In one of those strange coincidences that seem to occur remarkably often in cricket, today's match against The Woozlers was almost identical to last Tuesday's against the alphabetically proximal Watsonians. In both games we scored 140-odd/4 and then out-lasted an opposition replete with big hitters to win by 30-ish runs. Neither match was very exciting, and the weather on the two nights was of the gloomily overcast variety, but the key point in both cases was the all-too-rare fact that Remnants CC won a game of cricket.
For the second time in two weeks it was a joy to watch the top order hit out, clearly putting the run rate ahead of both personal averages and any fantasies of batting ``properly''. John Gull (18 off 17 balls), Dave Williams (26 off 29 balls) and Ev Fox (18 off 20 balls) all got starts but it was our strike bowler, Joe White, who went on with it. He was welcomed to the crease with a nasty blow to the arm, only to smash a four off the next ball; a little later he played the shot of the innings (a sub-orbital straight six), and he was finally clapped from the ground having made 54 runs off just 42 balls. Paul Jordan (10* off 12 balls) then made the most of his brief opporunity to strike a few lusty blows at the death, thus ensuring that Remnants passed the 140 for the second match in a row.
It certainly seemed likely to be enough on what was a soft and sticky wicket (even if one square boundary was extremely short), and that was just as well given the quality of our half-hearted fielding drills. The nadir was when one of Faruk's warm-up deliveries went a bit wrong, the ball flying off precisely in the direction of the back of Tom Jordan's head, only being deflected at the last second by an already rather damaged finger.
In addition to such shenanigans we also found out that The Woozlers line-up included four or five potentially match-winning batsmen, two of whom had combined to inflict a ten-wicket defeat on us earlier this year. Indeed, a number of very classy boundaries were hit over the next twenty overs; the only problem (from The Woozlers' point of view) was that just about everything else was a dot ball, and wickets were falling every two overs or so.
Bryan Lea (1/13) added yet another ultra-economical spell to his CV; Joe White (1/11) completed a fine all-round performance off his short run; Paul Jordan (2/33) succeeded despite having half a dozen chances dropped off his bowling; and Faruk Kara (2/12) was considerably more accurate than in practice a little earlier. The fielding wasn't that great today -- at least ten chances were grassed -- although Dave Green, Bryan Lea and Ev Fox also managed critical takes.
Not that it mattered -- with two overs remaining all that stood between us and dismissing the undermanned Woozlers was three-and-a-half feet of precocious seven-year-old. He saw off successive overs from Daniel Mortlock (1/23), Tom Jordan (0/2) and Stas Shabala (0/6 and yes, yet another Remnants debut for the year) and was somehow sufficiently intimidating that only Stas managed to avoid bowling a wide in the process.
It was a very comfortable victory (even if not quite full revenge for the aforementioned ten-wicket humiliation), and means we're still in with an outside chance of getting the season into the black. Allowing for rain we should play about six more external fixtures: can we win at least three more than we lose? If nothing else it would make a pretty challenging mission for August.