When George Speller was asked to open the batting today he put his pads on in almost record time and then started rumaging 'round in the kit for, it turned out, a box. His reponse upon being asked why he didn't bring his own was that "my box doesn't fit in my sack", in which case he's been using it all wrong, and must surely be better off without it. Either way, George strode out to the middle and saw to it that the game immediately exploded into life by smashing a joyous 44 off 22 eventful deliveries. With Faruk Kara (7 off 11 balls, when he could get the strike) he took the score to 53/0 off 4 (eight-ball) overs, at which point disaster struck.
The Computer Lab made the most effective of bowling changes, bringing on an in-swing merchant who induced a team hat-trick and nabbed 3/4 off his 3 overs, an amazing effort in the context of a game during which the other bowlers conceded an average of 11.3 runs per (eight-ball) over. Joe White (42) and Daniel Mortlock (28) then put together a scrappily effective 73-run partnership with all the elegant hitting that might be expected of, well, a couple of bowlers. Joe missed out on his maiden Remnants fifty when he was unluckily run out while backing up (which always seems to happen at this ground), after which Phil Watson stroked 10* in the final over to take us to 164/6, our highest total of the season so far.
After last week's ten-wicket thrashing there wasn't much danger of anyone entertaining notions of "certain victory", especially when we started losing balls over the short boundary, largely courtesy of one Martyn Livett. If that names sounds ominously familiar then perhaps you were involved in our previous fixture against The Computer Lab, in which Martyn smashed an imperious century and all-but single-handedly chased down our "imposing" total of 157.
Martyn seemed to pick up where he left off last time, scoring almost at will, despite Joe (1/13) and Daniel (2/18) continuing their effective partnership by removing some of Martyn's partners, and George continuing his good day with a run out from the Jundland Wastes of the long boundary. And it was the wide open spaces in front of the pavilion that were causing the most trouble, with both both Nick Clarke and Max Shone limping back to the square after going on over-ambitious chases.
This led to the day's true comedy moment (although arguments can be made for the "box into sack" horror) when we all watched a well-struck cover drive fly to the boundary . . . and then stop about a foot inside it. The batsmen had already run three when Dave Green realised what was going on and hared off in pursuit. By the time the relay throw came in the batsmen had long-since completed their sixth run and even had the cheek to call "wait" for a potential seventh before deciding to be content with, it bears repeating, an all-run six.
Dave then called on George "The Pool Boy" Speller one last time, with the predictable result: a wicket second ball, a few dot balls to Martyn, and a two over spell of 1/9 which put us in an almost undefeatable position. The reason it was only "almost unasailable" was that Mr Livett was still scoring at will and seemed perfectly capable of getting the 28 required off the final over. The unlucky bowler was Bryan Lea, who'd already been hit for 40 off his first two overs and, when his second ball was whacked back over his head for a straight six, it was hard not to fear the worst. But the next ball he got his revenge: M. Livett, bowled B. Lea, for 103. Bryan thus got to finish the game off with a sequence of dot balls and we came back from our ten-wicket and hundred-run defeats with what, at least statistically, was a comfortable 20 run victory.