Report by Daniel Mortlock:
Fitz was teeming with athletic, cricket-mad women at 6pm . . . so it was a great pity that we were playing out at Girton today. The ground there was teeming also, but sadly with sweaty (male) footballers instead. Once they were herded away we took to the field with the aim of restricting The CB XI's generally classy batting line-up.
On the low, slow Girton pitch this should have been a fairly simple task, but we presented them with far too many full tosses, most of which were promptly dispatched to the boundary. Moreover, the batsmen made superb use of the slow and bumpy outfield by running singles even when the ball was hit directly to the fielder, and scampering back for two otherwise. It was all about pragmatism - classical strokes along the ground tended to go unrewarded, whereas little nudges or big aerial hoiks were the way forward.
Robin Woolley (2/24) and Julius Rix (2/29 in contrasting two-over spells of 0/21 and 2/8) were the only bowlers to get more than one wicket, but the stand-out effort was Joe White's four-over spell of 0/5, which included 18 consecutive dot balls and half a dozen outside edges. Fielding was very difficult, with pressure from both the batsmen and the bumpy ground, although James Morgan and John Young instinctively found the best solution by repeatedly attacking the ball. After a few close calls we finally got a run out when Mike Jones fired in a great throw to Steve Tyrrell, although Phil Watson once again stole the show with a brilliant diving one-handed catch at short mid-wicket.
Despite not getting our first wicket until the 11th over The CB XI never got away from us, and their eventual total of 127/6 seemed eminently chaseable . . . until we lost two wickets in the first ten deliveries of our innings. Nick Clarke and Daniel Mortlock then batted sensibly for the next five or six overs, nurdling lots of singles and keeping up with the required rate. Indeed, so precisely was the chase being managed that, just after Nick was dismissed for 28, we were 64/3 after ten overs - exactly half our target with half the innings gone. Dave Williams (13) and John Young (9) then played useful cameos, but after Phil Podmore (The CB XI's Watson-style lobber) bowled a particularly frustrating over we found ourselves behind for the first time, needing 19 off the last 12 balls. Suddenly a game which appeared condemned to terminal mundanity was heading towards one of the most exciting conclusions of the season.
It would be lovely to say that we calmly changed gear as required, but the reality was we were lucky that the penultimate over was poor: it yielded 16 runs, including four from a leg-side full toss and four more in the form of wides. It was a pity in a way, as hitting nine or ten runs off Mr Podmore would have been a real challenge; as it was Julius Rix (6*) and Daniel were able to finish the match with three easy singles, the last of which took Daniel to a well-grafted half-century. (Although the scorers took a little bit of convincing that it wasn't a well-grafted 46* - it's so hard to find the staff these days . . .)