As we assembled for the last Remnants game of the season the Sun disappeared behind a blanket of clouds and we were set for a gloomy finale, at least in the literal sense. As it turned out it was pretty gloomy in the metaphorical sense too. Our opposition today was the Cavendish Lab (i.e., the physics department) and there are about ten Remnants players who work there, and so could easily have played for either team. In the end there were only two such traitors (whose names will be kept secret for the moment), but the resultant bitterness was such that one of them was told to ``fuck off'' when he attempted, out of force of habit, to enter the home dressing room. However this mixing of teams did allow some non-regulars to play, and indeed there were four veterans of the first Remnants game (in 1980) present: Geoff Hales, Anton Garrett, Pete Warner and Steve Gull. For the latter it was his first game of the year, and means that he's played at least one game in each of the 22 seasons for which Remnants have existed. Without wanting to be portentious, only once in those 22 seasons have we been beaten by 10 wickets . . .
. . . something which remained a possibility when we chose to bat first. After the early (and uncharacteristic) loss of Nick Clarke, we got going quite well, with Russell Woolf (22) playing a number of elegant cuts and Andy Owen (32) pushing the ball round nicely. The pace was probably a little slower than we would have liked, but things were still going okay when Tony Malik (19) joined Andy at the crease. One of the traitors then came on to bowl ``spin'' at his erstwhile captain, and was greeted with ``good-natured'' baracking from the crowd in the form of a rather tuneless chant of ``Come on Aussie, come on, come on'' and general animalistic jeers at the numerous bad balls. However after this piece of theatre the wheels came off, and a flurry of wickets fell, including three in the last over. This left us with the rather unimpressive total of 91/9 off our 112 deliveries, and the possiblity of the 10-wicket loss, whilst still improbable, couldn't be ignored.
By the end of the first over of the Cavendish innings the other traitor had revealed his colours, Phil ``Judas'' Marshall pulling Tony Malik (0/25) for a flat six. And by the end of the second over the game was probably already lost: the other Cavendish opener, on his way to an imperious 46*, had taken the total to 26. Watching this occur showed how important psychology is in top-level sport, as from this moment on there was no fight in the game, and it was just a question of how many overs it would take for the Cavendish to reach the target. In the end it was just 6.2, or 50 balls, although there was the slight compensation that we got one wicket, Paul Henderson (1/14) catching and bowling (caught and bowleding?) Phil for 32.
So, a dark end indeed, although we were still in the black for the season overall, having won 14, lost 10 and tied 2 of the non-internal games played. After the match there was a nice tea in the bar (and some impromptu team photos) along with a training session for future Pakistani opener Inzamam Malik. However it was soon clear that there wasn't enough food for us hungry lads (or, indeed for Anton), so we adjourned to the quasi-trendy Cafe Naz (previously the less imaginatively named Cambridge Curry Centre) for butter chickens and the like. There were some quick thank-yous by (and to) Geoff, and some piss-taking from the nearby table of ugly morons, but the real focus was on trying to get the waiters to stop serving us drinks and start serving us curries. Here again Anton was the star of the show, gleefully finishing off other people's meals whilst recounting stories of once having eaten so much he had to sleep straight, being unable to bend at all. By midnight it was all over, and we went to back to our homes, musing over the season gone, lamenting the length of the English winter, and trying to get to sleep without thinking about Anton's flexibility.