Squad Romsey (well, most of it) assembled at Andy's house at 1pm and then moved out in a four-vehicle convoy with military precision. That state of affairs lasted for all of about a mile, at which point the lead vehicles headed off towards Fulbourn, whereas the two back-markers made an unscheduled visit to, er, the Addenbrookes Hospital carpark. That wouldn't have been too bad but for the fact that the only map in in either of the trailing cars was so crap that Weston Colville wasn't actually on it, which led to some essentially random wanderings in the hope of seeing a signpost to our destination. Ironically the convoy was reunited when the stragglers entered Weston Colville only to find the rest of Romsey Town coming the other way -- everyone was in the same boat now, having found the town but not the cricket ground. On the one hand this was a bit lame, as the ground was actually explicitly signposted, and clearly a local focal point; on the other hand it was entirely understandable, as the ground isn't actually in Weston Colville at all, but down the road in Weston Green.
Once there, though, it was business as usual, winning the toss and heading out into the baking heat to -- hopefully -- restrict the opposition to an eminently chaseable total. Which didn't seem particularly likely when, having got away with an annoying number of edges, Weston Colville's third wicket pair had taken them to 106/2 after 28 overs.
A target of 200-odd was on the cards until Marcelino Gopal (3/28) finished off his spell with a double-wicket maiden. And from there we induced, rather than suffered, a Romsey Collapse (TM) as we took Weston Colville's last 8 wickets for 43 runs in 9 rather enjoyable overs. Andy Owen (3/16) and Tom Jordan (2/28) were the chief architects of the mayhem, although they received some pretty good assistance from Jon Steele (two good catches, one of which came when, at second slip, he dived to pick up a deflecition from Arnie Garside at first slip), Rod Dennis and Andy Owen (both of whom kept their nerve under spinning skiers), and Roy Page (who stumped the most threatening of the opposition batsmen). The more prosaic ground-fielding was also pretty good throughout, with James Wood, Dave Clark and Russell Woolf all making plenty of sharp stops, and there was a sense of having participated in a top team performance as we headed off for tea.
Our pursuit of Weston Colville's mediocre total proceeded pretty smoothly for the most part, with Roy Page (27 off 37 balls), Jon Steele (25 off 39 balls), Marcelino Gopal (39 off 41 balls), and Rod Dennis (26 off 28 balls) taking us to 73/2 and then 134/4. And now the luck was very much with us: lots of lofted shots and edges fell into the gaps (or were dropped); Weston Colville's opening bowler turned his ankle in his second over and played no further part in the game; and two other fielders had to leave to get to social engagements. By this stage Marcelino and Rod were having a great time of it, making great use of the big spaces in the field and seemingly in total control. With 16 needed off 12 overs and 6 wickets in hand, completing the win was surely a mere formality . . .
. . . until Colville brought strike bowler Edwards back for one last throw of the dice. And within three balls he'd dismissed both Marcelino and Rod (albeit to somewhat ill-advised slogs) and, with another wicket falling an over later, today's sun-drenched dream was rapidly turning into an early-evening nightmare. We still needed 7 runs but now had just 3 wickets in hand, and Colville had suddenly come alive, not least through the efforts of one of their substitutes, who came along in the role of "boyfriend of the sister of the team captain" and instead found himself auditioning for "all-action hero" by taking a superb over-the-shoulder catch (despite never having played cricket before). The bowlers also played their part by offering nothing loose, beating the outside edge more than once, and hitting the pads two or three times. But, in the end, James Wood (10* off 5 balls) and Daniel Mortlock (2* off 10 balls) held firm, James finishing the game in style by smacking a ball off middle-stump straight back over the bowler's head for four.
Phew! Our third victory of the year called for a drink, and most of the team (and some unexpected supporters, including John Gull, his best mate, and their hair-bands) headed off to the local for some cleansing ales and some very badly played games of Connect 4. Today's win also means that we're still (just) in with a chance of avoiding relegation, although we'll probably have to win at least three of our four remaining games to stay up in Junior 2 for another year.