So far this year it seems the best guarantee of a Remnants victory is to have the match report written from a guest contributor, a policy that was implemented successfully today, with Geoff Hales revealing his hithertoo quite well known literary talents:
After the dark night of the soul that engulfed him at Selwyn last night, your correspondent could see another looming as the Remnants batting stuttered as the sun went down over Fitz. But twilight brought relieft: now, read on . . .
The first five balls of the Remnants innings produced drama enough for a whole match: a missed catch off Julius Rix resulted in a single and an injured wicket-keeper, after which Mark Henare was bowled for a duck. Julius was dropped twice more before in the first few overs before he was finally caught for for a rather scratchy 10. Tom Jordan (17) and Joe White (9) struck a few good blows, but 50/3 after 8 (eight-ball) overs and a longish tail to come had your President fearing the worst again. Martin Law, however, held the middle order together for a while, top-scoring with 24, despite losing Andy Owen when he was sent back and failed to regain his ground after calling for a single that Usain Bolt might just about have made with the wind behind him. When Paul Jordan (6) was dismissed trying a reverse sweep that he won't want to replay on the video and then Martin played 'round a straight one, the scene was set for another Remnants defeat. Or, to put it another way, a scenario was in place for an unlikely hero or two.
Coming in at 79/6, Russell Woolf gave his first ball an unsophisticated thump through mid-off for four, and proceeded to shepherd Dave Green (5) and Adrian Mellish (2*) while taking the total towards respectability. None of these occasional batsmen appeared to suffer from over-coaching, but they pushed and nudged and scrambled singles and, with the help of 32 extras, got us to the just about defendable total of 123/8. Russ finished on 16 not out, and the under-rated Les Collings was not even called upon.
The pre-requisite for defending our total was, of course, a thoroughly mean performance with the ball, not something that the Remnants can always be relied upon to produce. Only last night . . . but enough of that - tonight was a different story. Captain Joe White (2/5) began with a maiden and, bowling fast and straight, had two batsmen backing away from - and losing - their stumps. Once Paul Jordan (0/16) had settled on his line, he too was tidy, and from the other end Tom Jordan (2/8) bowled beautifully, luring two more batsmen to destruction as they were stumped by 'keeper Andy Owen. The bowlers were well-supported by their fielders generally: extended hands (and feet) made contact with hard-hit shots; throws were quick and (fairly) accurate; and people backed up, often without being told!
At 62/5 after 10 overs hope put a cautious head over the parapet of gloom - and kept it there as Adrian Mellish (1/21), Les Collings (1/12) and new all-rounder Russell Woolf (1/8) kept control of the match. By the time the Sharks' target had blown out to 35 needed off the last over, even your correspondent began to think that victory was more likely than not . . . and so it proved. (Not that it was ever in doubt, really - the secret being simply to score more runs than the opposition, and you'll win every time!)