It was never going to be easy to get going on what was a miserably grey and cold evening, but it became even harder to get psyched up when our opposition, ex-Remnants captain Phil Watson's Philanderers, took to the field with just six men. We augmented their ranks with Robin Woolley and Dave Green, but there were still massive gaps in the field and the bowling was at best ``part-time''.
George Speller (20) and Nick Clarke (78) set about making the most of the conditions, scoring at more than 9 an over, although there was a blip when Tony Malik (1 and bag-packing duties) was caught in the covers by the treacherous Dave Green. After this the scoring rate picked up again, with Rich Savage (55*, finally getting a half-century for Remnants after some near misses) and captain Dave Rowson (16*) taking us to the imposing total of 187/3. Despite the fact that this was the season's highest 20-over score, Geoff wasn't feeling secure and kept grumbling about ``Phil always winning on the last ball'' and ``just wanting to beat Watson''.
Even if it was a day for remarkable run chases (England having overhauled Sri Lanka's amazing 32-over target of 241 at Headingley), surely a team with just the seven batsmen couldn't win this match? Probably not, but, during the inter-innings break, an eighth arrived in the form of Fitzwilliam groundsman and ex-county batsman Dave Norman. Suddenly Geoff's portents didn't seem quite so unreasonable.
Nonetheless, things started well, the Philanderers' top order crumbling at the hands of Rob Harvey (3/19) and Robin Woolley (1/17 with his troublesome wrist spin). When the fifth wicket fell Dave Norman joined Phil Watson at the crease and the match seemed to hang in the balance . . . until Dave Green (2/14) deceived Mr Norman with his slower ball and Ev Fox completed his second stylish stumping of the day. The final ball did not, as Geoff had predicted, see Phil complete a surprise victory, but instead saw him bowled by Daniel Mortlock (1/10), Philanderers being all-out due to their aforementioned lack of players.
Mr Hales seemed very pleased by all this, particularly the fact that we'd won by what someone pointed out was a margin of ``over a run a ball''. Mr Watson didn't say much at all.