The day dawned warm and sunny -- ideal conditions for our much anticipated internal game -- but with every hour the temperature dropped, the sky darkened and the rain became ever more likely. As we congregated at the ground Geoff mentioned that Dave had told Tony that someone had said the rain wouldn't arrive until after sunset . . . and so it was, Dave Williams's Captain's Selection and Daniel Mortlock's Vice-Captain's Choice playing out an uninterrupted game to get Remnants Week off to a successful start.
The Selection batted first and, after Alex Brown (1/14) took a wicket in the first over, Phil Watson (25) and erstwhile Remnants captain John Richer (24) both played very stylishly and took the score along to 66 without further bother. Daniel Mortlock (3/13) and Les Collings (1/27) then brought the Choice back into the match as 4 wickets fell for just 13 runs, Remnants debutante Andy Peel contributing with safe hands at mid on, and Remnants stalwart Ev Fox contributing with safe knees behind the stumps. Any hopes the Choice might have had that the Selection would fold were dashed by Julius Rix (41*) and Andy Owen (24*, his eighth consecutive not out), who put on 67 runs off just 43 balls, Julius smashing boundaries to all parts of the ground whilst Andy rotated the strike. The Choice were run ragged in the field, but Alex Brown, Andy Peel and James Morgan all did great work on their respective boundaries.
Whatever small chance the Choice had of chasing the Selection's total of 146 was snuffed out almost immediately when Joe White (0/9, with two maidens to start off) and Faruk Kara (0/14) were sufficiently economical that the required run rate was already into double figures after 8 overs.
The all too predictable result was a couple of ridiculous run outs, after which Tony Malik (14), Rupert Brown (34) and James Morgan (32) mounted something of a recovery. Phil Watson (2/29) and Dave Williams (1/6) then took the critical wickets that ensured their team's victory, although Dave Green (10*) had the last laugh, hitting Phil for consecutive boundaries in the final over.
Thus the Captain's Selection ran out comfortable, if predictable, winners, after which all twenty players (and a few extras) posed for the annual club photograph. After that we crowded into the bar to scoff Dave's plentiful sandwiches and watch the last stage of tonight's Euro 2004 group matches. Tragically the 2-2 draw between Sweden and Denmark meant that Italy didn't make it to the quarter finals, and it was very touching to see the sympathetic reaction when the Italian striker's face turned from triumph to despair as he realised that his extra time goal was in vain.