Today was the second leg of our quick-fire pair of home and away fixtures against Tektronix. We'd won a slightly anarchic match on a sun-dried Girton College pitch a few weeks ago; today we were back at Fitz, which was looking seriously green for the first time in months.
We won the toss and chose to bat but, as so often of late, the start of our innings was a struggle. Richard Rex (15 off 28 balls) and Andy Owen (11 off 7 balls) had to deal with some lively and tight Tektronix bowling, and a total of 32/1 after 6 (eight-ball) overs did not auger well. Our middle order of Tom Serby (29 off 28 balls) and Julius Rix (30* retired off 22 balls) found things a little easier, although Julius was unfortunate to have smacked a massive six when on 24, thus ensuring his instant retirement when a four would have allowed him to keep on batting. The overall Remnants luck ledger was more than balanced a little later, however, when Tom, who was lying on the grass in front of the pavilion trying to fix his back, remained oblivious to another huge six that smashed into the brickwork just few feet over his head. As a result of all these boundaries we were now a much healthier 79/3 after 10, and could at least aspire to a sensible 120+ total.
But Andy, now umpiring, was absolutely confident we were a good bet to get 140+, and even suggested placing a wager on that outcome. And it turned our he was being pessimistic, as Tektronix ran out of bowlers to fatal effect. Daniel Mortlock (24* off 12 balls) and Ev Fox (11* off 7 balls) were able to compile a ridiculously easy dot-free partnership as they pulled a succession of long-hops and full-tosses to the boundary. The biggest challenge we faced during these last overs was when the ball found its way through the fence on the north side of the ground: after the Tektronix fielders looked without joy, a Remnants search party of Olly and Richard Rex and Simon McAdam spent ten muddy minutes going beyond the call of duty as they scoured the ground-side ditch with the sort of zeal usually reserved for police evidence hunts. They never did find the ball, but the batsmen kept finding the boundary, as we all but doubled our score in the last third of the innings.
We came out into the field confident we could defend 157, although the first innings had taken so long that we really wanted to bowl out Tektronix in under 15 overs if we could. And whilst a few cheap wickets from their non-cricketers seemed likely, none of us expected the scoreboard to read 3/3 after the first over. Olly Rex (3/10) bowled one batsmen; 'keeper Ev Fox god rid of another with a superb leg-side stumping; and Tom Jordan completed an easy run out from square leg (albeit with the help of Ev's telescopic arms as he brought down the high-altitude throw from nine feet above the stumps). Alec Armstrong (2/14) then joined in the fun, while Chris McNeill (0/16) and Simon McAdam (0/10) were unlucky to go wicketless. Simon did at least get to take a nice catch at sqaure-leg, although also had the worst case of "end confusion" in what was a team-wide epidemic as calls for fielders to throw to "Bowler! Bowler!" inevitably preceded mis-directed, if generally good, throws to the 'keeper.
Still, our fielding was generally top-notch, and after 6 overs we had reduced Tektronix to 32/6. The only battle now was against the light: thick grey clouds were covering the ground and it was getting harder and harder to pick up the ball. What we needed was a slow but deceptive leg-spinner to finish the innings off . . . and that's just what we got, Tom Jordan (4/11) repeatedly beating - or catching - the outside edge of a sequence of tentatively out-stretched bats. One of the Tektronix lower order was heard to claim that Tom "wasn't turning it much - most of them are straight and slow, but an occasional ball has fizz on it" which, if correct, would imply that Tom'd get some really good figures if he ever turned it properly . . .
Whatever, we successfully administered the coup de gras(s) with 27 balls remaining, which gave us plenty of time to feel our way to the bar in the gloom.