Remnants vs. The City Council

Tuesday, June 11, 2003
Fitzwilliam College

Remnants (127/2; 20 six-ball overs)
The City Council (64 all out; 15.2 six-ball overs)
by 67 runs.

We came up against a new team today -- The City Council -- who ominously requested that they be allowed to retire their batsmen after they'd made 25, on the grounds that "we've got a few players who'll bat forever once they get in."

Paul Henderson: all padded up and no place to go in his final Remnants game.

This distressing possibility wasn't tested immediately, however, as it was decided we should bat first, being three players short (including, unforgiveably, Paul Henderson, captaining today in his last Remnants game before moving to Hawaii). The innings progressed in the usual fashion: slow scoring (after an early wicket), although this was largely because neither Mike Sneyd (15) nor Andy Owen (68*) could reach very many of the balls they faced. With so few wides being called some unconventional stroke-play was required, and it was thus inevitable that the main partnership of the innings, between Andy and Rupert Brown (28*), would be dominated by the former. With the bowling all over the shop Rupert's elegant shots were going to be no match for Andy's improvisation, be it coming five yards down the track or randomly deciding to bat left-handed. At any rate it worked, with Andy playing one the innings of the year so far and our eventual 127/2 the best Remnants total in almost a month.

Andy Owen and Mike Sneyd pushing the score along.

A Remnants victory seemed far from assured after the first few overs, however, as the Council openers revealed themselves to be proper batsmen, dispatching anything outside leg stump to the boundary with a minimum of fuss. They looked pretty good at 25/1 (the wicket coming courtesy of a calling melt-down that led to such a big run out that even Chris couldn't find any doubt), but the Council batting order turned out to be rather like a Cadbury Creme Egg, with such a soft middle that the next few overs saw 6 wickets tumble for just 4 runs. Paul Jordan (1/17) broke through the shell and then Daniel Mortlock (4/9, the wickets encompassing a seam-up ball, a wrong-un, a top-spinner and a leggie, not to mention both genders) and Paul Henderson (2/14, taking a wicket with his last ball for Remnants) lapped up the yolk with glee. With the opposition on 29/7 (and Geoff no doubt salivating at the prospect of a new lowest score) the match was effectively over, although the subsequent bowlers found themselves back in "egg shell" territory, and Russell Woolf (1/12), Les Collings (0/4) and Rob Harvey (1/2) had to work harder than the earlier bowlers for their wickets.

Photographic evidence of The City Council stumbling to 32/7 after 9 overs. No wonder they won't finish clearing the ditch at the side of the ground.

At the risk of becoming repetitive (however!), the fielding was once again top-notch. Mike Sneyd showed his great reactions, taking a sharp chance at short cover; Rich "John" Savage let nothing through on the square boundaries; Les took two good running catches at mid on (and hit the stumps repeatedly); and Paul almost engineered a fairytale finish, just failing to hold onto a sharp chance that would have ended the game.

Still, Paul goes to "Sepo Land" with a 100 per cent captaincy record (better than some other recent inductees into that role), a good chance of topping the bowling averages (6 wickets at 11.83) and a full belly, the latter courtesy of some beers at the ground and some vegetable mossala at the long-suffering Tandoori Palace. It was indeed a fitting send-off for Paul, with England coming back from 0-1 down to defeat Slovaaaaakia in a Euro 2004 qualifier (despite the poor TV reception and Rob's low-key reaction to their missed chances) and the persistence of various club members in referring to him as "Phil". But all good things must pass, and as I unlocked my front door I paused for a second to watch Paul trudging back into town, nodding knowingly as Andy demonstrated how he should play his forward defensive . . .

Paul Jordan, Les Collings and Rob Harvey respond to the question "How many goals did Australia beat England by earlier this year?"