Rather than just ambling out onto the field in dribs and drabs as usual, today we began by clustering in a tight circle, albeit definitely not a huddle. What it was, in fact, was an impromptu team introduction for Olly Rex, new to Remnants and not only a last-minute replacement, but actually young and fit and stuff like that. Despite some nerves, he bowled pretty well, being unlucky to finish up wicketless (having gone within a whisker of bowling a class batsman first ball), and he also fielded tightly . . .
. . . which, happily, everyone else did too, None of the bowlers could break through, although Mike Jones (0/14), Paul Jordan (0/15), Stas Shabala (0/24) and Daniel Mortlock (0/5) all conceded no more than a run a ball, and the latter two both scored nifty run-outs when over-ambitious singles were attempted. The standard of ground-fielding was high more generally, as well, with Stas (again) and Dave Williams superb sweeping the square boundaries, Paul, Jim Higginson and Russell Woolf all making some sharp pick-ups closer in, and Ev Fox being up to the task of taking a worrying number of led-side deliveries (for the most part). The one problem area was our catching, a couple of straightforward chances going to ground for no apparent reason and John Gull managing to take a harder-hit chance square on the chin, the result being a nicely blood-stained shirt and an immediate demotion to boundary-riding. Such drama was, however, highly uncharacteristic of an innings which had all the excitement of nap time at primary school -- everything felt like it was happening in a slow-motion heat haze, with the chilled-out batsmen apparently satisfied to just accumulate runs at whatever rate they happened to come.
The resultant total of 118 was, of course, not much of a target; however we had to chase it with a line-up of of bowlers (e.g., several regulars didn't even get to turn their arm over today, such was the glut) who were a bit short of batting form. Amazingly, no-one in today's team was averaging over 30.00 this year, and only three had even passed 60 runs for the season. And then when two of that three were back in the pavilion by the end of the third over . . .
. . . the middle order were left having to score off some niggling bowling while avoiding unnecessary risks. The result made the Philanderers' steady innings look positively anarchic by comparison, and by the end of the 12th over we had yawned our way to 39/4, and the game was over. John Gull (42 off 48 balls, despite borderline dehydration that probably had little to do with his cut chin and more to do with two hours' sleep the night before) and Rupert Brown (12* off 18 balls) did manage to save a little face, and Olly Rex finished his debut game by going down in a blaze of glory (charging down the track to a slow bowler in what seemed to be a welcome act of defiance), but that was about it.
The dispiriting nature of our failure (again: falling 30 runs short of a small target defended by an attack which was no more than tight) perhaps explains the fact that only four of us stayed behind for a drink; conversely it's possibly similarly unsurprising that almost all The Philanderers did. At which point I noticed that they were all decked out in identical kit with ``Philanderers CC'' neatly embroidered over the left nipple; perhaps what we need to ressurrect our season is similarly sharp Remnants uniform . . . or even, god forbid, a pre-match huddle . . .