Report by Cam Petrie:
With the late loss of Daniel Mortlock from the team roster, and our last minute draftee Deaglan Barlett (stepping in once again with minimal notice) being busy at the Union Garden Party until 3.30pm, we were going to have to start the match with only ten players. It would have been nice to bat first, safe in the knowledge that we would actually have eleven players on the field, but it was not to be as table leaders Bassingbourn won the toss and chose to send us out into the hotter and more humid part of the day. To be honest, I am pretty sure Andy would have chosen to bowl if he had won the toss anyway, so ten on the field it would be for the first 30 overs.
This season has been marked by a steady flow of Cambridge college regulars joining the Remnants collective, and the latest addition, "big" Ed Barsley from Queen's, was ready to take the 'keeping duties, which allowed Andy maximum flexibility when it came to marshalling our modest bowling resources.
Karan Gupta (2/62 from 10 overs) was likely our only quick bowling option for the day, and was a logical choice to open the bowling in tandem with the inspired choice of Faruk Kara (2/29 from 7.5 overs). Our first few overs were tight, but at least one four-ball per over meant that Bassingbourn were able to keep their score chuntering along, and it wasn't until the 10th over that one of their openers popped a well-flighted Kara guile ball(TM) to Rod Dennis at point.
With Karan tiring, Andy (2/27 from 8 overs) brought himself on to tighten up proceedings, and soon had the Bassingbourn number three caught and bowled. From the next over we were then treated with dueling Owens bowling from both ends as Catherine (0/50 from 6 overs) came on and initially bamboozled the well-set Bassingbourn opener (who actually acknowledged that he couldn't work out how to play Catherine's first over of perfectly flighted hand grenades). His new partner showed no such hesitation, however, as he proceeded to step across the line and attempt to flick everything to fine leg. Unfortunately for us he managed to get away with this for far too long.
In general our ground fielding was good, but Dave Clark was not entirely happy with the fact that Andy was moving him around when changing the field. Perhaps a bowl would bring a smile to his face? After five tight overs, Andy tossed Dave the ball to see what the change would bring.
As has been the case for most of our matches this year our catching was a bit of a mixed bag again. Catherine deserved one or perhaps two wickets, but hard hit chances by their opener to Cam at short mid-wicket and Rod at short cover unfortunately didn't stick; and her subsequent over was pummeled. Thankfully Dave (3/37 from 6 overs) struck gold in his third over. Having pushed both batsmen back into the crease in his second, he proceeded snatch not one, but two LBWs, the second of which finally brought a smile to his face. Karan was brought back on and managed to clean up the Bassingbourn number four, who stepped across the line one too many times and was bowled around his legs and Dave managed to bowl the new bat in the next over and all of a sudden we had them 6 down for 170 in the 31st over. It was around this time that Deaglan managed to detach himself from his garden party and was able to bring us up to full strength.
Only one of the remaining bats put up much resistance, but it was a swashbuckling effort, as the Bassingbourn number six slugged and swatted his way to a swift 37. In quick time, he brought Bassingbourn to 202 before Andy came back on and, after taking some initial punishment, drew a lofted catch to Rod (his second), and then the swashbuckler lofted one from Karan to Deaglan, thankfully only one ball after he had hit one to cow, where Cam completely misjudged the flight, let the ball bounce, and then misfielded it across the boundary. With Karan bowled out Faruk came on to tidy up and immediately bowled their number nine, and then encouraged a run out to leave Bassingbourn all out for 215 in the 38th over.
We sat down to enjoy the excellent tea provided by the Dennises with mixed feelings - happy in the knowledge that we had bowled out the team topping the table - but also knowing that we had probably given away too many runs.
In the absence of his regular partner Richard Rex, Cam Petrie was joined by Tim Cannings to open our account, and a mix of no balls and boundaries saw 13 runs come off the first over. We were away in a rush but unfortunately the bowling quickly tightened so that by the end of the tenth over we were 31/0. Good balls had been blocked, better balls missed and loose balls were generally beautifully timed, but all too frequently hit straight to fielders. We hadn't quite ground to a standstill, but the scorecard became full of dots and singles before Cam went on the offensive and hit the tiring openers out of the attack. The Bassingbourn first change bowlers then re-exerted a measure of control, but we managed to keep the scoreboard stuttering forward so that by drinks we were well-placed at 92/0 - needing about 6 an over from the last 20 overs with 10 wickets in hand.
Unfortunately, we only scored 45 runs from the next 10 overs for the loss of four wickets, as Bassingbourn brought on their captain to bowl needling off spin. He had immediate success bowling Tim (23 off 65 balls) in his first over, and then Deaglan (0 off 4 balls) with a peach in his second (D. Bartlett bowled by P. Bartlett). This brought Ed Barsley (26 off 20 balls) to the crease for his first Romsey innings, and he and Cam set about upping our scoring rate, including a towering six from Ed to square leg and a brace of other boundaries. Bassingbourn's solution was to bring back their equally needling first change bowler (Mindy) from the other end, and in the second over of his new spell he widened his angle at the crease, and yorked one through Cam (60 off 59 balls). This brought Rod (12 off 8 balls) out to join Ed, and he managed to crunch a brace of fours and singles before he was trapped in front by off spinner Bartlett. In the next over Mindy bowled Ed, and we were stalled on 140/5 with nine overs to play. The previously optimistic mood in the pavilion quickly shifted, and muttered comments about going for 160 and the batting point rather than going for the win started to dominate the conversation.
Whether we could do even this was unclear as Mindy managed to bowl Markus Bernhardt (0 off 2 balls) without increasing our score. Karan and Andy managed to push us to 156 before Andy (6 off 11 balls) was bowled by the returning opening bowler, and Karan and Catherine engaged in a brief period of "dot-fest-ery" before Karan (17 off 19 balls) hit us to 161, called Catherine (0 off 12 balls) for an over ambitious second run that wasn't quite there, hit a four, and was then bowled, all in one over by Bartlett. Faruk then managed a single, but Dave Clark (0 off 1 ball) lunged forward and let one through the gate to give Bartlett his five-for (four bowled and one LBW!) and Bassingbourn the victory.
As a whole this game left team Romsey a lot happier than we were after last week's debacle (which wouldn't be hard). Andy marshaled our relatively limited resources well, we held some (though not all) of our catches and in general fielded well. We were, however, a little under-powered in both bowling and batting, and weren't able to both keep the scoreboard ticking and hold our wickets in the tough batting conditions we faced in the last 20 overs. To their credit, Bassingbourn bowled extremely well throughout our innings, initially tying Cam and Tim down, and then knocking us off one by one to leave us 60-odd runs short in the 39th over. It was quite tempting to daydream about what might have happened if we had kept Bassingbourn to under 200 and some or our top five had really been able to kick on. Bring on the return fixture I say.