Given the strong links between Remnants and The Cavendish (primarily that about a dozen of us do or have worked there), it's no surprise that we were able to access their pre-match planning e-mails, and the use of phrases like ``only nine players so far'' and ``Does anyone have any wicket-keeping experience?'' suggested we were all set for a rare victory over our alma pater today. Also contained in these missives was the fact that they planned to congregate at Fitz at 5:30pm -- and, true to their word, they outnumbered us nine to, erm, two a little before match time. And so it was just as well that Rupert Brown (our fourth captain in just five matches this year) won the toss, enabling us to bat while we slowly accreted our full eleven.
Dave Williams (20 off 18 balls, with 3 fours) got us off to a great start before falling to a stunning return catch, after which Daniel Mortlock and Bryan Lea kept up the momentum without ever really breaking free. In part this was because all The Cavendish bowlers got prodigous amounts of swing, although a corollary of this was that they struggled with their line, sending down an impressive total of 25 wides. There would have been more but for the fact that Daniel kept hitting balls three feet outside off-stump (generally straight to cover), although he finished up completing what sounds like a superb all-round performance, adding two wickets to his 66* (off 64 balls, with 7 fours). Unfortunately the two wickets were the run outs of Bryan (18 off 23 balls, with 3 fours) and Lindsay Blickem (2 off 4 balls, before being forced into an ``ambitious'' second run), and he almost managed to equal Tony Malik's record of three in an innings when he called Ben Armitage (2* off 4 balls) through for a few mad byes to the 'keeper. Still, such inelegances were secondary to the fact that we finished up with a decidedly healthy score of 145/4.
Our hard-earned total was quickly put into perspective, however, when The Cavendish's late-arriving opener, Brett Miller, a Granta II team-mate of Dave Norman, began their innings with 5 consecutive fours. At that rate they would have passed our total in the fifth over -- and even though we lifted our game, the bottom line was that it mattered little what we did while he was at the crease. He had so much time for his shots it was almost as if he was able to press pause while the ball was in flight, choose a gap in the field, and then continue with the stroke. His full innings of 4 4 4 4 4 1 4 2 . 6 . . . 1 4 1 1 . 1 1 1 1 1 4 4 . 6 6 4 . 1 2 1 1 . 1 W makes for rather daunting reading (20* off 5 balls; 33* off 10 balls; 69* off 29 balls and, eventually, 75 off 37 balls), although that little ``W'' at the end of the sequence does at least imply a ray of hope. This came when Bryan Lea (1/12) came on third change and finally induced some false strokes, one of which took the top edge and was superbly caught by 'keeper Dave Green. Richard Rex also managed a fantastic diving catch, and Ben Armitage made some great stops close-in as we at least kept it together in the field. Ben backed up his efforts with the best bowling figures of the day (1/2), even if he was, for the second match in a row, given the thankless task of bowling the ``just 2 runs needed now'' over that's almost guaranteed to remain uncompleted.
And so it came to pass: the department that sired Remnants once again handed out a decisive thrashing to the club it spawned. About the only real difference today was that the name of our chief tormentor had changed: substituting ``Ben Miller'' for ``Arindam Ghosh'' in the match report from five years ago could have cut down on the typing, 'cos today saw the same old story play itself out once again. At least all the free-scoring meant that there were post-match two jugs (that somehow bred into three) on offer, even if the drinking time was limited by the miserably cold wind that had started to whip across the ground by game's end.