At the start of the season the general plan was to take Junior 3 by storm, securing promotion back to division 2 almost in passing, probably winning the League, and maybe even going through undefeated. The indications were good enough initially, as we beat Cambridge Jesters by 4 wickets, but since then a sequence of losses and cancellations have forced a bit of a rethink, to such a degree that we found ourselves in a potential relegation play-off with Comberton today. And while they were going into the match with an even worse win-loss record than ours, they did at least have eleven players, whereas we had to take to the field with just the ten men.
And of course taking to the field was exactly how we started the match, looking to restrict Comberton's top order, and maybe even take a few wickets. Marcelino Gopal (2/43), Rog Shelley (1/43) Tom Jordan (1/43) and Andy Owen (0/52, deciding to break the 43 trend) all caused their fair share of trouble, being desperately unlucky at times, but we struggled for penetration. Our prime torturer was Comberton's left-handed opener, who grafted his way to hard-earned century, and Comberton ended up scoring at more than a run a ball for their 40 overs.
Scoring at that rate was certainly going to require considerably more impressive batting than the season's previous efforts, which have yielded a highest total of just 153 all out. And we actually started off like we were going to give it a real crack, Tom Jordan (33) and Dave Williams (26 in his first Romsey game) taking us to 67/0 after 20 overs. The only problem was that, where this would have been a great platform from which to push towards 200 batting first, in the context of chasing 247 it left us needing 9 an over for the rest of the innings. Still, there was hope if Tom or Dave (given his twenty-over form was good enough to top the Remnants batting averages last year) could match the efforts of Comberton's opener.
In short: they couldn't -- both were dismissed shortly after the drinks break, after which the rest of us followed suit. Marcelino Gopal (who smashed 14 off a few balls before being unluckily bowled off his pads from a ball that had already bounced twice), Andy Owen (12*) and Rod Dennis (11, highlighted by a superb cut that was the shot of the day) put up the sternest resistence, but it was one-way traffic as we lost 55/9 in 15 fairly depressing overs. In the end we only made it past 120 (i.e., 3 batting points) thanks to the heroic efforts of Rog Shelley, who hobbled the critical run having been incapacitated early by an errant throw.
So that was that: the year's heaviest loss and membership of the relegation club. Presumably promotion is just about mathematically impossible now, but surely we can at least get our name shaded in white in the league table