Tonight's opposition was Hart-McLeod, a small local company run by ex-Remnants captain Graham Hart. It's not a grudge match, as such, but it's also one of those fixtures where the result is likely to determine a year's worth of ribbing. Thus a win was mandatory.
Hart-McLeod's innings was one of those strange ones where neither side had any sustained period of dominance. The highest score by any batsmen was 22*, and Les Collings (2/23), Martin Parker (1/11), Faruk Kara (2/7), Pete Warner (1/2), Rob Harvey (1/11) and Nick Clarke (1/9) all picked up wickets . . . and yet Hart-McLeod finished up scoring at exactly a run a ball, meaning it was honours-even at the change of innings.
Our run chase started disastrously, as we limped to 15/2 after 4 (eight-ball) overs, before Dave Williams (38) and Rob Harvey (19) mounted something of a rescue mission. They took the score onto 63 without further loss, but it was slow going - at the end of the tenth over we were just 58/2 and needed 63 runs off 40 balls. We did start to accelerate, but then suffered a catastrophic collapse, largely due to the flat off-spin of a seventies-style moustachioed bowler by the name of Burgess. At one stage he had figures of 4/4, including a sequence of W . . . 1 W . W W (and his his hat-trick ball beat the bat of new batsman Daniel Mortlock and missed the stumps by about an inch). We'd thus been reduced to 77/6 - 44 needed off 22 balls with two fresh batsmen at the crease and the darkness encroaching. We struck a few boundaries but also (predictably) lost a few wickets in the process of trying to slog our way to a miracle, and whilst 93/8 was a bit more respectable, we still needed a surely impossible 28 runs from 12 balls.
At which point we got our miracle: Daniel (previous highest score in any form of cricket, ever: 31*) went on the rampage, hitting 14 runs off the rest of the penultimate over, leaving us needing a further 14 from the final eight balls. Les Collings duly pushed a single to start the over, and then Daniel just kept bashing, tieing the scores with 3 balls remaining and then finishing off the most preposterous of wins with another four over cow corner, the ball going through the gap left by a fielder who'd deliberately moved squarer while the bowler was running in. Daniel was clapped off the ground and his freak innings of 39* off 13 balls ( . 2 4 3 6 . 4 4 4 4 . 4 4 ) was eventually judged the Champagne Moment of the season.