Offley & Stopsley 224-7 (Ahmad 2-41), 40 overs beat Lilley 179-9, 40 overs (Scanlan 43) by 45 runs
Lilley slipped to defeat in the first outing under new Captain Mark Scanlan, but the result doesn’t tell the full story of a thoroughly enjoyable afternoons cricket.
Lilley fielded first on a wicket being used for the second time in two weeks on the unsurprisingly docile Offley deck. Scanlan took the opportunity of an early work out to use eight bowlers, rotated throughout the afternoon to get overs in everyone’s legs.
Last year’s gun bowlers, Dan McLaughlin and Khurrum Khan, shared the new ball. Mclaughlin bagged the first wicket of the year when he induced a feather behind off Josh Hook through to keeper captain Scanlan. An Offley rally followed, but Bexfield (49) flicked a Jermaine Hylton full toss flat and hard at fine leg where Stew Collinson took an excellent sharp catch.
Colinson then bagged a wicket himself when St John dragged on to his own stumps.
Offley rallied, but the returning Khan removed dangerous Tattersall (63) and Ahmad bagged two late wickets, one bowled and one well caught by Khan, to restrict Offley to 224-7 off their 40 overs.
Lilley needed a steady start but despite good early progress, Gareth Tompkins (13) carved Hook’s first ball to Tatersall at slip. Khan (4) bottom edged to Hook Junior behind the stumps soon after and when McLaughlin (4) spooned a simple chance to Bexfield, Lilley were staring down the barrel.
Bash (0) was cleaned up soon after, but opener Ashby and Scanlan steadied the ship with a partnership of 59. Ashby (39) managed to toe end a full toss to mid-wicket to rob himself of a half century, soon followed by Collinson (5).
Scanlan’s resistance ended soon after when he was bowled for a fine 43 and Ahmad’s promise was cut short when he was dismissed for 14.
Taz Qureshi (31) provided some real late order impetus, working the strike, running hard and hitting some lusty blows, but it was left for Hylton and Jimmy Rainey to see the innings out, both finishing unbeaten, as Lilley fell 45 runs short of their target.
A good game, treated by Lilley as a workout and treated by Offley as their cup final, as you’d expect. Tattersall’s fifty was marred by his failure to offer anyone from Lilley some of his jug and even Offley stalwart, Darren Lunney, branded his own club ‘a bunch of cheats’.
In short, a moral victory.
On to next Sunday: Cogenhoe at home.