Report by Daniel Mortlock:
The Romsey league season got underway on a rather sober note, as we joined Burrough Green in a minute's silence for their club president (and well-known horse racing figure) Julian Wilson, who had died a fortnight earlier. Julian clearly meant a lot to a great many people, although the most touching story told today was how he led the fight to ensure that Burrough Green cricket wasn't curtailed by a relatively new resident who'd become rather protective of their recent extension.
Julian would, presumably, have been most pleased at the way his team began their season, as both Burrough Green opening bowlers started off with maidens and one of them got a wicket to boot. Nick Clarke (10 off 10 balls), Carmeron Petrie (25 off 35 balls) and Robin Eddington (7 off 11 balls) then mounted a pretty solid recovery, taking us to 43/2 in the 11th over, with Cameron in particular looking unperturbed by the variable bounce. But then disaster struck in the form of an absurd run-out, which in turn catalysed the season's first Romsey Collapse (TM) as we lost 4/4 to slump to 47/6. Andy Owen (34 off 60 balls) and Daniel Mortlock (8 off 40 balls) at least halted the flow of wickets, but it was pretty turgid stuff: that they put on 46 runs was invaluable; that it took 16 overs was coma-inducing. The only real highlights were some big pulls from Andy. We then lost our last 4 wickets for 15 runs, leading to a clearly sub-par total of 108 all-out. Even worse was the fact that we'd left three overs unused - the general verdict was that 120-130 would have been a challenging target given the conditions.
The early signs for our defense weren't good: our fielding drills were defined by their lack of energy and purpose; and, when a few of our number had a go on the slips cradle, the result was only some minor bruising and precisely zero catches. Still, once our bowlers found their range we did start to make a fight of it, and at one point we managed 19 consecutive dot balls while getting rid of the most dangerous-looking of the batsmen. When Burrough Green reached 39/1 after 14 overs we were hardly winning, but the sense was that we were only a few wickets away from being able to exert some real pressure . . .
. . . although, as it turned out, we were instead a couple of bowling changes from releasing it as we started sending down at least one four-ball per over. Suddenly, the scoreboard read 98/3 after 22 overs - while it was promising that Robin Eddington (1/21) and Paul Jordan (1/15) had both taken well-deserved wickets, their achivements were rather overshadowed by the fact Burrough Green now needed to score at just 0.61 an over with 7 wickets in hand. We figured the best way to at least get one more bonus point was to bring back the opening bowlers, a ploy which worked, albeit in the most bizarre fashion. After Daniel Mortlock got the wicket we'd hoped for, Girish Lakhwani (0/27) almost made it another, but in the end had to be satisfied with at keeping things interesting - indeed, things suddenly got far more interesting than they had been all day:
In the end it was probably the fact that Burrough Green won with 15 overs to spare that was the most telling fact - and clearly Aslan would have batted a bit differently if their victory hadn't been so certain. The real problem was that we just didn't have much to defend: Nick's oft-repeated claim that "140 would have been a good total on this pitch" rang sadly true as we headed back towards Cambridge for the evening.