On yet another glorious May evening, a Remnants X took on a Sharks IX - although both sides had blossomed into full XIs by day's end. Last time the two sides met there was all sorts of administrative anarchy as they tried to play each other using different rules. While this was largely sorted out today, there was still plenty of confusion, not least because we hadn't caught up with the fact that our opposition had changed their name from Shape Data to the much cooler-sounding Sharks.
The match began, as so often this year, with another excellent Remnants opening partnership, as Toms Serby (29 off 37 balls, before he pulled his calf muscle) and Jordan (46 off 32 balls) put on 79 runs off 11 (six-ball) overs. Tom Jordan's innings was so good that the Sharks' players eventually voted it in the top ten scored off their bowling during the season:
But after the Toms' efforts there was a middle-order collapse, which was partly caused by the physical collapse of Russell Woolf (5 off 4 balls), who slipped over when Daniel Mortlock (21* off 19 balls) called him through for what would have been a cheeky bye if not for the fact that poor Russ was sprawled half-way up the pitch. This might make it sound like the wheels were falling off for Remnants, which might have been true, but in this department the Sharks were matching us blow for blow. The highlight was their captain's one over, which began with an LBW from his first ball of the season, included the aforementioned collapse, and ended with so many wides that the umpire gave up calling them (which maybe explains why Shape wanted to play "two runs but no extra ball" for wides last year). The end result of all this was, predictably, yet another healthy Remnants total: 146/6.
Heading out to field there was a general sense that we already had the match won, an impression that steadily strengthened as the Sharks' batsmen struggled to score against tight spells from Paul Jordan (1/23), Les Collings (1/19) and Bryan Lea (2/33). The required run rate was already up to about 8 an over by the half-way mark, and the wickets were starting to tumble, catalysed by the Sharks' kindly-supplied substitute fielder taking a fabulous diving catch at short mid-wicket. The final blow to the Sharks' chase was dealt by Adrian Mellish (4/20), who produced a spell of nicely-flighted in-duckers and reaped the rewards as a succession of batsman made the mistake of playing back and trying to hit across the line. Adrian thus matched Tom's earlier effort by making it to number seven in the Sharks' bowling poll:
Adrian also benefitted from some good fielding (this time by an actual Remnant), when the virtually immobile Tom Serby stuck out his hand to take an effortlessly spectacular catch in the gully. The match petered out with Russ sharing 'round the Remnants bowling, and the final margin of 14 runs made the game sound closer than it really was.
This meant that Remnants had won both its week's external games (and won three in a row, counting last Wednesday's game) for the first time since August 2007. Given our recent totals of 168/6, 172/4 and 146/6, combined with the fact that we haven't even been using all our front-line bowlers, there's every reason to think this happy trend will continue next week.
It also turns out that having a web-site for one's mid-week cricket team is a trend. One of the opposition mentioned that the Remnants web-site had caused a club scandal - not because of something controversial in a write-up, but because the Sharks didn't have one. But a few mouse-clicks later they do, in the form of the Sharks' blog, which includes their take on today's game and, even better, not one, not two, not three, not four, but five different pages of photos from the game. Muchas gracias!