This year's annual dinner was held on Saturday, November 2 at Hobbs' Pavilion for the third year in a row. Another good attendance, with just under thirty people, although it was only a few hard-liners that kept the waiting staff up 'til midnight while we finished a few more bottles of wine. The food was up to its usual standard (with the notable exception of ``death by chocolate'', which turned out to be a fairly unremarkable, not to mention fairly small, slice of chocolate cake) and the service was particularly impressive given our inability to remember what we'd ordered all those days ago.
Once it was clear we'd all survived the chocolate, a newly shorn Geoff Hales rose from his chair to instigate the night's formalities. We would have congratulated Nick Clarke on winning the batting averages, but he had quite justifiably declined to attend an event with people who average under 70. (In fact the more astute of you may have noticed evidence for a break-away batting line-up: also absent were Andy Owen, Rich Savage and Tony Malik, who, together with Nick, made 1580 runs at an average of 68.70 this season, more than everyone else at the dinner put together.) The bowlers were much better represented, and, as had been predicted on this very web-site as early as May, Russell Woolf won easily, his four wickets in four balls effort coming in pretty handy in the end. Although not handy enough to win the Champagne Moment for a second year running -- ``It's easier to win it than to keep it'', noted Geoff wisely. Instead this year's Champagne Moment was the stumping of county player Dave Norman by Ev Fox off the deceptive bowling of Dave Green. Mr Dave was generous enough to present Dr Dave with his award before going back to his table to practice forward defensive strokes. Next came the well-deserved thank yous to Remnants captain Dave Rowson, vice-captain Dave Williams, dinner organiser Dav-- er, Phil Watson, scorer-extrordinaire Sally Hales and, of course (and most deservedly) the prime Remnant, Geoff Hales.
At any ordinary cricket dinner things would have wound down from there, but we still had the Remnants quiz to go through -- 32 devilish questions about the 2002 season, recalling the most amusing and extreme performances therein.
(To see the answers simply highlight the region below the questions with your mouse by dragging the cursor across the screen with the left button held down.)
Early season form (one run each)
He (Dave Rowson, in case he thought he was ever going to be allowed to forget this) was bowled by Dave Norman.
The first ball he (Dave Rowson, in case he thought he was ever going to be allowed to forget this) delivered was hit for four.
Russell Woolf (hence his being the early favourite for the bowling award).
It was Colin Anderson, although the standard of our bowling this year can probably be judged from the fact that almost every team had a different suggested answer to this question.
Top batting (two runs each)
Andy Owen, on his way to averaging a Hobbs-esque (well not quite, Jack wasn't that consistent) 132.32.
Most people (except, it seemed, the batsmen in question) correctly remembered that they were all caught at sqaure leg, but what we didn't know until tonight was that the culprit was one Chapman-Smith, a University blue.
Nick Clarke (76*) and Phil Watson (61*) got all the runs, only to see the opposition, the Education Nomads, get even more.
Geoff Hales (1* off 5 balls) and Barry Dare (1* off 7 balls) saved a draw for the Secretary's XI against the Scorer's XI in Geoff and Sal's anniversary match, thus providing my personal highlight for the season.
Rabbits (three runs each)
(Fill in the batman's name.)
Ev, having arrived late to the Remnants vs. Remnants game, found himself in the rather unusual position of bowling, and managed to bamboozle one of our best batsmen to the degree that he somehow flung his bat to square leg whilst being bowled.
A corollary of Ev's not 'keeping was that someone else had to, the job falling to a reluctant Nick Clarke, who promptly justified the decision by nabbing a sharp stumping off one of Phil Watson's lightning bolts. As for the batsman, he just won't stop talking about this particular dismissal . . .
This was another of the many great moments from Geoff and Sal's anniversary game, Andy Brown demonstrating why he averages about ten runs a wicket with a series of off cutters to a shuffling Mr Fox, who was eventually (and correctly) ajudged LBW to the third or fourth big appeal.
This of course was the year's official Champagne Moment, with Dave thus ensuring a Remnants victory over the Philanderers and Ev ensuring he was involved in every question in this round of the quiz.
Top bowling (two runs each)
Who bowled these spells?
I think everyone knew that this was Russell Woolf's great moment, the most amazing thing being that his figures were 3-0-15-0 going into his final over.
The impotence of our bowling attack was once again shown up by the fact that there were actually two answers to this question: either Andy Owen or Mark ``Buzz'' Burrows would have gotten you the points.
The year's most eventful (eight-ball) over was bowled by Dave Green in one of the internal games; to find out who the ``2'' were, have a look at the answer to question 30.
Poor Faruk Kara was on the receiving end of this particular mauling, although he was not alone in that game, the Woozlers' total of 165/4 also including one of the answers to question 14.
Profitable overs (2 runs each)
This would be dastardly Nick Clarke, being rather cruel to the season's youngest Remnant, Tom Jordan.
That would be Robin Woolley, the season's second youngest Remnant, generously rotating the strike to his rampant partner.
Yet more internal action, with Andy Owen clubbing the required runs off John Gull (the season's third youngest Remnant) in the last over of the final match of the year.
Batting champion Nick Clarke managed this intriguing feat by bowling a succession of wides and near-wides outside off stump until the batsman finally got bored, slashing the ball to the cover fielder, much to Nick's glee.
Top fielding (two runs each)
The Computer Laboratory managed this inauscpicious total, with nine of the ten wickets falling to catches (Paul Henderson being the guilty party, bowling the last batsman).
Vice-captain Dave Williams managed to pouch the ball thrice in the above innings.
That man again, Dave Green.
John Young held onto a rocket at mid-off, only to see blood start pouring out of his hand and his finger bent at a wholy unnatural angle before being driven off to Addenbrookes. Bad enough, but even worse was that the (inevitably Australian) bowler had dropped a much easier chance off the same batsman the previous ball . . .
Senior pros (two runs each)
Steve Gull, finally lured back to the game after several season's rowing, got off the mark in his first match with a five, a gentle single being not so gently fielded, four overthrows resulting.
Mike Sneyd, who had positioned himself at a close-in gully as the Sun sunk below the horizon, and then oh so comfortably grabbed the sharpest of chances.
The aforementioned Andy Brown, seemingly content to prove to himself that he could still turn batsmen into nervous wrecks without feeling the need to do so on a weekly basis.
Geoff Hales, despite having made two or three panther-like saves in the covers earlier in the day.
Last match (four runs each)
Paul Henderson and his captain, Dave Rowson collided (and then danced) with each other half way down the track whilst Geoff Hales threw the ball to the bowler, Les Collings, who completed the daftest of dismissals.
Yes, I know, Dave Green again . . . but the two victims of Dave's over mirabilis were Paul Jordan and Les Collings, valiantly sacrificing themselves in the name of quick wickets.
The dark horse, Martyn Waterfall, landing one on the spot.
Andy Owen (on 48, with his team needing 4 to win), came down the track to John Gull, and with as much will-power as physical effort, slammed the ball to the mid-wicket boundary to complete an amazing win and end the season on the highest of high notes (unless you're John Gull, I suppose).
This year's quiz winners were . . . numerous. Somehow a table full of eight people -- Ev, John, his partner, Faruk, Heather, their unborn child, Phil, George and Dave bloody Green -- contrived to put in a single entry, and won with the impressive score of 54/72. For their troubles they each got one eighth of a history of cricket in Cambridgeshire that wasn't kindly donated by Davids Books.
After that everyone needed a good stiff drink or five, although some of us managed a bit more than that. In summary a great night, and we'll just see how smug Dave Green is next year when he's only mentioned in half the quiz questions . . .