For the fourth game in a row we had ourselves new opposition. Today it was Shape Data, returning to Fitzwilliam College for the first time since 2004's six-a-side tournament, but this time with a full eleven, as well as a twelfth man. We also had a twelfth man, and for a while it seemed Chris McNeill was going to get a full game for his trouble . . . until a sheepish-looking Tom Jordan appeared an over into the game.
By this stage Alex Brown (1/8) had already made the first breakthrough, after which Les Collings (1/13), Adrian Mellish (3/29) and Russell Woolf (1/27) turned the screws to have Shape in all sorts of trouble at 29/6. At this stage it seemed the only interest in the game was in whether we could break some all-time Remnants records: Shape were still to pass Corpus Christi's record low total of 29 all out; Adrian still had ten balls to get a fourth, fifth or even sixth wicket; and Andy Owen, with three stumpings already, seemed to be odds-on to be the first Remnant to effect five dismissals in a game. A few boundaries against the run of the play put paid to the first of these possibility, but they felt like flukey anomalies, and certainly no cause for bother . . . whereas, in fact, they were a portent of how we'd be spending the rest of the innings, as one J. Thorpe played one of the greatest lone-hands we've ever seen, smashing 68 undefeated runs to bring Shape back into the game. Daniel Mortlock (2/13) and Bryan Lea (0/11) managed to slow him down a bit towards the end, but he'd already done enough to take Shape to a respectable 123/8 as we'd gone from total dominance to being only marginal favourites.
Our chase began pretty quietly, openers Tom Jordan (25) and Bryan Lea (39) nurdling and nudging the ball into the gaps, but getting full value for their shots with some excellent running between the wickets. With the help of an incredible 35 extras they eventually compiled a careful 72-run opening partnership at just under a run a ball. We were obviously in the ascendancy, and yet there was a growing sense of tension in the pavilion as the required rate stayed above a run a ball -- as long as we failed to finish Shape off there was the possibility that a one or two quick wickets would suddenly see the pressure on us. And, sure enough, we lost three wickets in the space of a dozen balls; and what was going to be a complete rout an hour earlier was going right to the wire. Beginning the 12th (eight-ball) over on 91/3 we still needed 33 off 32 balls, and with two new batsmen at the crease we were just one bad over away from losing. But then Rupert Brown (18*) finally killed off the match with a few stunning cover drives, leaving Andy Owen (10*) with the trivial task of hitting 2 runs from the final over, which he duly did with the minimum of fuss.
For the fourth time this year we ended a week with one win and one loss, continuing the pattern observed last week, and taking our season's tally to four wins and five losses. Obviously it would be nice to win both matches next week, but, with tough matches against The Computer Laboratory and then Cambridge Granta, it'll be a pretty good effort to split the week's results once again.