Coming into today's game, an electronic look at the club's records revealed that The Technology Partnership had never beaten Remnants, the 15 fixtures between the two clubs resulting in 11 Remnants wins, 1 draw and 3 cancellations. And even though most of our TTP fixtures were way back in the nineties, when we played them last season after a seven-year gap, the result was once again the most comfortable of Remnants victories. It thus seemed reasonable to expect we might be able to extend our 2010 winning streak to five today, although at 6pm the lack of TTP players (just four were present) suggested we might be incrementing the number of cancellations instead. In the end a full eleven turned up, and the fact that we were the more punctual team (for once) was rather convienient, as it was always our intention to field first while it was merely very cold.
The next hour passed pretty uneventfully: we bowled quite well without ever threatening to take heaps of wickets; they scored boundaries at a reasonable rate without ever seemingly likely to post a monster total; and the world just continued rotating at its usual rate. Our most successful bowlers were Daniel Mortlock (2/15, in three different spells) and Dave Williams (2/16, despite being asked to bowl his first spell for the year with just ten seconds' warning), although probably the most enjoyable moment was when Deepak Gajjala (1/20) induced Remnants traitor Julius Rix into what can only be described as an "ugly mow" that was duly caught at mid-wicket. Liam Vasey (0/18) impressed with his pace on debut and Andy Owen (1/5) was as miserly as ever, but when TTP's innings ended on 117/7, it felt as if we'd let them score a dozen more runs than they should have.
Still, anything under a run a ball is clearly below par in these evening twenty/20 (or, in this case, fifteen/15) games, even if the opposition do have a very sharp and accurate Antipodean (with the rather menacing name of Clint) opening the bowling for them. He was primarily responsible for restricting us to just 5/1 off 3 (eight-ball) overs, as our top order of Sean Dennis (2 off 12 balls), Tom Serby (19 off 20 balls) and Martin Law (9 off 24 balls) struggled to survive. But the real problem was that we didn't accelerate once the TTP openers ended their spells, and by the end of the 9th over we were just 46/3, and now needed a daunting 72 off just 48 balls.
We did at least have the ideal pair of batsmen to get us back into match: experienced Granta run-machine Liam Vasey (31* off 27 balls) and uber-finisher Andy Owen (15 off 14 balls). They started hitting boundaries and stealing runs most effectively, although while Andy was lucky to survive a calling meltdown that saw the "primary" fielder and the guy backing up the keeper both have him stranded well out of his ground, he was similarly unlucky to be run out by said Antipodean when he made a remarkable dive, pick-up and throw. And while Liam survived the running anarchy, his chance for instant Remnants immortality was taken from him when he passed 30 and thus had to retire, according to the rules du jour. Mark Henare, playing his first Remnants innings, had earlier expressed the desire to "come in with 18 needed off 3 balls", and now sadly his wish had come true. He couldn't manage the big boundaries that would have had us carrying him from the ground, and instead had to be content with a surprisingly effective 0* (off 5 balls) in which he (and John Moore, a similar 0* off 2 balls) advanced our cause exclusively by running byes and leg-byes. Obviously this wasn't enough to get the near-impossible 24 we needed off the last over, but it was highly effective in its own right, and the real irony was that we'd have won if we'd found a way to nick runs like this earlier in the innings.
The final result - that we lost by 18 runs - was a fair reflection of the two teams' efforts today, and represents close to a hundred-run turn-around on last year by a clearly much stronger TTP team than those we'd been used to. Members of both teams huddled together for warmth as we tried to melt our frozen post-match beers, but optimisitc TTP supremo Fred Hussain suggested that it should be nice and warm when our two sides play again on June 15. It's a nice thought, but in that case we'll have to also hope that revenge is a dish that, while best served cold, can also be enjoyed at warmer temperatures . . .