Remnants vs. Romsey Town

May 1, 2007
Fitzwilliam College

Remnants (108/8 in 13 eight-ball overs)
Romsey Town (102/7 in 13 eight-ball overs)
by 6 runs.

Cricket being played in glorious conditions. (Today, incidently.)

For the first time in living memory, the Remnants season began not with a wash-out, not with a bunch of rusty cricketers sheltering from icy winds in the clubhouse, but with a bunch of rusty cricketers running around in glorious sunshine. Sharing these ideal conditions with us were our traditional early-season opponents Romsey Town -- or really Romsey Town+, an enhanced hybrid with Remnants regulars Faruk Kara and Jim Higginson filling in, not to mention our super-sub, Dave Norman.

Future Romsey super-subs in the making?

Remnants batted first and immediately starting scoring at Gilchrist-speed (albeit without any squash balls), a surprise every bit as welcome as the pleasant conditions. Nick Clarke (29 off 17 balls, with 4 fours and a six) and John Richer (26 off 33 balls, with 4 fours but sadly no six) found the Romsey bowling very much to their liking and, at 60/1 after 5 (eight-ball) overs, we were cruising.

Matt Hughes and Dave Williams watching the Remnants top order cruise.

Sadly, the rest of the innings wasn't quite so much fun. We didn't score more than a run a ball off any over, and the closest anyone got to double-figures was George Speller (who made it to 9 off 8 balls, only to be caught off a pull-shot that would have gone for six if it hadn't broken the lame-arse club bat he was using). Our final total of 108/8 from 13 overs was no more than competitive, although we had at least scored at over a run a ball, something which we repeatedly struggled to do in last year's sequence of narrow losses.

George Speller may have been using a dud bat, but his footwear couldn't be faulted.

Our time in the field was also story of two halves. We started brilliantly, with Joe White (1/9), George Speller (3/20) and Julian Chilvers (2/20 on debut) causing all the batsmen plenty of problems, and Joe, in particular, simply being too fast. The fielding was also top-notch early-on, with Nick Clarke predatory close-in, Daniel Mortlock catching a full-blooded cut at short cover, and wicket-keeper Mike Francis taking a spectacular juggled catch in his first Remnants game. After 7 overs we'd restricted Romsey to 31/4 (most of which seemed to have come from outside edges), and we were all set up for a monster win to start the season.

At which point Romsey mega-ringer Dave Norman came to the crease, played himself in, and then smacked an awesome 63 (off about 40 balls, with 7 fours and 2 sixes). His efforts unravelled our last hour's good work, not to mention our fielding -- five of Dave's boundaries went through, rather than between, the fielders. Aside from a few half-chances, our most likely way of getting Dave was, naturally, a run out. And we had the perfect opportunity to do so when there was a mix-up so disastrous that Dave had already started to head back to the pavilion as the ball was being lobbed to the distant wicket . . . but, as you've no doubt guessed, we responded with a comparable mix-up of our own and, in the end, there was such a comedy of errors that Dave not only made his ground but eventually managed to get an overthrow as well.

The last over began with Romsey needing 21 to win; after 2 2 . 2 6 that had become 9 needed off 3 balls and we had our first thriller of the year. And then a slice of luck finally went our way: Dave got bowled by a rank full-toss, leaving Remnants winners by 6 precious runs -- unlike in the corresponding fixture two years back there was no Paul Jordan miracle last-ball six to tie this game.

It probably had to end like that -- as Dave himself said, Geoff would never have spoken to him again if he'd single-handedly beaten Remnants, and mutual silent treatment would have made organising next year's fixtures difficult, to say the least. And, even more importantly, it would have given Geoff a moral excuse for not buying rounds at the bar post-match -- whereas today he had a medical one, being away on doctor's orders whilst recovering (very well) from his hip-polishificaterization. That left the rest of us to watch the Champions' League semi-final between Liverpool and Chelski, which went all the way through extra-time to penalties, and it wasn't much before midnight that the last Remnants headed home (possibly to find the locks changed).

Les Collings and Julian Chilvers talk off-spin.