What a crap day, from beginning to end. In the middle of a week of rain the weather cleared up just enough for us to put in a poor performance against a rather jammy one by Little Shelford (i.e. just about the same as last time we played them), before pissing it down for most of Saturday night. The Emmanuel groundsman even gave us the option of calling the game off, and although playing was clearly the right decision, it would be tempting to have spent Saturday afternoon watching TV given the time over.
Things did start okay, sort of, with the Shelford openers being held in check, but the fall of the first wicket brought in the Asian batsman with an amazing eye (but no technique), who hammered 68 off us in the first match of the season. He did basically the same today, taking the score from 46/1 in the 14th over to 176/3 after 31 overs, and taking the game beyond our reach with his own bat. All the bowlers suffered, with Andy Owen (1/51), Daniel Mortlock (1/50), Nigel Arnold (1/37) and Alfie Wilmshurst (0/64) all recording their worst figures of the season. At least some of the wickets were memorable: Daniel bowled the opener with a googly in the middle of a "fast" spell and Andy bowled the Asian guy off his pads - first time he'd been dismissed on the Emmanuel pitch in ten innings, apparently. Then Paul Henderson effected a stunning run out from square leg, diving to stop the ball and flinging it successfully at the one stump on offer. This, however, was not representative of the team's performance in the field, with half a dozen dropped catches, several chances that the fielders should have reached but didn't, and many more again that were just out of reach. We did come back a bit at the end, Paul Henderson (2/15) even being on a hat-trick at one stage. With a little more luck we might have been facing a target of 170 or so; as it was we conceded 223 runs, comfortably more than any other game this season.
Tea was tea: same old, same old. It gets whatever marks the last Emmanuel tea got . . .
From one horror to another we headed out in the hope of chasing a serious target and promptly lost lots of wickets. Again. The best performance in the top order was Phil Marshall's 19, but that just means another start without "going on with it" And at 55/4 we really needed someone to do that. Thus Andy came in and, having given up on winning the game, set about getting some batting points. After a lot of blocking he eventually accelerated, ending up on 42*, and he almost guided us to maximum batting points with support from Paul Henderson (12), Nigel Arnold (13) and Malcolm Creek (10). But the fact that scores in the teens are being highlighted teens speaks volumes for the innings -- clearly we weren't going to overhaul Little Shelford, but once the track got wet from the light rain it was a struggle just to stay in.
And of course half an hour after our forty overs were up the sky opened and the ground was under water in minutes. If the rain had come earlier promotion would still have been in our own hands; as it is we'll just have to win the last few matches and hope a few other results go our way. But at least we've got a week off to regroup before the last three games of the season.