Having woken up to the sight of low grey clouds, it was easy to imagine another cricket-free Saturday. Nonetheless, we all headed southward, past RAF Duxford - Arnie almost losing it at the sight of a Spitfire strutting its stuff over the road - and the distressing pet crematorium (a macabre cross between your local kennels and Auschwitz, with its chimney going all day long), and onto the pretty town of Elmdon. With a little help from the opposition we found our way to the ground and set about actually playing some cricket for the first time since last September.
Despite some tight bowling from Andy Owen (leading by example, as so often, with 1/29) Elmdon's openers rarely looked in trouble early on, and were cruising along at 99/0 by the time drinks were brought onto the field after 20 overs. But then it all went horribly wrong - for Elmdon. Rog Shelley (3/45 - should have been four-for, but for some twit at square leg dropping a fairly simple catch) and Rod Dennis (2/33 with some tidy leg spin on debut for Romsey) not only slowed the scoring, but also instigated something of a collapse. Andy Owen came back on and chimed in with a wicket, Daniel Mortlock chimed in with a lot of wides (one of which was turned into a no ball when it was pointed out that the ball had actually hit the batsmen), and the fielding lifted to the degree that we got four run outs, including one on the last ball of Elmdon's innings to dismiss their last man, thus guaranteeing maximum bowling points, if nothing else.
So we went to tea feeling quite happy with a superb team effort, and the target of 174 seemed well and truly within reach as we munched our cheesy vol-au-vont things. These were the most creative touch in a most enjoyable tea (no corn anywhere to be seen), which must rate an excellent 9/10.
Our innings began at a good pace - more than required - but pretty soon there was a steady flow of wickets as well as runs. Most of the top order got in, but only Andy Owen (35) got beyond 20. The seventh wicket fell with just 94 on the board (in the 27th over), and 174 suddenly looked a long way off. However there was life in the match yet, and Rich Savage (32 not out, with a goodly number of those runs gathered by fantastically aggressive running between wickets) and Daniel Mortlock (28, with a goodly number of those runs gathered by uncultured slogs over mid-on) made up for their bowling by getting the score to 142 - 32 runs needed off five overs. After another mini-collapse it was left to Arnie Garside and Rich to complete a fantastic come-from-behind win . . . but sadly we were bowled out in the last over, 11 short of Elmdon's total.
It was certainly disappointing not to have won, but that we got so close after Elmdon's big opening partnership was a true team effort. And it was an excellent game of cricket, played in a friendly spirit - it's so much more fun to have good shots complimented by team-mates and opposition alike.