After three wash-outs on the trot, it would have been enough just to have played; as it was we had absolutely ideal conditions for what turned out to be a superbly close game.
Not that it started out that way: having won the toss and batted first we once again struggled against some sharp bowling. Phil Watson (18 off 36 balls) and Julius Rix (16 off 13 balls, and immediately effective despite not having played all season) at least saw to it that we didn't collapse, but with the score just 56/3 after 11 (six-ball) overs it felt like we'd already lost our chance to make a game of it. Ev Fox (18* off 23 balls), Daniel Mortlock (9* off 7 balls) and X Tras (23) managed some degree of acceleration towards the end of the innings, but our brief hope of ending up with more than a run a ball was snuffed out by none other than Dave Norman. Being the groundsman and a member of both clubs it's not clear where his loyalties were; it was, however, clear where his whites weren't as he ran into bowl in bare feet, shorts and a T-shirt. Not that it mattered -- his over leaked a solitary run and ensured that our final total of 109/7 was decidedly sub-par.
Granta's innings began very smoothly, and for a while it seemed that they would chase down our total with the minimum of fuss. The match was slipping away and we needed something to snap us out of this malaise; what we got was a bit of anarchic leadership with Daniel taking a superb outfield catch and then bowling one of the season's most eventful overs (four runs in wides, followed by two wickets, the second of which may or may not have been induced by a head-high beamer the ball before) on his way to 2/23.
Sadly it was just a hiccup rather than full-on indigestion for Granta, and the new batsmen, despite a few edges and dodgy runs, managed to regain the ascendancy, getting to 81/3 after 13 overs (i.e., 29 needed off 42 balls with 7 wickets in hand). The game should have been over at this point; the only thing was that now we had our tails up and, just as in our recent one-run win over The Computer Lab, there were lots field changes, bowling changes, multiple people backing up and a generally opportunistic, optimstic, predatory feel to our actions. Nick Clarke (twice) and Colin Anderson held good close-in catches; Viranga Kekulawla and Daniel Mortlock both scored direct-hit run outs; Johns Gull and Richer, Dave Green and Julius Rix all did some fantastic work on the boundary line; Phil Watson (2/10), Faruk Kara (1/20) and Colin Anderson (1/17) all bowled brilliantly. The result was that we took 4/9 over the next five overs of pure pressure, and were suddenly winning: Granta needed 18 off 12 balls and then 11 from the final over.
Our only mistake was to take one more wicket: this brought Dave Norman (now with shoes) to the crease -- have Cambridge Granta ever had a better number ten? When we tried to keep him off strike he managed a mad dash to a ball that had gone through to the keeper (thus running out his partner in the process). When we tried to give him singles he drove his now rather fearful partners through for the second run. And thus it came down to the final ball: one wicket or a dot ball would win the game for us; one run would result in a tie; and any more runs would see Granta home.
And Dave was facing. He took a few steps down the wicket and smacked the ball towards long on; John Gull hared 'round towards where the ball would fall; he stretched out his hand, but could only let out a cry of frustration when the ball beat both him and the boundary line by a few inches.
Everyone needed a drink after that and all twelve Remnants had thoroughly earned that privelege -- eleven of us for pushing Granta all the way to that final ball, and one of us, would-be ``SuperSub'' Rob Harvey, for strategically announcing he had a groin strain and then hanging 'round for the duration of the match to helpfully explain the on-field dramas to a pretty girl who happened to be watching . . .