Remnants vs. Philanderers

Tuesday, August 28, 2001
Fitzwilliam College

Philanderers (156/4; 15 eight-ball overs)
Remnants (145/6; 15 eight-ball overs)
by 11 runs.

Today's game was pretty much decided by poor strategy right at the start. We had to field first, as not too many Philanderers had arrived, and it was also clear we were going to have to start at 6pm, half an hour later than intended. So far not so bad. But then we didn't accept the suggestion from Phil Watson (treacherous Philanderers captain) that we play just 13 eight-ball overs per innings, and instead went for the ``full-length'' 15 over game. That, as shall be seen, was a mistake.

The Philanderers' innings also started with a conversation between our captain, Tony Malik, and our youngest member, Jack Anderson, which went something like, ``Okay, Jack, which end do you want to open from?'' ``Are you serious?'' ``Yep -- which end?'' ``Um, this one?'' However this led to Jack bowling three economical (eight-ball) overs for 19 runs and coming off better than most of the bowlers who followed. In fact the only member of our attack to be more successful was Faruk Kara, with 1/16. Everyone else got carted by Philanderers' star batsmen. Like our own Tony he was compact and athletic (i.e., amusingly short) and hit the ball very cleanly, but today he got the points with a vicious 89, out stumped off the last ball of the innings. He'd hit the ball hard enough to induce mistakes from us in the field, although he never did get a two to Colin Anderson, who impeccably patrolled the square boundary for the duration of the innings. He'd also got his team's score up to 156/4 and, if they had any bowlers, they'd be sorted.

Fortunately they didn't, and our openers Ev Fox (43) and Dave Williams (21) got off to a speedy start, halted only by a misjudged third run and good work by the opposition's wicket keeper. Their optimism was understandable, though, as earlier that over they'd scored an all-run six. In part this was due to the large gaps in the field, the opposition having just 8 players, but it was also down to the aggressive play by our openers. After the run out, Tony Malik (45) came in and kept scoring just as easily -- we were well ahead of the required rate at the half-way point. However it was already getting rather dark, and it suddenly became apparent that we were going to have to win in about 11 or 12 overs to beat the eastward rotation of the planet. Ev was eventually dismissed by a jubilant Phil Watson lobbing the ball in from the gloom, but still there was no reduction in the scoring rate, John Young (8) taking up the baton this time. With three overs (24 balls) remaining we had 8 wickets in hand and needed to score 27 runs, ordinarily a reasonably straightforward task . . . but suddenly almost impossible here, due to the fall of night.

The first thing the batsman knew about the trajectory of the ball was feeling it hit their pads - or hearing it crash in to the stumps. The runs dried up to the point of the day's only maiden being bowled, and wickets started to fall too, bizarrely two of them to catches - the fielders must have been using The Force. In the end we were 11 short, despite having outplayed the opposition for most of our innings, and it's fair to say we weren't too happy about the conclusion of the game.

For future reference, 8pm is the absolute latest time play is possible at this time of year - it's probably even worth curtailing the first innings at 7pm, even if it means lopping off an over or two. The onset of night also means that we're rushing headlong into winter - the summer's Test series ended on Monday, and the real cricket is just about to conclude too: tomorrow's game against our half-brother, the Cavendish, will be our last 'til May 2002.