Fresh from a week off, we congregated at our home ground, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready for anything the day might throw at us. Which was just as well, as the next six hours saw us endure torrential rain, dropped catches, a soggy pitch, a serious groin injury and, in the end, a major thrashing at the hands of Great Shelford.
Last time we played against this team one P. Mortlock batted us out of the match with a chanceless 137*; today it was an A. Sutton who dominated, scoring an excellent 109. Whilst it was an impressively hard-hitting innings -- two balls were launched into a house on the far side of Wilberforce Road -- it wasn't chanceless: once again we were guilty of putting down the sort of catches our oppenents gleefully accepted later in the afternoon. Not that our bowling was very penetrating: Daniel Mortlock (2/41) made our one early breakthrough, but the real highlight was Dave Clark (1/38) getting his first wicket for the club (and remaining very calm and philosophical when a few edges flew into gaps).
For most of the innings it was pretty torturous in the field, albeit in a metaphorical sense . . . although it was literally true for Tony, who pulled up with a serious groin injury after chasing yet another big hit. This led to the day's most shambolic moment, when one shot stopped near Tony, but unable to move he waited in vain for one of two other nearby fielders to retrieve the ball . . . which they eventually did, but not until the batsmen had ambled an easy extra run.
We made a comeback in the last few overs (after a rain break that was long enough that we had an early tea), the highlights being two rather interesting run outs. In the first Daniel picked up the ball in the outfield, saw the striker's end batsmen stranded half-way down the pitch, ignored Ev Fox's call of ``Bowlers' end!'', hurled in a fast but off-target throw, and then watched as Ev completed a magnificent gather and dive to break the stumps just in time. The other run out was, in principle, simpler: the batsmen smashed the ball back to the bowler, Russell Woolf, leaving the non-striker miles out of his ground and struggling to turn around on the wet turf. Russ appeared to keep his head, heading back to the stumps to flick the bails off . . . but then the excitement of the situation got to him and some inner, primeval urge (possibly harking back countless generations to the dawn of mankind) took hold of him and, just when he was within reach of his objective, he decided to hurl the ball the last few feet with all of his not inconsiderable might. For a split second it seemed that a certain run out would turn into four (or possibly six) overthrows, but Russ's aim was true and it was congratulations all 'round (though the crazed look in his eyes persisted for some time).
With tea already out of the way the change of innings should have been a fairly simple affair, but unfortunately the various sections of the two scorebooks showed Great Shelford's total as 224, 225, 228, 230, 232 and 234. In the end the opposition agreed on the lowest of the totals, risking all sorts of mayhem if the game got close . . .
. . . although it turned out to be rather unimportant, our innings never really getting going. Ev Fox (37) and Romsey first-timer Roy Page (28) made the best contributions and, with some help from Daniel Mortlock and Rod Dennis (both 14), took us to a reasonably healthy score of 117/2 after 29 overs. The only problem was that this meant we needed almost ten an over; what we got was an even better Romsey Collapse (TM) than we managed on the way to 89 all out a few weeks ago. Today we lost 6 wickets for 11 runs and, combined with being one player short, were thus forced to call on the hobbling Mr Desimone to pursue maximum batting points. At least Tony, with Andy running for him, and Russ (both 11*) ensured that we did end the match on something of a high note: we made it to 150 and maxmimum batting points without further loss, flaunting our success by ``declaring'' with almost two overs remaining. A bizarre way to end a limited overs game, but in terms of the CCA league it was a sadly mundane end result: Great Shelford 20; Romsey Town 8.