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The Hateful Eight.... Plus Bradders

 OSCC, 81 all out, lost to Chipperfield Clarendon, 83-0, by 10 wickets


There are a few sports you can attempt with eight. 

Rowing.

Sevens rugby, complete with a substitute.

Something called korfball.

Cricket is not one of them.

Yet Offley travelled to Chipperfield with eight players. 

At one point nine had been scheduled to make the trip but unfortunately Bradley Lyons remembered the night before that the game clashed with his daughter's birthday.

While Offley's purpose for playing the game was to avoid the £150 fine that would have been imposed on them by higher authority, their target for the game was to emerge with honour and pride intact and at least one point.

Anyone who featured in the Broxbourne Massacre a few years ago when we walked off with absolutely fuck all to show for, our admittedly woeful, efforts will appreciate the importance of that solitary point.

On a huge arena with a rutted outfield that conjured up frightening memories of Crawley Green at its worst, stand-in captain Richie Barker won the toss and opted to bat rather than watching an understrength bowling side concede somewhere in the region of 400.

Scott Boatwright and Dan Goord opened the batting and resolved to take their time and soak up the pressure.

This was a partnership of contrasts - the slim, almost diminutive Goord compared to the slightly corpulent Boatwright.

In the scorebook Roger Piepenstock attempted to explain the subtle nuances in their game to the opposition scorer, waxing lyrically about their stances and physiques and how you could identify who was who by the technical differences.

He could simply have done this by pointing out that Boaty is left-handed and Dan is right-handed....

Goord had made a pleasant 6 before attempting to throw the pressure back on the bowlers in the third over by launching a booming drive over mid off. 

When Dan slashes outside off stump he invariably connects with nothing but fresh air and no harm is done.

When he launches ambitious drives at in-swingers he invariably gets cleaned up, as was the case on this occasion.

Darren Lunney joined Boatwright and they added 17 runs for the second wicket before Lunney played down the wrong line and was bowled.

Boatwright was joined by Barker and the pair carried Offley safely past the lowest total in club history.

Coming off a slightly disappointing campaign in 2023 when he finished 24th in the club averages and averaged almost half as many as his great friend and nemesis, Matty Taylor, Boaty has pledged to take his game to new heights in 2024.

Boatwright was playing some lovely drives, invariably hitting them straight to fielders but confidently negotiated his first 36 deliveries before pushing tentatively at the 37th and losing his leg stump after making a gritty 18.

Piepenstock marched to the crease and helped Barker added 17 for the fourth wicket. 

If Piepenstock's contribution to this partnership was statistically minimal and featured more full length dives and tumbles on the pitch (3) than runs (0), his willingness to look for quick singles while not backing up should not be overlooked. 

Piepenstock had narrowly failed to run himself out twice before the expert lent a hand as Barker's Barbecue opened for business for 2024 when a tight but reasonable call for a single ended with a diving Piepenstock narrowly short of his ground and Offley on the rocks on 55-4.

Considering that Offley only had seven precious wickets at their disposal, it could be argued that the captain lobbing one of them on to the bonfire was not exactly the best use of those resources.

As somebody once said, war is hell.

Piepenstock marched off without a word; without a word that is, until he crossed the boundary and unleashed a word that frankly few thought he possessed in his vocabulary.

Danny O'Brien lived up to his nickname of Danny Trees by resisting like a mighty oak for 22 deliveries before he was bowled to leave Offley 65-5 and still 15 runs short of a batting point.

Cummins was determined to come to the party and played some impressive attacking shots and helped Offley reach the Promised Land of 80 before he fenced at one outside off stump and was caught behind.

The innings ended moments later when Wayne Cutts was bowled by one of the best balls of the day, pitching middle and clipping the top of off as Offley were all out for 81 from 33 overs.

At the other end Barker remained unbeaten on 30 from just 84 deliveries, an innings that was arguably even more tedious to play than it was to watch.

At the interval Offley's hopes of defending their score did not seem particularly high. However, their spirits - if not their actual prospects - were given a boost by the arrival of Bradley Lyons on a desperate mercy mission. 

Fuelled by birthday cake and enthusiasm, Bradders demonstrated true commitment to the cause and a desperate desire not to be invovled with cleaning up after his daughter's party by speeding over to Chipperfield to do his bit in the field.

The new ball pairing of Cummins and Piepenstock needed to strike quickly if Offley were to have any chance. After two balls those chances seemed to dwindle somewhat as the ball was thrown to Cutts who stamped on it, instantly scuffing up one side.

Sadly the chances did not come.

The boundaries did.

While it's fair to say the bowlers did not perform at their best, they were not exactly helped by a fielding unit that were somewhat responsible for conceding 14 boundaries in 69 deliveries.

Piepenstock attempted to stop a straight drive off his own bowling by stamping on it and driving it through to Australia.

The captain hardly led by example as his attempt to stop a thunderbolt at cover was vaguely reminiscent of a slightly camp matador with a nifty little sidestep and a delicate flick of the wrist that allowed the ball to disappear towards the undergrowth.

Bradders offered a passable impression of the invisible man by matrixing out of the way at mid off. In fairness he dived heroically to stop the next one.

Danny O'Brien lived up to his nickname of Danny Trees by standing like a might oak as the ball sped past him.

Cummins attempted to stop one by diving full length in the wrong direction.

Those last three incidents happened in the space of four deliveries from Cutts as the game galloped towards its inevitable conclusion.

Yet even on the brink of defeat the battered unit still showed passion. 

Cummins lumbered after a ball to the boundary, narrowly failing to cut it off but demonstrated his commitment to the cause by kicking a bin in frustration.

Lunney repeatedly put his body on the line, racking up more bruises than runs as his determination and imperviousness to pain and suffering ensured the game lasted more than ten overs.

Goord dived full length in a vain attempt to stop one at backward point, ignoring the pain of his various wounds to send down the best over of the day, one that cost a mere single.

Barker threw himself to his left in the one-man slip cordon to get a solitary fingertip to the one edge Cummins produced in the entire match and saved a boundary. Admittedly the bowler had a slightly different take on this.

As it was by 5.30 we were in the bar with a beer. 

Honour had been salvaged, a point had been picked up and the threat of the £150 fine had been avoided.

Could have been worse...

Comments

  1. Genius as always

    ReplyDelete
  2. Played you boys last year, still read these match reports. Unreal, can’t wait for report when the win comes through

    ReplyDelete

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