If today's wild and dramatic match were to be named after a soap opera (for whatever reason) it would have to be Home And Away, as we headed off to our regular home ground as the away team, being hosted by Fitzwilliam College. (Sorry, Daniel, this joke is lame. Please remove it from the final version -- ed.)
We batted first, with Nick Clarke (82) and Mike Sneyd (24) putting together an excellent opening partnership that had a classical feel to it: the first run wasn't scored until the 16th ball; we had just 7 runs after 4 overs; by the 8th over the score we'd reached respectibility at 40/0; and then Nick went on a bit of a rampage, scoring at about two runs per ball with a seemingly endless series of big pulls and drives. Once Mike and Nick were dismissed (the latter to an excellent boundary line catch that saw blood drawn) the scoring slowed down, with a few wickets falling in quick succession. It mattered not, however, as we finished on a healthy 154/4, the season's second highest total (after Wednesday's 163/5).
Our confidence in another comfortable victory was rocked when the Fitzwilliam opening pair started off by defending the good balls with ease and slapping the rubbish away to the boundary with, well, ease. Captain Dave Williams chopped and changed the bowling until he got the combination he wanted, and then the wickets started tumbling, Daniel Mortlock (2/21) and Mike Jones (3/27, using bean balls as ``softeners'') dismissing half the opposition's batting line-up between them. All well and good, but the runs kept coming at the required rate, and we were a long way from being home and dry.
With four overs remaining and 30 runs needed Dave Williams had to decide who was going to bowl in the clinch -- to go with the brilliance of youth or the calm head of experience? Dave decided on the former, and so it fell to Les Collings (0/28) and Phil Watson (2/13) to hold the last few Fitzwilliam batsmen in check. Les's approach to this was as straightforward as it was effective: dart the ball into the batsmen's pads and give them nothing to play at. Phil, on the other hand, dropped in his slow-moving hand-grenades and watched with delight as a succession of batsmen came charging towards him like bulls at gates and got themselves tangled up (or, in two cases, stumped by Ev Fox, once the ball had reached him). With one ball remaining Fitzwilliam needed four to win, and so all nine outfielders scarpered to the boundary . . . only for yet another hapless student to play all round the ball and scamper a solitary leg bye.
As one of the opposition said, ``Twenty 20 comes to Cambridge'' and this game had all that one would want: 300 runs scored in 40 overs; a dramatic finish; a great spirit from both sides; and pumping rock music after every wicket. Well, no music, but we did have fun making suggestions for which songs should be played as various Remnants come out to bat in future. Possibilities included My Way, The Imperial March (from Star Wars), The Laughing Gnome, Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport and Ride Of The Valkyries; I'll leave it to you to guess the relevant players.