After two tribes of a dozen Remnants were pitted against each other in last night's internal match, we found ourselves up against an FAS side containing no fewer than five Remnants tonight (or seven, if you count the two substitute fielders we provided). But, in contrast with the corresponding fixture in 2006, the turncoats didn't perform too well for their new masters today, recording unattractive bowling figures of 10 overs, 0 maidens, 2/69 and then failing to register a single run between them.
As the above figures suggest, the Remnants top order once again scored heavily, with Dave Williams (55 off 52 balls) and Nick Clarke (47* off 52 balls) leading the way with a 96-run opening stand. Not that it was all plain-sailing, with both batsmen having to overcome plenty of obstacles along the way. Dave (who's recovering from knee surgery) defied the laws of cricket to begin the match with a runner, only to race off for a quick single from the first ball of the match. He eventually realised his error but was stranded mid-pitch, and would have been run out by yards if the FAS 'keeper had realised what was going on. After that Dave got his big pulls and drives going, to the point where he was comfortably out-scoring Nick, something you don't see every day. He also tried to maintain a a one-third share in the calling, even when he wasn't on strike, and it's a minor miracle that nobody was run out.
Both Nick and Dave had to deal with some quality bowling, and their long innings were a testament not only to their determination, but also some woeful FAS catching, both batsmen being given a number of chances. However this was not mere good fortune, as captain Russell Woolf had cleverly offered the injured Bryan Lea as a substitute fielder, and he duly outdid Faruk Kara's effort against UCLES in 2004 to reprieve both our top-scorers, rather than just one of them. After Dave was eventually dismissed our total was just 96/1 after 16 (six-ball) overs, and a sub-130 total was on the cards. But then Dave's two runners, George Speller (22 off 15 balls) and Martin Law (6* off 3 balls, including an exquisite flick to leg), put on some critical late runs to lift us to 146/2.
Unfortunately FAS's opening partnership matched Nick and Dave's almost run for run, although we were suddenly back in the game when Les Collings (2/29) dismissed both of them in quick succession. One of the wickets was Les's "bowled from 24 yards" special; the other was notable for it being the first ever Remnants stumping by surprise 'keeper Tom Jordan. Overall we did pretty well in the field, with Martin Law, Dave Norman, George Speller and Julius Rix repeatedly preventing second runs in the outfield . . . although the fact that all the good work was done so far from the bat perhaps illustrates that we were generally on the back foot, and we almost matched FAS's butter-fingered efforts when it came to taking catches. With the required rate still above a run a ball with 5 overs left George Speller (1/20) gave us a sniff of a chance, but even Dave Norman (0/25) couldn't prevent FAS from scoring the 6 runs they needed from the final over.
So that makes it four losses on the trot for Remnants (although it looks like five on the fixtures list due to the intervening internal game), almost matching our winning streak a month ago. We have our third consecutive Remnants-heavy match next week when we take on John Hill's XI in a charity match in honour of our club president, who sadly died a few months ago.