Last year we had New Romsey, the first-batting, all-scoring, all-winning wonder team that actually beat good sides with regularity. Today, for our pre-league warm-up against Remnants, it was New-Look Romsey: of the ten players who actually turned up, only three (captain Andy Owen, Arnie Garside and Russell Woolf) had ever played a Saturday game for the club. The rest of the team consisted of new players from nets (Jon Steele, Fahim Mirza and Tareq Of The Unknown Surname), a few conscripted Remnants fill-ins (Jim Higginson and Faruk Kara) and, last but clearly not least, Fitzwilliam groundsman and super-ringer Dave Norman.
Remnants batted first and got off to a great start -- when the score had reached 60/1 after 5 (eight-ball) overs the game was slipping away. It was at this point that our new recruits proved their worth, Fahim Mirza getting 1/8 with his ultra-quick offies (as well as pouching a sharp catch) and Jon Steele almost unplayable on his way to 3/12. By the time Arnie Garside had chipped in with 2/5 (thus showing that the regulars could turn it on as well) we'd restricted Remnants to a chaseable 108/8 from their 13 overs.
Sadly, that total was looking rather daunting by the time we'd collapsed (quel surprise) to 31/4 after 7 overs. With 79 needed off 48 balls there was only one thing for it, and so Dave Norman came to the crease and set about single-handedly winning the match. At first it seemed nothing too eventful was on the cards, as he quietly played himself in (in part to ensure he didn't foolishly get out to one-time Romsey man and now Dave's Granta teammate Joe White). Remnants wilted under his sustained assault and, with 9 needed off three balls and Dave on strike, we were probably winning. There was one more big swing of the bat, but it was dark and a full toss was a bit of a surprise . . . and so Dave's innings (of 63 from about 40 balls, with 7 fours and 2 sixes) came to an end -- and so did our heroic chase. (Well, I use the word ``our'' in the loosest possible terms -- nobody else made more than 7.)
Still, the main thing was that the weather was glorious, we got a bit of a run-around, and the bar stayed open long enough to watch the Champions' League semi-final all the way through to the penalty shoot-out.