The 2008 season

After being relegated to the Cambridgeshire Cricket Association Junior 3 League last year, our main mission this year was to win most of our fixtures and secure promotion back up to Junior 2. By the half-way point of the season it was pretty clear that we weren't going to win the league, but then the harsh reality began to dawn that we were, once again, going to have to fight tooth and nail to avoid being relegated even lower. Our final league average of 11.00 points put us closer to second place (Longstowe on 15.12 points) than to last place (Cambridge Jesters on 6.08 points), but such was the mid-table congestion that we finished up eighth of nine and so have almost certainly been relegated for the second year in a row. We'd needed to win either one of our last two matches to be safe, and went as close as possible without actually managing it -- somehow we contrived to tie both games as we twice went within a run of successfully defending sub-par totals.

And that really was the story of the season: we batted hopelessly, averaging a measly 135 per innings and only once getting to 160. The averages tell the story pretty well, with Roy Page making our only half-century (52 against Cambourne) and only Rod Dennis (173 runs at 21.62) and Andy Owen (161 runs at 20.12) scoring over 100 runs at an average of 20+ for the season. That left Daniel Mortlock (86 runs at 28.67, with lots of lower order not outs) to sneak in under radar and snaffle the batting award. Daniel, with 12 wickets at 16.75, also got the bowling award (the first time someone's won both since Agha Khan in 1991), although any of Paul Jordan (9 wickets at 13.33 but 10 overs short of qualification), Russell Woolf (16 wickets at 17.62), Marcelino Gopal (15 wickets at 19.07) or Tom Jordan (19 wickets at 20.37) would have been deserving winners. Amongst other things this illustrates just how well we bowled, as our attack was both economical and penetrative throughout the season. On the first point Daniel and Marcelino were the stars, conceding just 2.97 and 3.04 runs an over, respectively, although the wickets came mostly from Russell (five consecutive three-fors at the start of the season) and the Jordans, Paul destroying Cambridge Jesters with 6/34 (the second best Romsey bowling on record) and Tom almost scripting miracle wins with 5/40 against Cottenham and 4/37 against Comberton. The fielding was also pretty good throughout the year, with great spirit and tireless running, and top 'keeping from prodigal son Ev Fox (during his visit back here in July) and, otherwise, Andy Owen (who took 8 catches and made 5 stumpings).

Aside from the bowling and fielding, our other main success this year was defending our title in the six-a-side tournament, which we won again, albeit in a rather unsatisfactory midnight bowl-off. Maybe more to the point, though, we batted brilliantly throughout the two days, smashing runs seemingly at will. Sure, it's a bit easier when there are only four fielders, but if we can just relax and play some big early innings then surely we'll be able to post some decent totals in Junior 4 next year . . .