After Rob Harvey's run of ten consecutive Remnants games and the club's six-game winning streak both came to end against Engineering last week, the dark clouds in the sky and puddles on the ground this morning suggested that the weather was going to finish our sequence of eleven uninterrupted fixtures today. But it it never did rain, and whilst it was grey and cold at Queens' College's distant playing fields, our match against The Beehive proceeded unimpeded.
Remnants took to the field and were on top from ball one as George Speller (0/12), Kiran Sakhamuri (0/15) and Daniel Mortlock (1/11) repeated their triple act from the the Selwyn game (which, presumably coincidentally, was also played in the badlands south of Barton Road). After 10 (six-ball) overs The Beehive were just 37/1 and it was already hard to imagine them posting a challenging total.
Still, the score was than tripled in the second half of the innings as The Beehive's unconventional left-handed opener frustrated us by repeatedly walking across his stumps and paddling almost every ball to leg. We responded with various combinations of leg-slips, fine-legs, leg-gullies, square-legs, backward-square-legs and long-legs but, despite twice being dropped in that area, he just kept playing these shots on his way to a quite remarkable 40. He was eventually dismissed when Russell Woolf (2/25) lured him down the track and 'keeper Andy Owen "did the rest" (as they say on television). Quentin Harmer (1/23) and Julius Rix (1/24) also got wickets as good outfield catches were held by Jamie Smith (a spinning top-edge at point), Deepak Gajjala (a solid take after the batsman managed to pick him out in a bizarre deep-wide-mid-off position) and Daniel Mortlock (a decent diving catch that was converted into something more spectacular when the ball bobbled out of his hands but not out of his reach). The late flurry of runs notwithstanding, The Beehive can't have been happy with their rather unimposing total of 113/6.
Our opponents' total seemed even less imposing after a few overs of destructive batting by George Speller, who picked up where he left off against Churchill, smashing 67 off just 43 balls despite wearing a ridiculous beanie for most of the match. His innings included several enormous sixes back over the bowlers' heads, although maybe even more fun were a pair of twos he scored after dropped catches: in both cases the batsmen ran a forlorn one with the ball in the air and then a delighted second when the fielders exhibited their frustration with some bad throws. George was, perhaps inevitably, caught in the end, but not before he'd dominated a 99-run opening stand that took just 83 balls. His partner/spectactor was Daniel Mortlock, who mis-hit his way to 32 off 45 balls, having seemingly picked up where he'd left off against Mott-MacDonald almost a year ago to the day. Their basic modus operandum was for Daniel to survive the first over from each new bowler with a series of tentative defensive shots, only for George to smash several similar deliveries to the boundary two overs later. Daniel was out soon after George, but even with two new batsmen at the crease there shouldn't have been any difficulties scoring 7 more runs from 4 overs.
But a new paragraph signifies a twist, and the match became implausibly exciting as it neared its conclusion, The Beehive taking two more wickets and delivering a succession of dot balls while the Remnants middle order repeatedly played and missed. Somehow it really felt like we might fail to win, especially when we were one ball away from playing out the 18th over as a maiden with 3 runs still needed. Fortunately Richard Rex (4* off 13 balls) was presented with a juicy wide which ended the match by flying past the 'keeper and all the way to the boundary.
Phew . . . although really it was a pretty comfortable Remnants victory despite those last few overs of unnecessary stress. At the risk of getting cocky, our bowlers were more menacing than The Beehive's, we held more of the chances that came our way, and we (well, George) batted better, too. As we bask in the happy situation of having won 8 (and tied 1) of our 12 games this season, there's maybe a bit of extra pleasure to be had from the fact that, rather unusually for a club that tends to have either "batting years" or "bowling years", we've succeeded in all three of cricket's main disciplines so far this season: