Remnants vs. Hart-McLeod

Wednesday, May 30, 2001
Fitzwilliam College

Hart-McLeod (120/5; 20 overs)
lost to
Remnants (123/3; 19.3 overs)
by 7 wickets.

Most Remnants cricket matches exist only in the moment -- or rather the three hours -- over which they are played. One of the curses of one-day cricket has been the increased number of seemingly similar matches which tend to blur in one's memory. However tonight's game, against the team from local design company Hart-McLeod, had ties to the past in more ways than one. Firstly, the team captain, Graham Hart, was once our captain (back in the dark days of Thatcherdom -- vote Labour or Lib-Dem on Thursday), and even took us through a season undefeated. Secondly, last year's match between the two teams was a classic, with Hart-McLeod's South African wrist spinner tearing through our middle order with 4/19 . . . only for Remnants to scramble home, getting the last forty runs off about twenty balls. Tonight's teams both included half a dozen for that game, so the scene was set for an epic rematch . . .

Hart-McLeod won the toss and batted, but tight bowling by the openers -- particularly Rupert Brown (0/5 off 4 overs) -- meant they scored just 24 in the first eight overs. However they also had all ten wickets in hand, and, as one might expect, boths runs and dismissals came about with greater frequency. Rob Harvey, Faruk Kara and Mark Burrows all got wickets, but two of Hart-McLeod's batsmen struck up a good parntership . . . only to both fall to Colin Anderson (2/17) as the innings came to an end. It's also worth mentioning that three of the wickets fell to difficult chances, with spiralling balls caught by Daniel Mortlock, John Young and Mark Burrows. Noneless Hart-McLeod had scored at 8 an over for the last part of their innings and had set us a target of 121 -- just over a run a ball.

The chase turned out to be relatively easy as it happened -- none of the bowlers really threatened to get wickets, although we lost opener John Young early to a bad bit of calling . . . let's just say that Nick Young (no relation) owes him at least a pint. After this Nick (a typically violent 45) and Tony Malik (49*) got most of the required runs in quick time, with some scratchy help from Daniel Mortlock (18), who got out with just 4 needed. Whilst foolish, this did allow Faruk Kara to christen his new bat, and we started the last over with only three required, but Tony needing five to get his half century. Clearly a life-and-death matter in and of itself, it took on an even greater importance due to a decade-old agreement with Geoff Hales: if Tony scores a fifty Geoff pays his match fee; if he doesn't then Geoff gets a free banana (of his choice) from Tony's fruit shop. (The fact that Tony no longer runs said shop has resulted in a steadily increasing banana-debt, but that's beside the point.) In the end Tony did get the winning runs with a stylish cover drive for four, but thus ended his innings one short of getting a free match.

In the end a comfortable victory against an old foe, and in plenty of time to have a few beers as the sun went down. You may have noticed that the win followed the pattern set by other matches this season, but this can't be put down to Phil Watson's captaincy this time, as it was Dave Rowson leading us out today, and the victory owed much to his ``quiet, behind the scenes masterminding'' (his words). Another interesting point was that Hart-McLeod, as well as fielding a respectable team, managed to get a host of (mainly female) admirers along to watch. Whilst there's a certain purity to the Remnants membership, I can't help thinking that a cache of groupies would result in improved performances, even if the tone was lowered ever so slightly. The question is, how do we lure them to our games?