After a succession of early-season matches where we ended up chasing 80-odd, Phil Watson has decided to change back to the more conventional strategy of batting first, with the result that our top order is really starting to fire. This, however, has not stopped a different pattern appearing: we score 150+ with big contributions from Nick Clarke and/or Andy Owen and a few others; the opposition end up needing about 100 runs off the last 10 overs of their innings; they almost get them due primarily to one dominant batsman. Today's match followed this rule almost perfectly.
Nick Clarke (53) and Dave Williams (27) smashed the ball all over the place, scoring at about 9 an over, a rate which -- after a mid-innings lull -- was improved upon by Andy Owen (47) and our ringer, Dave Norman (21*, mostly off the final over). Paul Henderson (10*) played a supporting role, but -- sadly -- Phil Watson (4) was the only Remnants batsman not to join in the feast. So, the season's highest score, albeit at the expense of the ball, which Dave smashed out of his own ground. That would have been the highlight but for the irreverant calls of ``Bowler's name!'' and ``Dare we ask?'' when a certain ex-Middlesex off-spinner came on to bowl.
The Chamber of Commerce innings began fairly quickly, but Paul Jordan (0/22) and Daniel Mortlock (1/17 -- not that anyone else could be bothered appealing for the LBW) seemed to have things under control. Dave Norman (2/13) continued the good work, but the Chamber of Commerce's left handed opener had survived all this and any chance they had of scoring the required 101 off ten overs clearly rested on his shoulders. He played a magnificent innings, and the last over began with exactly 36 needed. Phil Watson -- minus spinning finger, rendered numb in a freak fielding accident -- should have had him stumped off the first ball, but the batsman survived to thump 22 runs off the over, bringing his personal total to 88*. One more over would have seen his century and a Chamber of Commerce victory, but, as with our match last Friday, the end came at just the right time for a Remnants win.