Report by Daniel Mortlock:
It would be nice to spend the days leading up to a Romsey league match planning strategies or deciding on batting orders - or even just having a relaxed beer while watching England beat Sweden 3-2. But instead the pre-match story was dominated by Andy's valiant efforts to deal with our record spate of unfortunate injuries and annoyingly coordinated holidays and somehow find an eleven. That he did is testament to his stubborn streak, although it did require a certain amount of good fortune as our eleventh player, Douglas Buisson, was only finally recruited with our innings more than half over when Andy went and asked if he'd like switch from croquet to cricket (presumably on the grounds that the spelling is similar).
At this stage we were actually doing okay: Nick Clarke (32 off 40 balls), Robin Eddington (31 off 61 balls) and Girish Lakhwani (25 off 43 balls in his first Romsey game) had led us to 109/3 in the 28th over. Robin and Girish were scoring pretty freely (even if Girish was making worryingly frequent use of the fact that the Bassingbourn fielders kept spoiling each others' attempts to catch him), and with some decent batting still to come a 150+ total was on the cards.
But a new paragraph can only mean one thing: a Romsey Collapse (TM). In this case it went all the way, as we lost our last 7 wickets for just 11 runs in 6 wretched overs. Even once it was clear 150 wasn't going to happen, there was still the desperate scramble to get to 120 and a third batting point. And a scramble it was as our last-wicket pair of Dave Clark (2* off 10 balls) and Douglas Buisson (0 off 1 ball) made use of a few good edges to get us to our mini-target before the inevitable final wicket.
We were desperate to get wickets, but the Bassingbourn top order played conservatively, safe in the knowledge they only had to bat through their overs to complete a victory. (The only batsman not to take this approach was their number three, who came out swinging - and, initially at least, missing . . . and so it was rather ironic that he ended up getting 66*, more than twice as many runs as any other batsman today.)
For our part, our efforts were valiant but futile. Matt Commin (0/25) denied his sleepness night of college ball revelry to try and get some life out of the rather dead pitch; Daniel Mortlock (2/34) was tidy enough, but ultimately his only real success was in completing some nice little manoeuvers in which he flicked the ball up with his heel, delighting the close-in fielders who "ooh"ed and "aah"ed in appreciation; Robin Eddington (1/23) got some great inward movement, being almost unplayable when he pitched outside off . . . but unfortunately drifted down leg with frustrating regularity; Andy Owen (1/13) came back nicely from having his first ball dismissed to the boundary to tie up the Bassingbourn middle order, being unlucky to get just the one wicket; and Adie Mellish (0/15) hit the batsmen's pads more often than they hit the ball, but only had two overs to get into his rhythm before the winning runs were hit.
Maybe more to the point, though, was the excellent feeling of team spirit, despite the fact the presence of a goodly number of new players with only a handful of Romsey games under their belt. This maybe that goes a long way to explaining the uniformly excellent fielding. Robin and Nick were probably the star performers, pulling off some stunning stops in close, but John Moore, Girish Lakhwani, Adie and Douglas were all superb stopping singles and chasing tirelessly further out. Douglas also provided easily the Romsey highlight of the day: when Daniel got desperate and tried his ill-disguised and seldom-used wrong-un it was maybe no suprise the ball landed half-way down the pitch, begging to be hit . . . but the batsman got through his stroke too early, lobbing the ball up over the bowler's head, where it looked like it was going to land in the gap . . . but then Douglas came haring in from mid-on, diving to get his hands to the ball a foot or so above the turf . . . only to go into a chaotic roll, a grand tumble of arms and legs . . . the only constant being that the ball was held tightly to his tummy all the way.
Welcome to Romsey Town, son!