It seems many of the two-dozen Remnants who attended today's internal match wanted to express their point of view to the wider world (or at least the few Remnants who weren't able to attend). Here's the story of the day in quotes from Dave Williams, Richard Rex, Sally Hales, Geoff Hales and, somewhat surprisingly, T. S. Eliot (along with a bit of editorial summary); feel free to amuse yourself trying to work out who said what . . .
Under the clearest light imaginable of an slightly chilly English June evening, the massed ranks of the Remnants turned up for more internecine struggle. Sometimes this can be the occasion for the good-tempered settling of old scores and rivalries, but the captain of the eponymously named Serbyans (good name) and his counterpart of the Whiteians (not quite so good) agreed to the dreary "retire at 25" rule. (A highly partisan intervention - if retiring at 25 means that "everyone gets a turn", why not let batsmen have another try if they get out first ball? After all, it's not fair if they only face one ball. Harumph - as if cricket was ever fair.)
First, amidst the confusion which inevitably surrounds the start of a Remnants internal game, there were umpires, two batsmen, and what looked like a full fielding side out on the pitch before someone realised there was no wicket-keeper. At the point someone turned up and hurtled into the pavilion with the words "I should have been here five minutes ago, to pad up." So Tom Serby, captaining the batting side and padded up to go in at three, marched onto the field to keep for the opposition with the decisive comment, "I like keeping wicket." Play commenced at circa 6.15pm.
Messrs Speller and Williams came out to face Mr White with a flurry of strokes. Mr Williams, in some personal dudgeon about the powder-puff "retire at 25 rule", decided to pre-empt involuntary euthansia by swishing across the line to Faruk's first ball, sending the ball swirling towards Matt Hughes at mid-on, who held an excellent catch. George swashbuckled some fours off Faruk before departing in the same over. Tom Jordan was in commanding form, scoring all round the wicket with proper cricket shots before being hauled off in tonight's version of coitus interruptus. Sean Dennis (15) and Richard Rex (at one point 2 off 12 balls) made stately progress before accelerando ma non troppo to his legislative hara kiri at 27 (off 38 balls).
Richard's innings was the first (but not the last) Test-like construction of the day. It wasn't until facing his 29th delivery that he scored more than a single. But perhaps his stint with Romsey town has seen him pick up some tips from Andy Owen because, like the Romsey captain, he then skipped second, third and fourth gears to go straight into top, suddenly hitting 15 off his last 9 balls before retirement.
As Dave Williams observed afterwards, Richard batted longer than anyone else in the match. Success was tinged with disappointment, though, as the outcome of the match falsified Rex's Law ("If Richard is the top-scorer, Remnants doen't have enough runs").
Later on, with the Serbyans scoring steadily, though not always freely, Matt Hughes (0/16) bowled an excellent spell of leg spin, with a good line, and getting some genuine turn off a hard and dusty track.
Tom Jordan impressed with some very big straight drives off Sara Pelham, who also beat the bat regularly. Tom's pleasure in his prowess was evident in his optimistic expectation of recall - he kept his pads on. For us old-'uns it is wonderful to see Tom's ever-increasing powers in all aspects of the game. Another very promising cricketer, Daniel Brown - son of Andy Brown of this parish - only succeeded in stylishly driving his first ball off Joe Harvey (1/33) to John Richer at short cover. John Moore showed power and placement in his 21* (off 16 balls). In best caring and sharing style, (nearly) everyone - including Dave Green (2* off 4 balls) at number eleven - got a bat, although Les Collings was no doubt weeping inwardly at the cruelty of his teammates, life, society and the new Conservative government in not letting him have a go. We have a statutory duty of care that the team pay for his therapy.
By this stage it seemed the plan to play 24 overs-a-side was too ambitious, and the Serbyans also seemed confused as to how many overs they'd batted. So in the end there was a sort of "default declaration" one over short of the nominal innings length.
Would 160/6 off 23 (not 24) overs be enough for the Serbyans?
Dangermen Richer, Law, White, Kara and McNeill showed exceptional altruism to their teammates in letting them have a very long go indeed: 5 wickets down in the ninth over with 19 on the board. George bowled his two overs for a miserly 2 runs, with 3 wickets; Tom Jordan extracted spiteful turn and bounce for his 2/7 off 3. Daniel Brown bowled with excellent pace and control for his 1/6 off 3.
George's remarkable purple-patch with the ball (which sounds like some sort of horrid injury) continues unabated. His last four spells for Remnants have been: 2 overs, 2 maidens, 6/0; 2 overs, 0 maidens, 0/11; 3 overs, 1 maiden, 2/2; and, today, 2 overs, 0 maidens, 3/2. Add all that up and you get the ridiculous result of 11 wickets at an average of 1.36. Long may this streak continue . . . provided he's not playing against us.
Joe White's dismissal (batting third) was comical. He seemed to play an awful shot across a slow bouncer - or perhaps even a slow long hop - from George Speller; the ball hit the off bail as it was gently coming down.
John Richer then tried to turn the Sean Dennis behind square, but top edged it towards John Moore who was fielding there and, running in, took a difficult low catch with the ball coming directly out of the low evening sun.
Messrs Attmore and Hughes staged what economists call a "technical recovery", ending with 11 (off 32 balls) and 19 (off 37 balls), respectively. At one point, an extra 1 found its way on to the hundreds column on the scoreboard, thus bringing a mild frisson of excitement to what had become one of the most foregone of all the conclusions that had ever previously forewent.
Some indication of the state of play can be gauged from the (entirely justified) Test-style approach Matt took to halting the Whiteians's collapse. Out-dotting Richard earlier in the day, he raced to 1 off 14 balls, although he managed his first boundary much more quickly, it coming from just his 22nd delivery. Still, he and Steve at least made the Serbyans work for their victory, going close to making them bowl out their overs.
Still, debutant Keith Turner (5 off 10 balls) showed a good eye and technique before falling to a superb one-hand catch from Tom Serby. And civil war between the Jordanians (Tom against Paul) ended in general hilarity when Tom's quicker ball came out five feet higher than usual, whistling under his dad's nose before bouncing off the top of off stump. With some 95 still to get off an over and a half, the umpire decided - in the best tradition of Remnants versus Remnants - to favour the dramatic and the amusing over the letter of the "waist high no ball" law. Tom Serby (1/2 off 2.2 overs) administered the last rites; the tenth wicket down was Joe Harvey, after a knock both battling and courageous.
Afterwards pints were quaffed, and Matt Hughes decided to buy a jug on the admirable but barmy principle that he didn't usually get the chance to buy a jug, so he might as well get one now. In the new world of today's improved softer Remnants 2.0, so much kinder on the hands and and gentler on the environment, everyone - particularly the deranged - was the winner. Seven of us went to dinner at Cocum afterwards, eschewing the traditional Tandoori Palace for Faruk's recommendation (not that he came) of more adventurous Kerala food.