The Wizards were forced to turn to youth in order to field a full eleven this week, with 40 yr old Milo being the youngest player to make his debut since 39 year old Didier Hamann made his against Ladybridge.
As the game started both teams were short, # took to the field for Offerton until they had eleven and Betty umpired until someone who knew the rules turned up. It would appear Betty and the opening bowler are involved in separate middle eastern betting syndicates as he missed the first four no-balls before eventually calling one that involved a bowler taking more paces in front of the crease than there were in his run up.
Ledge (1 ) was the first wicket to fall, opening in place of Admin who had now turned his attention to the third team following some creditable performances (as publicised inappropriately through the Wizards’ twitter feed). The ship was steadied by a solid start from the youngster with 22 and successive retirements from DJ (31) and Mants (30) and a rapid 9 from Larry pushed the Wizards towards a big total.
The total could have been bigger, if Mants hadn’t decided to ensure we only had 19 overs to score from – padding back the 14th over as a maiden – and #(8) and Drone(5 n.o.) deciding that you are not allowed to hit boundaries in the last four overs. # decided Unit should get use his new bat so ran himself out on the penultimate ball to allow Unit to make 2n.o.
The Offerton response was slow but Wizards had a depleted bowling attack and when Betty (0-3 ) injured himself in his first over there was concern about where the other three may come from.
Cable-Tie (0-5) opened with a very good spell, had a good LBW appeal turned down, saw # miss a catch by showing his timing with jumps is as bad as Drone with his jokes, and also he dropped a simple caught and bowled chance as the ball was dollied back to him.
DJ took over from Betty bowling his four overs straight through and got the prize wicket with a good catch by our outstanding skipper for the evening and finished with a creditable 2-16 which included an LBW that upset the batsman somewhat . After 9 overs the run rate was up near 12 an over and Archie saw his first over go for 12 and then Ledge(0-5) bowled a ten ball over that tested the umpires knowledge of wides, how many bounces make a no ball and how high can slow bowler legitimately bowl a full-toss. Fortunately the umpire was not clear otherwise we may still be playing.
Worries that Offerton were about to make a charge were confirmed when the first ball of the next over from Archie was hit flat and exceptionally hard in the direction of the car park. As everyone looked on waiting for the inevitable 6 and collision with Unit’s carefully parked tank, DJ hung-out his hands and casually took a memorable catch.
The skipper was good with the ball too (1-12), his most important contribution being saving the life of the umpire when the ball was hit hard and straight back at him. Questions have to be asked about Schettino’s place next week after such a strong performance by Larry, who only moved three fielders all night – so that is 117 less changes than a usual Schettino innings and a finish 30mins earlier than ever before – which was good news as we had to use the single shower in batting order, Ledge lasting longer in the shower than he did in the middle.
There was still time for Drone to take a stumping off Archie who finished with 2-22 – which could have been worse when he blasted to the boundary only to see the ball plug in a wet patch four foot from the rope; incredible after the three hottest day of the year.
Wizards bowling problems were solved by # who bowled two tight overs, picking up a wicket with his quick reverse swinging Yorker that clean bowled a quality batsman before finishing with 1-6 off his two overs and leaving Offerton 75-6 and Wizards with one of their biggest wins ever.
The win could be down to the strangest of team talks at the half way point by Drone on the finer point of a high court ruling, the captaincy of Larry, but certainly not down to Ledge’s batting or bowling.
Supper was excellent (leaving the plastic cutlery aside) curry with rice and chips, with a desert and cream. True Offerton sophistication.
A win at Poynton next week could secure a play-off place and a solid performance leaves the skipper with a major selection problem.