After eight consecutive home matches (excluding wash-outs) it was finally time for Remnants to leave our Oxford Road nest and head off on a wild adventure to the uncharted wilderness of . . . Clare College's immaculate cricket ground in -- gasp -- South Cambridge. In what is about as close as we get to having a grudge match (apologies to the Cavendish Laboratory), we were up against Cambridge Granta, who'd beaten us by 64 runs, 22 runs, 58 runs and 37 runs in our recent encounters, albeit with the help of one or two first team players.
As in all our previous matches, Granta batted first, but for once they never really get going, being just 30/2 after 8 overs and finishing on a none-too-imposing 108/6. Chris Martin (1/8) set us on the right path with a fast, controlled opening spell, before Joe White (3/20) eventually took the bowling honours. The ``eventually'' is because Joe was, of course, late again; but rather than his usual trick of getting to the right place at the wrong time, today he got to the wrong place at the right time (before finally being directed to make the same southerly odyssey as the rest of us).
Possibly more impressive than our bowling exploits, though, was our fielding: Julius Rix, John Gull and Daniel Mortlock patrolled their respective boundaries without a single mis-field between them; Nick Clarke was panther-like close to the bat; and Andy Owen was his usual fearless self behind the stumps, completing stumpings off both Chris and Joe -- no mean feat since they're comfortably the fastest bowlers we have. The only cause for complaint is that, more and more often, we keep trying to field the ball with our feet -- it's all very cute when it works, but most unimpressive when it goes wrong, especially from the bowler's point of view. (And can it be long before someone's carted off to Addenbrookes with a broken ankle?)
Strangely enough, several of the Granta fieldsmen tried the same sort of fancy footwork, which seemed to be part of general malaise which saw our opening pair of Nick Clarke (38) and John Gull (36, almost exclusively in cut shots for some reason) repeatedly take extra runs and induce basic fielding errors. Together they made 68 in about 12 overs, providing the superb platform for Julius Rix to put the game out of Granta's reach with a quickfire 24. It was the perfect innings for the situation: when he came in John was tiring and we still needed almost a run a ball; by the time he was dismissed, we needed just 10 runs off 3 overs.
These last runs were duly scored, after which we got to spend a very pleasant hour drinking shandies and eating very tasty burgers - just the sort of indulgence befitting a team that's just won its sixth match on the trot. John, having ``batted very well for a ginger'', rang up his dad to boast about his current average (89.00, since you asked, top of the pile at this stage of the season), after which Phil had us salivating at the prospect of hosting a duo of female Morris dancers. But Sally stole the show, going on the record that she hopes ``Geoff never gives up his cricket!'' Before anyone could reply that they ``didn't know he'd ever taken it up'', she distracted everyone by saying something about Viagra, but sadly none of us quite heard what it was.