A modern fairy tale by Daniel Mortlock:
Once upon a time, in a fen not so far away, there was a cricket club. And that cricket club was called Romsey Town. It was a small, hard-working club that did its best every summer but lost more often than it won. As a result, the cruel rulers of the CCA would retroactively restructure the demotion criteria to ensure that poor Romsey Town always had to play in a lower division each year. But Romsey was a plucky little club, and refused to give in, and this summer tried its little heart out to win promotion back up to Junior 3.
Sadly nothing changed: Romsey lost its first match of the season, in a magical town called Weston Green, and they returned to Cambridge dejectedly looking in the sacred league scrolls to find out if there even was a Junior 5.
But still Romsey wouldn't give up, and seven days and seven nights later embarked on an epic quest to a mysterious place known only as Fenstanton, where the CCA texts said they would find something called Milton III. It was a very scary trip, with lorries flying past the club's little carts on the A14 and everyone getting lost amongst the haunted fields on the St Ives road. We even had to cower in a little hut as the rain came pelting down, the wind howled, and lightning flashed. And even after they started playing cricket the Romsey players had to duck and weave as heavy, hard cricket balls came flying towards them, and some even put helmets on to avoid being hurt! It seemed that Romsey was going to be beaten yet again . . .
. . . but then a funny thing happened. The Romsey batsmen began scoring runs, the bowlers took wickets and, most amazing of all, the fielders held catches. After that first win there was another, and then another, and then another, and then another, and then another, until a week ago, when Romsey had to face up to the might of Weston Colville, the team that had beaten it at the start of the year (and had beaten all the other teams, too). You might think Romsey would have been scared, but not so - the little club that could came out and won again. The next day the players looked to see where their team was on the CCA magic screen, but they couldn't find "Romsey Town" in any of the usual places on the ladder. Then they looked more carefully and eventually realised it was right at the top! The club elders remembered this had actually happened once before, back in the last century, in the year of 1998 AD.
Not that Romsey's tale ends there, for they had yet another battle to fight today, and would have to win against Dullingham, too, if they were to escape their prison in Junior 4. It seemed Romsey would have another long battle on its hands, but then the team's captain, known to all as Andy Owen (for that was his name), took a wicket with his very first ball. And even though he was briefly put under a spell that made him bowl his slower ball, he eventually took 3 precious wickets for just 19 runs. With some help from his trusted leiutenant, Daniel Mortlock (1/16), Dullingham had scored just 28/4 from their first dozen overs. Romsey also had the services of a young heir, Oliver Rex, who in just his second battle tasted his opponent's blood for the first time, thanks to the experienced hands of Winker Watson, who grasped the flying orb as it ducked and weaved in the wind.
It seemed things couldn't get any better, but then the heroic Marcelino Of Gopal took the ball in his hands. At first it seemed the curse that had afflicted him earlier in the season was still upon him, as the ball flew everywhere as if being controlled by evil spirits. But Marcelino was too strong for such magic, and forced one ball through his opponent's defences, breaking the dark spell by scattering the cursed wooden spikes that had been jammed into the ground as a part of an overnight black mass. And suddenly he was unstoppable, quickly defeating three more valiant Dullingham warriors, at the cost of just 11 runs. The other Romsey men were suitably awed by Marcelino's efforts, and one even suggested he could get a fifth scalp, to match his efforts from our previous battle, but he replied that such things "only happen in fairytales". And it seemed he was right to be wary: having exhausted their fighting men, Dullingham then turned to a young child, a potential hero of the future who was clearly schooled in the ways of magic. Whilst his powers have yet to mature, he was still able to use his devious skills to deflect the ball away from his wickets time and time again until, sapped of energy, he could resist no more, giving Marcelino the promised wicket of the number five; Marcelino returned to the pavilion to a hero's welcome, with attendant maidens offering food and drink to replenish his energies.
After that it was the Romsey batsmen's turn to wield the willow wand in pursuit of Dullingham's total. Even though Romsey's victory was all but certain, the opposition fought to the last, forcing three of our hardiest warriors to the sidelines as they refused to admit defeat. Valiant as they were, however, their position was too weak to defend, as Nick Clarke (32 off 41 balls) and Jon Steele (34* off 61 balls) combined to ensure that the victory was ours. Dullingham made one, final attempt to win the game, bringing on their young batsman, possibly in the hope of taking on Marcelino once again; but this is real life, and not one of those silly fairytales used to send children to sleep, and the match was finished without much fuss.
After that victorious battle there was a grand feast of sandwiches and crisps, and cake and tea, and ale. And they all drank happily ever after . . .