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A Jolly Day Out

 OSCC 162-9, lost to _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _  &  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 165-8, by two wickets

Not a lot to say about this one really.

Well, obviously that's not strictly true. There's a lot that could be said about legside wides and an LBW decision that wasn't given even though the batsman had elected not to play a shot and was hit in front of middle.

Then there was the stumping that wasn't given.

The persistent coaching from the umpire advising his batters when to come back for a second run.

Wasted advice really as there's pretty much always two to any Offley fielder.

And finally, in the last over, the run out that was not, a decision - or not - that was beyond pathetic.

Incidentally said umpire was the one who was reprieved when not playing a shot when hit in front of middle so maybe it's like a glorified cricketing circle jerk where everyone gets off....

Still, when you're in Divison Three Thousand and are desperately trying to finish in the top six, then obviously you're prepared to do whatever it takes.

Shame they don't actually have a proper ground rather than a quad bike circuit in a wind tunnel on top of a hill but such is life.

Fuck knows why we pay council tax for facilities like that, mark you.

Needless to say it should be pointed out that Offley were fairly complicit in this latest fuck up.

It took a real talent for disaster to turn 143-1 into 162-9.

As for missing the same batsmen three times in three balls - two drops and a missed stumping - the less said the better.

Although if we'd kept him in for the entire innings he wouldn't have been able to win the game for his team in the last over with his umpiring.

Offley lost the toss (again) and were invited to bat on an uneven surface that bore a striking resemblance to a minefield with balls alternately exploding off a length or scuttling along the floor.

Offley's opening pair of Tango & Fanta surprised everyone - mostly themsleves - by weathering the early storm and going on to post a first wicket stand of 115.

Marc Ward made the early running with a succession of boundaries before Richie Barker found something vaguely resembling form.

The stand was worth 81-0 at the halfway point.

Barker reached his half-century and Ward seemed destined to follow before he was out for 49.

Dan Goord came in and unfurled his favourite square cut to unusually good effect as he connected with leather more than fresh air and the pair took the score to 143 before Barker was bowled for 66.

He was sent on his way by a child informing him "Try walking down the pitch and hitting that."

(A couple of hours later the same child tried walking down the pitch to Barker and was stumped. Shame.)

With the launchpad to push on towards 180, Offley instead opted to self-destruct.

Jono Evetts went first ball.

Josh Scott, Offley's leading run scorer in 2023, lasted more than one ball but didn't manage to get off the mark.

Goord played a glorious-looking shot that was marred slightly by the fact he failed to connect and was bowled for 20 to make it 155-5.

And then it really went to shit.

Debutant Shaoib Afzal fell for 7.

Bradley Lyons went for 2, cleaned up by something that might have been a no ball, but, given what lay ahead, certainly should have been. One way or another he was on his way after failing to connect with a full toss.

Shafiq and Jamie Cummins went for an optimistic single that ended with Shaf being run out by about five yards.

Offley went into the final over on 161-8, still hopeful of reaching 170.

A bye from the first ball brought Cummins on strike.

The next four deliveries saw him sustain two blows to his small boy's pads, fail to knock two off the strip before he finally bunted one to short midwicket and ran Darren Lunney out off the final ball.

For some reason Jamie decided it was appropriate to wave his bat to the pavilion as he walked off.

While all this was going on an apoplectic Denton had refused to put on his whites, boots or pads and had strapped on a single pad over work boots and trousers and was counting down the dots as he vented his spleen about the latest ineptitude that had seemed such a strong position disintegrate in a matter of minutes.

In fairness no one could really say he was wrong and 162-9 represented a fairly ignominious effort on the context of what might have been.

Cummins started the reply by overstepping and serving up a juicy full toss into the bargain as the total stood at 5-0 before a ball had technically been bowled.

Jamie was also to contribute seven wides to proceedings, some of which were actually wide.

In fairness to Offley's leading wicket-taker he soon picked up scalp number 17 when he induced a mistimed drive and Lunney held the catch at mid off to make it 18-1.

A 71-run partnership followed where things didn't really go to plan.

Quick singles put Offley's not entirely mobile fielders under pressure and the general mood was not helped when Shafiq's confident appeal for LBW was turned down.

Considering the batsman was not playing a shot and was hit in front of all three, it seemed a fairly decent shout.

Apparently not.

Offley then did their best to fuck things up as the reprieved batsman was missed three times in three balls.

Lunney made a mess of a chance at midd off.

Shafiq confidently settled under a skied return catch and then didn't actually lay a hand on it.

Evetts completed the twat-trick by bungling a stumping as the hosts reached the drinks break only one wicket down.

Shafiq finally earned an LBW decision and it looked like both established batsmen would be back in the pavilion when Barker beat the other in the flight and had him stumped by some distance.

Apparently not.

The poor little child standing at square leg was so cold in the breeze he was unable to take his finger out of his pocket.

Justice was done in the following over when Denton held a well-judged catch at mid on.

It was almost two wickets in three balls but Lyons was unable to reach a chance that bounced off his outstretched finger tips.

Lyons, a byword for enthusiasm in the field, may have Spiderman tattoed on his arm (Good job it's not Batman) but on this occasion his efforts were more reminiscent of the Joker.

However, the game was now moving forward at pace. 

Barker bowled the legside wide merchant with a well-flighted loopy delivery.

Lunney claimed the fifth wicket, a wicket no one wanted, when he hit a slow-moving elderly gentleman on the pad and made the mistake of appealing.

Cummins replaced Lunney and struggled somewhat against the wind as the radar malfunctioned and he gave way to Evetts who had spent the first 30 overs of the innings keeping wicket.

Evetts had provided a constant running commentary that had disappointingly been entirely in English and contained no choice Afrikaans phrases.

Chances continued to come.

A potential catch looped over Denton's head at mid on, floating on the breeze and evading his hands like a coquettish butterfly.

New keeper Goord turned round and round in circles as a top edge went straight up above his head and fell softly to the ground to his right-hand side while he was looking to his left. 

Evetts held a well-judged catch at mid off to give Barker his third wicket before he claimed one for himself via the inside edge.

The eighth wicket arrived when the child was beaten in the flight by Barker (Note to child - you must be fucking shit) but the final over arrived with the hosts needing just four runs to win.

It should have been four to win with one wicket left following a run out but Umpire Reacharound decided not to give it, despite the fact Evetts fielded Lunney's throw and removed the bails.

It's fair to say Offley were not best pleased with this decision but such is life.

Moments later the winning runs arrived - for the opposition. 

Not for Cricket or Offley. 

Cricket and Offley both got fucked.

In the sort of aftermath seen in the final moments at Culloden and Little Bighorn, the stumps were accidentally volleyed over and words were exchanged in a mild difference of opinion but that's the way it goes sometimes.

Unless you're us.

In which case it just happens every fucking week in a perpetually repeating wanky versionm of groundhog day.


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