Report by Daniel Mortlock:
MISSING PARAGRAPH ABOUT OLLY REX'S 5/46.
couldn't, and they manage to eke their way to respectability. Darren Wood (2/32) and Andy Owen (2/17) both got a couple more wickets, but the last three partnerships added 51 vital runs to the total. We did end up dismissing Fen Ditton with an over to go when Daniel combined a diving boundary-line stop with a decent throw and Roy completed an easy run out, but we'd let our opposition off the hook somewhat.
Still, as Rod Dennis and Nick Clarke headed out to begin our pursuit, it was clear that we were winning. And while it was hard going, both Rod (21 off 60 balls) and Nick (18 off 33 balls) dug in and kept us in the hunt. But the Fen Ditton bowlers made excellent use of the increasingly erratic pitch and soon we were in real trouble at 48/5 after 21 overs.
Daniel Mortlock (18 off 51 balls) and Olly Rex (31 off 26 balls) then mounted something of a comeback - although really it was all Olly's doing, with Daniel's main contribution was the belated removal of his jumper an hour before the end of the seaosn. Olly seemed to be heading both for his second match-winning innings of the year and, if he could have made it to 69 undefeated, then the batting award as well. But when he was out caught on the boundary that was the end of his personal charge - but, far more importantly, our innings stalled again. And when Daniel and Andy Owen (5 off 13 balls) promptly followed him back to the hutch, it would have been all too easy to have assumed that our charge had ended - certainly the Fen Ditton fielders' celebratory whooping and hollering with each wicket suggested they thought they'd all but won. But that would have been to massively underestimate Adrian Mellish (20 off 21 balls), who went beserk, smashing a succession of nipple-high full tosses to the short leg-side boundary, one of which was his first ever six. Notwithstanding some rather unedifying debates about "high full toss" no-balls (which, at the time of writing, are only to be called for slow bowlers if above shoulder height, according to Law 42.6 (b) (ii)), we were clearly still in with a chance with 28 needed from 18 balls and 2 wickets in hand. But a couple more good catches - surely the best two-team catching performance we've ever been involved in - and we were all out 16 runs short of our target.
For Fen Ditton it was Champagne all-round as they celebrated their deserved league victory, although it's clear from their match report that they knew how close they'd come to losing (which would have allowed Harlton to percolate to the top of the table). For us it was the consolation of having pushed the eventual premiers all the way - and the small matter of having avoided the relegation zone (although it turned out NCI lost anyway, so in the end our league average of 10.81 was comfortably above their average of 9.67). That's not to say, however, that we've avoided relegation, as we've ended up with the lowest league average of the three third-last teams at our level: Burwell III finished on 11.14 in Junior 3A; and Sawston III ended up with 11.20 in Junior 3C. So if there's any league restructuring then we'd probably get the chop before either of those teams - fingers crossed that the CCA maintains its basic structure for 2012.
As for Team Romsey (which today included a support crew of Nicky and Russ, as well as the eleven on the field), we kind of all just headed home - most everyone seemed to have something on. Technically, the biggest post-match concentration of Romsey players was at Chateau Rex, where all six sons were at home together for the first time in living memory (but they surely had topics of conversation other than the season's cricketing highlights). So, in the end, the closest thing to any sort of post-season outing was Andy and Daniel having a pint at The Devonshire Arms as they had a grumble in the manner of the two crotchety old men in The Muppets . . .