Remnants vs. Zoology

Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Fitzwilliam College

Remnants (117/3 in 14 eight-ball overs)
Zoology (66 all out in 12.2 eight-ball overs)
by 51 runs.

Just like last night, Fitzwilliam College's playing fields were bathed in sunlight at 6pm this evening; the difference was that, this time, they hadn't just endured a half-hour soaking, and so play was able to get underway not too long after the ambitious official starting time of 5:30pm.

Daniel Mortlock nervously ponders the possibility of another sub-par total.

Having won the toss and chosen to bat -- or, more correctly, chosen to make Zoology chase in the dark -- we got off to a flying start, courtesy of Dave Williams (23 off 23 balls) and Andrew Lea (46 off 56 balls, to keep his place at the top of the batting averages with just one match to go). The bowling was fast, but fatally inconsistent in width: if the ball wasn't being cut to the boundary by Dave or stroked through the covers by Andrew, it was most likely a leg-side wide (or, in one case, five of them).

Andrew Lea stretching before scoring still more runs.

Dave Williams clubs the ball to the boundary.

Bryan Lea (15* off 20 balls) joined his namesake and kept up the high run rate, and John Gull (9 off 6 balls, coincidentally the number of bats he's broken this year) even managed a promising acceleration until the inevitable crazy third run ended his brief stay at the crease. One result of this was that Matt Hughes (1* off 2 balls) got dumped in the no-win situation of having a non-innings in the final over; another was that we went within 3 runs of our target score of 120 (off 14 eight-ball overs); but, most importantly of all, it meant that John (311 runs at 23.92) kept his nose just in front of Dave Green (46 runs at 23.00) in their personal competition -- hopefully there'll be a chance for a ``bat off'' in next week's Remnants vs. Remnants season closer.

The Fitz clubhouse bathed in glorious sunshine.

With clouds blocking the remaining light our total of 117/3 was looking pretty good; it looked even better after Joe White (2/7) had gotten rid of danger-man George Speller, and, at the other end, Chris McNeill (2/13) had gone within a whisker of a hat-trick. (Well, maybe ``whisker'' isn't quite the right word: with the whole team crowding 'round the bat Chris managed a dismal leg-side wide, easily the worst delivery of his spell.) One of Chris's wickets was a fairly standard mid-week ``slog at a straight one'' but the other was a combination of quick thinking (changing to leg-spin when Zoology's best batsman started to come down the track to the seam-up stuff), cool implementation (cf some of the horrid wides that resulted from some attempted leg-spin later in the innings) and excellent 'keeping by Rob Harvey, who completed the stumping. Rob had a great time with the gloves on, figuring in both our run outs and making a number of great saves; the only black mark was when he stranded another batsman out of his ground, only for Geoff to (correctly) recall the grateful zoologist because Rob had taken the ball in front of the stumps. For his part, Geoff was clearly chuffed to have made a call that most of us would have missed; however pride cameth before the fall when, a few balls later, he realised that he'd omitted to make the requisite ``no ball'' call. Still, it didn't matter too much: the bowler, Alec Armstrong (2/12), dismissed the lucky batsman next ball and then, an over later, produced what might have been the ball of the season, a beuatifully-flighted chinamen (i.e., left-arm wrist spin, like Shane Warne in the mirror, albeit without the five-foot inflatable penis) that pitched about two feet outside off-stump and then spun back to flick a bail off -- so delicate was the impact that the non-striker tried to run a ``bye'', screaming at his dismissed partner to run before the situation was explained to him.

With all this talk of wickets it should be clear that we were winning in a canter; the only potential problem was the lack of light. Fortunately Zoology's tail collapsed even more rapidly than Geoff making a diving save, Daniel Mortlock (2/11) finishing them off with the help of a good catch at point by John Gull (his second of the day) and an heroic effort by Jack Anderson at mid-on, diving forward to take the ball a few inches above the ground before executing a forward roll with the ball clutched between his forearm and chest. This was pretty representative of our efforts in the field today, with everyone having moments of brilliance when the chance came, particularly Dave Williams (tireless on the long boundary), Matt Hughes (sharp as a tack at mid-off and backward square-leg) and Andrew Lea (who repeatedly stopped well-hit shots at short-cover).

Geoff Hales, Dave Williams and Chris McNeill leave the field as the victory is completed.

All that meant a huge 51-run victory and a final ledger of 10 wins and 13 losses in our non-internal evening games -- not too shabby, but only the third time in the club's history that we've ended up ``in the red'', so certainly disappointing in a broader context. Fortunately the post-match chat centred not on cricket, but on Aussie Rules football, thanks to Jack's appearance in a sleek Geelong FC jersey cum muscle-top. For a short time there were fears he'd also try and insert himself into the sport's notoriously tight shorts, but once it was established that there would be no such ``budgie smuggling'' we could move on to more intellectual matters, such as the fact that ``Geelong'' is pronounced ``J'long'', not ``Geeee-long'' as Dave Green had initially assumed.

Daniel Mortlock, flanked by Dave Williams and Joe White, happy to have finally led the side to a victory against ``real'' opposition.