Sport

Week 91: End of the Cricket Season

The week at work had several late nights spent with a pen and paper, tyring to work through the difficult algebra of my models to get some order of magnitude estimate to confirm whether or not my code is behaving as I thought it should. I wanted to glean some deeper insight as to what I was seeing. Whether or not I gained that insight was a different question. There wasn’t an awful lot to do through the week, as most of the formal Cambridge activities we coming to a close for the year, but I did manage to get a cricket training session with the Cavendish Cricket Club on Wednesday evening.

Thursday night brought with it the final MCR cricket match of the season. We were up against the formidable Jesus College, on their home turf. Jesus’ cricket ground is, in my opinion, the prettiest amongst the Cambridge colleges; indeed it is the only city-centre college to have their cricket ground on their main site, and where you play overlooking their old buildings. Churchill is similar, but the buildings are not as pretty, and Girton is way out of the centre of town. Corpus and Trinity Hall have on-site playing fields on their satellite locations. So Jesus it is. They were a tough team, which feature the league organiser, so you knew they were serious. We batted first, with Tom, one of our openers making a total of 74 not out, coming back in after retiring at 51 per the league rules. However, only one of our other batsmen got past 9, Chris scoring 35 not out. We somehow managed to get to 9/140, but had an awful lot of LBW decisions against us by our own umpires. It would not turn out to be nearly enough. Despite a wicket in the second over, the Jesus batsmen were comfortable the entire innings. That they reached the target with two balls to spare was more a testament to how they paced their innings, not how we bowled. We were also unfortunate to have an umpire who had a rather strict view of the wide rule, giving away far too many extras. Nevertheless, it was just our first loss of the MCR league, meaning we would qualify for the MCR final. Unfortunately, it was scheduled for when I was away in Australia.

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On Sunday, the Cambridge Real Tennis Club fixtures secretary asked me to represent the club, along with three others, at the second division of the East Anglia Cup. This was an annual, season-ending tournament between the four real tennis clubs in East Anglia: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire; Newmarket, Suffolk; Prested Hall, Essex and Hatfield, Hertfordshire. This year, the tournament was being hosted at the beautiful Hatfield House. Normally, this would be a simple, direct train ride from Cambridge and then a short walk up to the House; indeed I had made that journey before. However, there were a few issues. Overrunning engineering work meant that the line between Stevenage and Welwyn was closed. I went along to the train station and took an earlier train than I thought I needed, which only ran as far as Letchworth, even though it claimed it would go on to King’s Cross. No more trains were running, so I had to catch a rail replacement bus. This only went as far as Stevenage, where I had to change onto a different rail replacement bus to Welwyn. There was supposed to be a train that would run one stop from Welwyn to Hatfield, but it was cancelled due to staffing issues, so I threw in the towel, and called in a lift from one of the other Cambridge players.

I eventually arrived at the court a little after my first match was meant to start, and so rushed on court. Each club would play the each of the others in three matches: two singles and a doubles. I was on first, in the match against Hatfield. The hassle of getting to Hatfield meant that I never got settled; combined with the home court advantage meant that I lost 2-6. I offered to mark most of the rest of the matches of the day, which was appreciated by many of the other players there. I calmed down by my second match against Newmarket, which I won 6-3, and the third against Prested, which I won 6-1. Cambridge ended up coming third, Prested won overall, and Newmarket languished last.

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