As is becomingly a worryingly common occurence, Remnants batted first not due to winning the toss (and not due to losing the toss and being put in), but because we only had half a team at the designated starting time. Today it was the Woozlers who graciously agreed to field first, although they probably spent much of the next hour regretting their generosity.
After we lost an early wicket, Faruk Kara (27) and Daniel Mortlock (56) put together a 75 run partnership, combining fairly nice cut shots with, especially in the latter case, some less classical leg-side heaves. They also ran aggressively and, although this was their eventual undoing, it didn't seem to matter as Ev Fox (16) continued the good work, getting us to 108/2 after 10 eight-ball overs.
We then took the opportunity to give some of the younger Remnants time in the middle, and Alex Brown and Tom Jordan (thirteen and eleven years old, respectively) both played some stylish shots as the innings drew to a close. During this period we suffered a mini-collapse (and poor Martin Parry, having had a catch dropped off the first ball he bowled for Remnants last week, was even less lucky when he faced his first ball for the club), eventually finishing on 128/6, some 10 or 15 runs shorts of what we wanted. That said, we should have had one run less, as Woozlers 'keeper (and Remnants regular) Robin Woolley chivalrously decided not to run out Tom Jordan after his father had called him through for an over-ambitious second run off the final delivery. There were a few facetious comments suggesting that the extra run might ``make all the difference'', but these were largely ignored as the two teams swapped over.
The Woozlers' chase began -- and indeed continued -- brilliantly, their openers producing some enormous drives in a 94 run stand. We did drop them a few times (the usual ``fly balls'' in the outfield), and Ev Fox was unlucky to have a sharp stumping attempt turned down, but for the most part it was just a case of damage limitation, trying to get the ball back in before the batsmen had run yet another two. And on this score we did pretty well, Chris Martin, Andy Owen and Paul Jordan doing the lion's share of the work here (and being the best of the bowlers, as it happened).
This good work notwithstanding, we were well out of the match until Russell Woolf (1/30) finally had a catch held off his bowling, Andy bravely standing his ground as Martin kept his head and pulled out at the last moment. The Woozlers' number three also scored freely, but his most important contribution to the game was to call his partner through for a ridiculous quick single -- a bit of nifty Owen-inspired footwork by Daniel Mortlock saw the opener heading back to the pavilion after a great innings of 73, and perhaps provided the tiniest of openings for us.
With the Woozlers needing 14 off the last two (eight-ball) overs, Paul Jordan (0/3) bowled a superbly economical over (despite what looked like it might be a critical overthrow), finally pushing the required run rate to above a run per ball. In the last over we had no choice but to concede easy singles in the hope of preventing fours, and once again the outfielders earned their keep, not letting a single boundary through. Thus the match came down to the final ball: Woozlers needed 1 to tie or 2 to win. Daniel Mortlock (2/16) ran in for the last time . . . the ball was just outside off stump and the batsmen came down the pitch and took a big swing . . . but there was late movement and he missed, Ev Fox having the bails off in a flash . . . all eyes turned to square leg and saw Chris's finger pointing skywards -- we'd done it . . . unless the ball had moved too much . . . and now all eyes turned to Geoff to see if a wide would be called . . . but he was unmoved, and so we'd won a heart-stopper by a solitary run.
All present -- including the vanquished Woozlers -- agreed that it was a fantastic match, even if the final result did hinge on the most difficult of wide calls . . . but then Alex suddenly remembered Robin's earlier generosity: by turning down that simple run out he'd effectively given us the winning run. While we all pondered this (as well as thinking of extra runs we could have scored or had conceded, etc.) a new scare arrived when Sal announced that the Remnants total might have been one too many . . . but it did all add up in the end, the main result of which was, presumably, an uninterrupted night's sleep for Geoff.