Six-a-side tournament

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Fitzwilliam College

The charity six-a-side tournament that was started in late May finally concluded today, even if it wasn't exactly finished in the technical sense of the word. Coming into this second half of the tournament all five teams had played two of their four scheduled league games, with Granta undefeated, all of NCI, Remnants and defending champions Romsey on one win, and The St Radegund yet to open their account. Tonight's results were:

  1. NCI (75/2; 5 points) defeated The St Radegund (48/0; 1 point) by 27 runs.
  2. Romsey Town (121/1; 5 points) defeated Remnants (110/2; 1 point) by 11 runs.
  3. The St Radegund (30 all out; 1 point) lost to Cambridge Granta (31/2; 5 points) by 3 wickets.
  4. NCI (92/1; 5 points) defeated Remnants (53/2; 1 point) by 39 runs.
  5. Romsey Town 91/2 (5 points) defeated Cambridge Granta 70/1 (1 point) by 21 runs.

That left the final league table as:

Team Played Won Tied Lost Points
Cambridge Granta 4 3 0 1 16
Romsey Town 4 3 0 1 16
NCI 4 3 0 1 16
Remnants 4 1 0 3 8
The St Radegund 4 0 0 4 4

They may have come fourth, but Remnants is the only team anybody thought to photograph. From left: Adrian Mellish, Ben Armitage, Richard Rex (of Team Rex fame from last year), Oliver Rex and Mike Jones. Don't mess.

This presented a number of difficulties. Firstly, the three tied teams somehow had to be whittled down to two to play the final; however the outside world solved this as most of the NCI players had left by this stage. The second problem was even more fundamental: it was way too dark to play any more cricket (and, indeed, Granta's effort in trying to chase Romsey's total in these conditions was heroic). So it was decided we'd have a bowl-off, cricket's version of a penalty shoot-out. (In this way the six-a-side tournament was only following the precedent set by last year's two World Cups, combining the bowl-off between Pakistan and India in the Twenty/20 league games with the absurdity of cricket in the dark that gave the Australia vs. Sri Lanka final of the 50-over tournamnet such a satisfying conclusion.) With both sides bowling two overs each Granta looked to have won when they were still 3-1 ahead with only two Romsey bowlers still to come; however they both came through, taking the non-final to sudden death. At which point the Granta bowler missed, the Romsey bowler hit (completing a team hat-trick) and so Romsey Town had defended its title in near total darkness.

Much like the Beijing Olympics, the success of the six-a-side tournament rested on the peerless organisation . . .

. . . and ample supplies of beer.

It might have been an absurd way to finish the day, but six-a-side cricket has never been known for its calm sensibility. This was demonstrated by such madnesses as a 14-ball over that cost 45 runs and an innings total of 121/1 off 30 deliveries sandwiching a disastrous 30 all out that went within 3 deliveries of being succesffully defended. In between there was some of the best hitting and worst running you could ever hope to see (or at least hear, by the end).

And besides, the primary purpose of the day was to raise money for charity, the GBP 460 raised over the two days being split between Diabetes UK Huntingdonshire, who received GBP 260, and MacMillan Cancer Support, who received the remaining GBP 200. Representatives from the latter organisation had come along in person, which was most appreciated (although lord only knows what they made of goings on) and both Diabetes UK and MacMillan sent letters of thanks indicating that these donations will be put to good use. Romsey captain Andy Owen presented the cheques before just about avoiding presenting himself with the tournament trophy; after that it was time for the little pink, orange or blue tickets for the traditional raffle. The prizes for this were, as ever, donated by local businesses, and indeed the whole day only worked due to the tireless efforts of many generous people:

Dave Norman, Roger Shelley and Malcolm Creek, Stumps & Studs, Hilary's Wholesale , Andrew Northrop Butchers V.B. Trophies, Hobbs Sports, Green's Health And Fitness, David & Rachel Hair, Mickey Flynn's American Pool Hall, Yasrab Newsagent, Halls Of Cambridge, Kailash, Cutlacks, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Cambridge Building Society, and all the participating teams and their supporters.

Andy Owen presents a cheque for GBP 200.00 to a representative from Diabetes UK Huntingdonshire.