This might turn out to have been the most glorious day of this wettest of summers and, with Fitzwilliam College's playing grounds immaculately mown, there could be no finer environment in which to spend a few hours playing out an evening cricket match. Which, of course, makes it all the more tragic that our nominal opposition, The Cavendish Laboratory, had somehow contrived to organise three separate games today, and were at Churchill trying to decide who, out of the two opposition teams that had turned up there, they would play. So that left eleven exasperated Remnants with nothing better to do tha--
Hang on, hang on, did I say eleven Remnants? Well that's not quite right, for almost the entire Rex clan was in attendance: patriach Richard; Remnants regular Olly; and his brothers Henry, Sebastian and Ferdinand. Without the Rices (cf ``indices'', although Richard has stated authoritatively that the Latin plural would be ``Reges'') we would have been stuck with one of those crappy double-wicket competitions where nobody cares about getting out and bowls left-handed and that sort of thing. As it was we had the man-power (well, man- and boy-power) to mount a pretty respectable internal game. There was talk of picking teams like in primary school (you know, where there's always the fear of being in that group of three or four at the end who's offered up to the other side with a dismissive ``you can have the rest''), but eventually Geoff took on the selectorial duties with, as it happened, Saturday league captains Nick Clarke (of Fen Ditton) and Andy Owen (of Romsey Town) taking charge of what, for the duration of this report, will be known as Rem Ditton and Remsey Town. And even though it was nominally only seven-a-side, substitutes were used to ensure both teams had at least nine fielders at all times, and Geoff's stern warning that ``this will count for the averages'' saw to it that everyone played properly, even not quite with the intensity of an external game.
Remsey Town took to the field first, with Andy handing the ball to his strike weapon, Joe White. Joe started off the game with its only maiden and, during the course of his spell, beat the outside edge too often to count, as well as hitting it three times (two of which went to the boundary, and one of which would have but for slamming into John Gull's knee at first slip). He looked like a broken man by the time he retired with cruelly unrewarded figures of 4 overs, 1 maiden 0/11, and there was no way he could have known that he'd finish the day as the luckiest man on the field.
Joe's oponents in this early duel were surprise openers Faruk Kara and Daniel Mortlock, sent out by Nick Clarke on the grounds that they ``haven't batted much this season''. Daniel thus herded Faruk off to face first at the northern end, where he remained for the next 39 balls before they finally changed ends (as Joe's spell was coming to an end, conveniently). After scoring just 11 off the 21 balls he faced from Joe, Faruk then had a much more enjoyable time of it, scoring at a run a ball for the rest of his innings, before being bowled for 44 (off 53 balls). The breakthrough was made by Andy Owen (1/26) who, having taken off his 'keeping pads and strapped himself up in a ``truss'', took his team's only wicket. But that was maybe a mistake, as it brough Nick Clarke to the crease, and he slapped a rather violent 38* (off 22 balls). Combined with Daniel's 52* (off 45 balls), Nick's hitting took his team past the pre-innings aim of 150 with one ball to spare.
151 seemed a pretty hefty target, even with the big gaps in the field, an impression that was only reinforced when Rices Olly (1/21) and Henry (1/19) got early wickets, Henry's scalp being that of his dad, Richard (9 off 10 balls), brilliantly caught by 'keeper Dave Green. This brought John Gull and Joe White together, and they started slapping boundaries all over the place, scoring at way more than the required rate, and going a long way to winning the game for Remsey Town.
They were slowed down a little by Ferdinand Rex (0/9, to go with the best ground fielding of the day) and Daniel Mortlock (1/19), whose battle with John saw both bowler and batsman playing silly buggers before John missed a straight one to be bowled for 35 (off 36 balls). This began what was, in a game where six down was all out, a major collapse. Faruk Kara (1/23) and Nick Clarke (1/17) both got wickets, Nick's coming off his first ball when Matt Hughes hammered a full toss for what would have been a superb flat six, but for the fact it was directed straight at the boundary fielder Nick had explicitly moved into exactly that position before starting his over.
At the other end Joe White had also been hitting plenty of aerial shots to fielders, being dropped some five or six times at long-on (not to mention having survived being ``bowled'' by a ball which shaved the stumps but didn't dislodge a bail). Of course Joe also hit plenty of shots between the fielders, and seemed determined to take his revenge on the world for his earlier misfortunes. And when Andy Owen joined him with 23 runs needed off 18 balls it was pretty clear that Remsey Town's chase was going to be successful, even if Rem Ditton's appeals for the light had some merit. Geoff, unsurprisingly, reacted with disinterest to these requests, and within a few minutes was signalling the four with which Andy (12* off 9 balls) took his side to victory. But it was Joe who was clapped from the ground, having made his highest score in any form of cricket, 80* from just 45 balls.
That also meant a second jug in consecutive matches for Joe, and so he led the drinking which, although scarcely epic, continued well past a worryingly early sunset. It was also the end of July, a damp squib of a month that seems to have been all cancellations and one-sided matches against under-manned opponents, so let's hope that August (which starts with our final away game, against The Philanderers at The Purse School) doesn't follow suit.