Nine more runs and one more wicket would have been enough to see Romsey promoted this year; but close losses by 6 runs, 1 run and 1 wicket meant that we had to be content with a solid third place in the Junior 3 South B league table. One compensation was that we thrashed second-placed, Bassingbourn, by 145 runs, their only big defeat of the year That match was also the exemplar of what might have been, as we were close to full strength and had big contributions from our top batsmen and bowlers; the problem, as usual, was that we too often found ourselves playing without them.
James McNamara (450 runs at 112.50, more than enough to retain the batting award), Richard Rex (425 runs at 47.22) and Cameron Petrie (303 runs at 33.67) all seemed to score at will. Similarly, Andy Owen (25 wickets at 11.12 and an economy rate of 3.23, and his seventh bowling award), Faruk Kara (22 wickets at 19.32 and an economy rate of 4.81) and Daniel Mortlock (21 wickets at 13.95 and an economy rate of 2.54) were both penetrative and miserly. Add in a top all-round contribution from Robin Eddington (170 runs at 42.50 and 11 wickets at 16.27) and it's hard to imagine how we ever lost . . . except those seven players missed an average of more than three games each out of the 14 we played. Not that plenty of the replacements aren't just as good, mind; but a cricket team clearly works best when people know their roles and the batting order is settled.
Neither is there any suggestion that people should sign up to play Junior League cricket in totality - everyone has plenty more going on in their lives, a point that was made all too clear in the most dramatic moment of the season, when Rod Dennis was hit in the face (by the ball, not an irate opposition player) against eventual champions Saffron Walden. Fortunately, there was no lasting damage and Rod was back playing three weeks later; but it was certainly a sharp reminder that winning and losing (or being promoted or relegated, for that matter), don't really matter so much . . . at least until next season.