Remnants vs. The CB XI

Tuesday, August 5, 2003
Fitzwilliam College

Remnants (193/4 in 15 8-ball overs)
The CB XI (158/6 in 15 8-ball overs)
by 35 runs.

Report by Daniel Mortlock:

What a joyous match, both in terms of the journey (350 runs off 240 balls) and the destination (the first Remnants win since mid-June). The opposition were new to us: the enigmatically-named CB XI (in which the C and B don't seem to stand for anything), who seemed likely to be a bit too good if overheard phrases like ". . . was facing an ex-Test player on Saturday . . ." and ". . . five ex-junior county players . . ." were to be believed.

The way our innings began, however, suggested a farcically easy victory was more likely: the first over included six wides; the second consisted largely of juicy full tosses; and we were 31/0 after just sixteen (legal) deliveries. But then The CB XI's errant first bowler (seemingly known only as "AJ", thus continuing the acronymic theme) found his line and his pace, to the detriment of Phil Marshall's toe and batting average. All of us back in the pavilion were most pleased to see AJ given a rest after two overs, until it became apparent that his replacement was even quicker. Nick Clarke (49) and Ev Fox (10) sensibly left most of his deliveries (which resulted in lots-o-byes as most of the balls were too fast for the 'keeper as well) and added in a few nicks to keep the scorers very busy. They also ran ultra-aggressively, turning lots of twos into threes, but Nick's ambitious calling did see his partner stranded. "He got me in the end" was Ev's wry summary of proceedings.

Ev, Mike and Pete

Ev Fox, miming what he'll do to Nick when he next gets the chance; Mike Scanlon, wisely refusing to become involved; and Pete Warner, grinning at the thought of a good rumble.

Nick survived a sharp caught and bowled chance (or three such chances if you count each successive juggle) before being caught from the shot that would have taken him to yet another half century. Given the quality of the bowling a collapse seemed all too likely, but Mike Scanlon (10) and George Speller (15*) proved excellent foils for a rampant Dave Williams (57*), who just managed to overhaul extras (51) as the top scorer.

Dave naked

Our glorious leader, Dave Williams, preparing to go on the rampage.

Dave and child

Our glorious leader, Dave Williams, shows his softer side.

With one over remaining we already had the season's highest score (173/4) and yet it turned out the innings's best duel was still to come. George took on the aforementioned AJ, cover driving him for three and then pulling him for six. He would have had another but for the slightly languid footwork of the square leg umpire (one G. Hales, but don't worry, the sock and sandle combination prevented any damage being done to the offending tentacle). Possibly just as well, though, as well the resultant single got George off the strike and out of harm's way. The final delivery of the innings was the fastest of the lot: Dave failed to get bat on ball; the 'keeper failed to get glove on ball; the fine leg fielder failed to get hand on ball (generally agreed to have been a wise course of action), the result being ten byes from the last over and a mammoth total of 193/4.

As we took to the field we couldn't escape dark thoughts that The CB XI would have some excellent batsmen to go with their fearsome bowlers and that fate would somehow ensure our losing streak continued. Another possibility was that the game would be rained off -- the sky was ominously grey and some sort of nascent funnel appeared to be developing over the ground (although Ev later informed us it was "just clouds").

On the field, however, we just played good, hard cricket, and, critically, fielded much better than has been typical of late. Close to the bat lots of singles were prevented by aggressively meeting the ball -- Mike Scanlon in particular is making short cover his own on this score. Tens of runs were saved by the likes of John Young and Dave Green putting their bodies in front of the numerous cracking drives hit during the evening. And we chased down everything that made it to the outfield, the heroes here being Pete Warner (who let nothing past at long on, despite being unable to see the ball in the gloom at times) and George Speller (whose fast and accurate throws made sure no twos were taken to the short boundary on which he was stationed). George also excelled with the ball, his opening spell of 1/23 being the most economical of the evening, and the wicket being one of the opposition's two classiest batsmen.

Their other form batsman, inevitably an Aussie, lasted a bit longer, and seemed more than capable of smashing runs at the required rate (more than two a ball by this stage). The only bowler yet to have a crack at him was one Paul Henderson who, when it became clear that Phil's toe was too mangled to allow him to field, had flown in from Hawaii on the grounds that he could be subsitute for Phil without anyone noticing (at least judging by the number of times various Remnants players have got them mixed up). Thus, with The CB XI captain's permission, Paul was allowed to roll his arm over for the first time since his farewell Remnants game in early June, and promptly clean bowled the danger man with the first ball of his second over. He then dismissed the new batsman first ball to be on the brink of a fairytale hat trick. We clustered around the bat and watched as the third ball of the over sailed through the air and hit the batsman's pads dead in front . . . but it was adjudged to be just going down legside . . . but the ball then deflected off the inside edge . . . only to go straight to ground . . . and roll towards the stumps . . . missing by about an inch . . . but hitting Ev's pads just as the batsman rocked out of his ground . . . only to once again miss the stumps by an inch or two. So, no hat trick, but Paul had turned things our way with a an excellent spell of 2/23 (possibly at the expense of his shoulder).

Phil, Paul and Geoff

"Intellects, vast and cool and unsympathetic . . . slowly and surely made their plans against us . . ." Phil Marshall, his replacement Doppelganger Paul Henderson, and the mastermind of this (and all other) schemes, Geoff Hales.

Dave Williams then sealed the victory with the most economical over of the innings (just three runs conceded) and, even though 26 were scored of his next over, The CB XI were left needing 45 runs off the final eight-balls. Daniel Mortlock (3/26) did see one six effortlessly swatted over the pavilion roof, but had the last laugh as Ev stumped the batsman in question off the final ball of the day.

To reiterate the sentiments of the first sentence summary: a great result (for us at least) and a great game (presumably for everyone), so much so that a return match was organised for a few weeks hence. Stay tuned.