Report by Daniel Mortlock:
The Woozlers have proved to be good omens for Remnants: of the 20 scheduled fixtures between the two clubs only two have been affected by rain, the other 18 having been played to completion. And, apparently even better, we've beaten them 12 times and lost just 6 . . . although that's roughly been the Remnants winning ratio throughout its history and, in the immortal words of Meat Loaf, "two out of three ain't bad".
Remnants batted first against The Woozlers today, and our top order fired like seldom before, Dave Williams (36 off 27 balls), Phil Hastings (53 off just 29 balls), Tom Serby (45* off 31 balls) and Tom Jordan (24 off 15 balls) all scoring with great freedom. That said, Paul Jordan reports that we could - and should - have scored even more but for "not enough aggressive running between the wickets". Still, it didn't seem likely to matter when Andy Owen gave us a Spinal Tap-like "push over the edge" by smacking 16* off 4 balls to take us to an awesome total of 179/4.
Given that the highest Remnants total that's ever been successfully chased was the 161/4 we scored against the Sharks last year, we were presumably an hour or two away from a thirteenth victory against The Woozlers. That impression was only reinforced when Joe White (2/6 in his first spell) and Paul Jordan (2/19) reduced The Woozlers to a seemingly hopeless 29/4.
There was a slight potential problem, though, in that The Woozlers fifth wicket pair both had serious previous form against Remnants: surviving opener Ryan Bridger had, for instance, smashed 63* against us when chasing back in 2001 and new batsman Sam Grimshaw hit an undefeated second innings 80-odd against us last year. However in both cases they didn't have much support and they failed to chase down healthy Remnants targets; the problem today was that we had to deal with both of them together. It wasn't just their big-hitting, either, but their mutual understanding that "tip and run" was the way forward, and both Paul and Andy Owen independently reckoned that they got about twenty extra runs in this fashion. In the end Ryan hit 86* and Sam got 71* as they put together an undefeated 151-run partnership in 14 painful overs.
For our part there wasn't much to cheer about. Other than Joe and Paul, none of the bowlers conceded less than 7 an over, although catches were taken by Daniel Brown and one of the Serbys. And actually the presence of a second Serby probably ended up being the only bright spot of our time in the field, Tom's ten-year-old son Samuel making his debut for the club and impressing greatly with his energy, enthusiasm and skill in the field. Joe White reports that "Sam's fielding was awesome, even to the point that [the batsmen] were refusing runs to him and taking them for almost everyone else", that he "was even clapping and encouraging full grown men in the field" and that "he even did one of the score books for a while during our batting innings". Joe also pointed out to Tom Jordan that "this now relegates [Tom] to the ranks of The Olds, with Sam taking on the mantle of the Remnants youth policy", such as it is.
So perhaps the future is rosy despite conceding our biggest ever chase. And even though it was galling to have such a high total overhauled, it is clear that the trend of big chases (both by and against us) is largely just a corollary of the general increase in scoring rates. Just as all the club records for lowest totals date back to the '80s, all those for the biggest chases are dominated by the last few years. Still, all these records at least gives something to waffle about in these reports . . .