Remnants was supposed to be making its first ever trip to Little Paxton today, but they cancelled (apparently 'cos most of the team wanted to watch the football instead - bet they were hoping for more of a marquee semi-final line-up than The Netherlands vs. Uruguay), leaving us without an opposition or a ground. A quick check through the fixtures list for possible alternative opponents revealed an obvious candidate in The Beehive - our match against them was the season's only wash-out to date. It was quickly established that they were keen, but the proposed venue (Milton's rec) was commandeered by a local under-age team a few days ago. With Fitz unavailable, we were just about ready to give up on the fixture when Sal suggested that we try Caius on that grounds that, since the sad folding of The Computer Lab CC, it's often free on weeknights. Thus Beehive secretary Chris Day (whom we should all thank for the fact we got a game at all) made one last call, and we finally had a venue for tonight's match.
Arriving at the ground, however, it was immediately obvious that it wasn't the Caius we'd got to know and love. Yes, there was the traditional huge square boundary with the pitch off to one side; yes, there was the massive hedge that seems to subsist entirely on stray cricket balls; and, yes, there was the vicious pointy iron fence that is designed to appear climbable while actually being a death trap. However the outfield was bizarrely yellow and dry, looking more like the sort of thing you'd expect to find in a country town in Australia, and the whole place had a strangely dead feel to it.
Whatever the explanation, this was where we to spend the next hour or two, as The Beehive won the toss indicated that Remnants would be taking to the field first. We were competitive early, as Joe White (0/22) and Daniel Mortlock (0/18) beat the bat a number of times and induced plenty of false lofted strokes, but the ball kept landing between the despairing fielders, and there was already a sense that it just wasn't going to be our day. By the end of our opening bowlers' spells the batsmen were starting to defend the good deliveries with confidence and smash the loose balls to the boundary, a pattern that continued largely unabated for the rest of The Beehive innings. Simon McAdam (0/28, having been announced to the scorers as "Rex" by his captain), Quentin Harmer (2/30, and the pick of the bowlers), Daniel Brown (1/29) and John Moore (0/20) all bowled well enough, but overall it was almost as if the entire team had taken a sedative, such was the lack of energy or intensity in the field. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion, a malaise which affected the scoreboard operators as well - they'd been updating the runs nicely, but had fallen behind on the overs, with the comic result of Joe moving to bowl the final over, only to be politely informed that the innings had just ended. All things told, we were probably lucky to have conceded "just" 150/4 from our 20 (six-ball) overs.
Our chase began in much the same soporific vein, with The Beehive fielders forced to wait for a good five minutes before we finally presented them with a couple of batsmen to bowl at. Unfortunately five minutes was also about how long most of our top order lasted: after 6 overs we'd limped to an unimpressive 15/3; after 13 overs we were just 53/4 and the contest was over. Although there was no danger of scoring 98 runs from 42 balls, at least Daniel Brown (19 off 16 balls) showed some real attacking spirit, scoring heavily with some big drives and cuts. After Daniel's dismissal, the match wound down with Richard Rex (44* off 53 balls and now top of the batting averages for the season) and Daniel Mortlock (9* off 16 balls) getting some batting practice while The Beehive players tried to at least make light of what had become a very dull game. After, appropriately enough, one final dot ball, the game was finally put out of its misery with Remnants the samll matter of 53 runs short of The Beehive's total.
The one consolation was that the Caius ground has its own bar, and about twenty Remnants and, er, Bees (?) stayed on to cheer on the Dutch as they made their way to the World Cup final. The more optimistic members of the two teams even tried to find something interesting to say about our own game, although only the visiting Sarah Pelham succeeded. She'd been available but reluctant to play unless we were short, but decided she'd put herself forward more actively in the future, arguing (correctly) that "It's not like I could do any worse!"