Lilley 141-3, 23.2 overs (Raja Asar 57 not out) beat Offley 136-5, 30 overs by seven wickets
The Mansfield/Towndrow Trophy may have been meekly surrendered by Lilley after two abject displays earlier in the year, but Offley were soundly thumped by their near neighbours in the traditional end of season match at an Autumnal Geoff Banks-Smith Memorial Cricket Ground today.
Offley were nothing short of a shambles from the moment that their talismanic Captain, Matt Freeman, arrived moments before the scheduled start time and announced that he had only managed to muster 7 players for the match. Quite why their leader had chosen to wait until match start time to announce this was beyond the comprehension of most in attendance, but after some negotiation, Lilley player Dave Carman agreed to play for Offley in what would now be an 8 vs 9, 30 over game.
Lilley were in the field first and despite a distinct lack of fielders, Dan McLaughlin and James Ashby kept the run rate respectable, if lacking a breakthrough. Khurrum Khan and Mark Scanlan replaced the pair and it was the former who made the breakthrough, trapping Damien Sale plumb in front for ten. Plumb, that is, had he not middled the ball. But that sort of minutiae of detail was an irrelevance for hapless umpire Freeman, who raised his finger.
Darren Lunney didn’t last long, aiming a swipe at Scanlan and succeeding only in edging the ball behind to stand in ‘keeper Tim Perry without troubling the scorers. Which was probably for the best, as Colin Keeley, having earlier failed to hear or acknowledge five shouts of a change of bowler, was on scorebook duties.
Josh Hook brought up an excellent half century, but was castled by Lilley’s leading wicket taker, Khan, for 51. Bexfield and Keeley set about pushing Offley somewhere near respectability with some meaty blows, but Bexfield could not come to terms with young Lilley debutante Arthur Fyfe-Stoica. Having played him as though he was playing an over from Muralitharan in the dark, he eventually had a wild heave and spooned the ball to Ashby at mid wicket to give the youngster his first wicket.
Tom Smyth clean bowled Keeley with the last ball of the innings, leaving Offley on a light looking 136-5 from their 30 overs.
Ashby and Asar started in unflustered fashion, easing to 41 without loss, before the former was bowled off his box via his glove for 13 by Keeley. Ashley Davis joined Asar and the pair continued apace, Freeman feeding Asar some tasty long hops and Davis looking to be positive from the start, almost killing two people when pulling one flat six.
The introduction of Lilley man Dave Carman into the attack saw the run rate climb, but Offley bag a couple more wickets. Davis (26) was stumped attempting something a bit over ambitious and Khan soon followed, caught, attempting to take Dan McLaughlin’s challenge to hit Carman for six.
McLaughlin himself joined Asar and helped the opener ease Lilley past their target, hitting several boundaries and ugly hacks on the way to an unbeaten 31. Raja Asar got just reward for a fine knock, bringing up his second half century of the season (57 not out), Lilley winning by seven wickets.