After three consecutive wash-outs, everyone was dead keen just to get out on the pitch and play some cricket. Whilst it certainly appeared there was a sunny day in store for us, we weren't quite prepared for the "blistering" 32 deg maximum that had most of Cambridge coming to a stand-still. And of course luck would have it that we were out at Girton College's pavilion-free ground with no escape from the heat. At any rate we were fired up for a big game, having narrowly lost to Elmdon in our first completed game of the season, and needing to win today to have a chance of overhauling them in the race for promotion to Division 2.
Things went from hot to hotter when we lost the toss and were asked to field. There was nothing in the pitch, the outfield was lightning fast, and drinks were a long 20 overs away. However the Elmdon openers never got going in the way we expected, and we went to drinks reasonably pleased to have the scoreboard showing 69/2. This was mainly down to the tight line bowled by Andy Owen (an eventaul 0/57 after coming back on in the later overs), Daniel Mortlock (2/23) and Neal Baker (2/33, including the prize wicket of Elmdon's senior opener, brilliantly caught by Andy for 47). Things got a bit more exciting after the break, with the batsmen starting to open their shoulders and Rog Shelley nabbing 4/47 (could have been 5-for if a close LBW decision had been given) in the second half of the innings. Not that such success seemed too likely when his first over consisted of seven full-tosses, even if the last one gained the first of his bag of wickets. In the end we restricted Elmdon to 169 on what we thought was a 200+ wicket (240 was their captain's rather optimistic assessment) and so went to tea as chuffed as we were sweaty.
Tea, provided by Denise Owen in trying conditions, was superior to our usual homeground fare -- there were no "sweetcorn treats" despite Mr Desimone's assurances they had been provided specially -- and the tea, in particular, hit the spot. A solid 8/10.
By the time we went into bat the temperature had cooled somewhat, the ball was softer and the field somewhat damper. This made for a different, slower, game and Elmdon, in part due to the absence of some of their regular players, exploited this to the full by opening with the slower of their two off-spinners. By the end of his first over he had enviable figures of 2/0; by the end of his seven-over opening spell this had become 4/17, and we were in deep shit at 30/4. Nigel Arnold's careful 10 was the dominant contribution to this score (followed closely by wides) but Andy Owen (32 in the sort of situation in which he revels) and Rod Dennis (24) got things back on an even keel, compiling a 51-run partnership before they were separated. At the 30-over mark the match was pretty even: we needed exactly a run-a-ball and had 4 wickets left, with both Andy and Pete Cornwell (26*) batting well. Alas there was another collapse, and Arnie Garside (5) was last out going for what was by then an impossible win.
So, a 0-2 result against Elmdon, which is at the very least annoying as they are clearly a side that we could beat. However on the two days in question they played better cricket -- essentially batting more steadily -- and so came away with 40 points (in total) to our 18. Looking at the broader picture, this means that they'll almost certainly come 2nd to Cokenach, and will thus progress up to Division 2. We would require a miracle on the scale of the resurrection to do the same.