Remsey Town vs. The Woozlers

Sunday, July 6, 2008
Pembroke College

The Woozlers (207/5 in 30 6-ball overs)
Remsey Town (203/7 in 30 6-ball overs)
by 4 runs.

Once upon a time Remnants Cricket Club played afternoon weekend games as well as twenty-over matches on weekday evenings. And once upon the same time Romsey Town Cricket Club played a full program of friendly games, as well as taking Cambridge's leagues by storm. And today the clock was turned back a decade or so, with the two clubs combining into Remsey Town to take on the might of The Woozlers Wandering Cricket Club for a Sunday afternoon friendly. It was meant to be league-length 40-over game, but decidedly grim weather caused a reduction to 30 overs a side, a happy medium between Remnants' and Romsey's natural match-lengths. Andy Owen, being the only man to have captained both clubs this year, naturally took charge of our composite team, and also phoned in the following report.

The Woozlers batted first, and scored freely for the duration of their innings -- of the eight bowlers we used only Alex Brown (0/19) went for less than a run a ball. At least we managed a few wickets, Andy Owen getting 2/14 after taking off the wicket keeper's gloves and John Moore (1/21) and Jon Steele (1/14) also making breakthroughs, but the Woozlers were most definitely the happier of the two teams at the break.

Scoring 208 in 180 balls was always going to be a challenge with just nine players, although we should have been able to do a bit better than slumping to ``the scoreline of the beast'', 66/6. With only 2 wickets in hand and another 142 runs needed the game was surely over . . . and yet opener John Gull was still in, and we were sporting a rather bottom-heavy batting order with Joe White and Andy Owen the last two men in. Joe (26) proved a perfect foil for John, and they added 78 runs until, somewhat inevitably, indecisive calling led to a decidedly unnecessary run out. That left Andy and John with another 64 to get in 5 or 6 overs, but who'd bet against people of such self-belief? They smashed and scampered their way back into contention, and when Andy smacked the final ball back over the bowler's head it would have been the perfect win . . . but for the fact we were left 4 torturous runs short of The Woozlers' total. Andy did well to hit an undefeated 27, but that was nothing compared to John's extrordinary innings of 105 not out (off what John asserts was 103 deliveries). It was the first century for Romsey since 2005 and for Remnants since 2003, and the only pity of it was that it couldn't somehow have been increased to 110.

Still, despite the rain, Remnants, Romsey and Woozlers combined to hit over 400 runs in 60 highly eventful overs, so here's hoping we manage to do something like this again more often than once a decade.