to say that this year.

Evetts struck again before O'Brien spilled his second catch of the day, shelling a sitter off Evetts at midwicket. 

That rather confirmed the suspicion that should Danny ever have the misfortune to fall from a tree he's got fuck all chance of catching hold of a branch on the way down.

Evetts wrapped up the innings by bowling the neon-yellow shoe-wearing Stachowiak for 2 as Bedford were dismissed for 154.

Offley sent in the big guns with Evetts and Munt striding forth with great purpose like stubby-legged howitzers, all ready to mow down any child fielder who dared try and get in the way of one.

Munt was soon into his stride, the sort of stride that invariably sees him first in line at the buffet. Or, if the rumours are true, first in the queue at Domino's where he allegedly stopped off on his way home.

The beefy biffer was soon crashing the ball through the point and gully regions, collecting boundaries like a man with no life collects coins. 

Munt raced to 28 before he decided it was time for a sit down / to give someone else a bat and elected to softly chip the softest of return catches after a boundary-laced 28.

Ward's arrival changed the tempo. The boundary count dropped off but now leisurely walked singles became sprinted twos, something that may not necessarily have thrilled Evetts.

Evetts continued to play his shots, Ward made it double figures in consecutive innings for the first time in about eight years and Offley stormed towards the finish line.

Evetts reached his half-century before Ward surprisingly fell when he played down the wrong line and was bowled for 21.

However, Hook joined Evetts to ensure there were no further alarms as Offley cruised to victory, a brutally one-sided victory that probably needs to be looked into by the NSPCC but hey ho.

Two wins in a weekend, both for Captain Scott, a league win on the road and even a win without Wild Ben Wiles.

Onwards and Upwards.



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