Report by Daniel Mortlock:
After several weeks of rather miserable shortened cricket games squeezed into the ever-shrinking gaps between rain showers and sunset, we finally had the chance for a full-length match today. Cambridge Consultants suggested we make use of the bank holiday to start at 4pm, thus giving us as much good daylight as a normal mid-summer game. Of course this assumes that there was any daylight to be had, and here we got lucky, the clouds parting just before match-time to reveal a surprisingly green Fitz wicket.
We got first use of it, and started brilliantly as Joe White (3 overs, 2 maidens, 1/1) and Olly Rex (4 overs, 3 maidens, 2/6) both bowled with an almost unplayable combination of pace and swing. Moreover, our fielding was up to this very high standard as well, with Tom Jordan making a hard slips catch look easy and 'keeper Daniel Mortlock getting to complete easy run outs after good throws from Daniel Brown, Richard Rex and Olly Rex. All three did well to keep their heads, but the fact that there were so many run out opportunities is a story in itself: the CamCons batsmen, having struggled early against our bowling, reacted by setting off for a series of suicidal runs. Not being inside their minds it's impossible to be sure, but it looked as if they'd got to the stage where getting bat on ball was a cause for joy, to be celebrated by heading off down the pitch irrespective of where the ball had gone.
By the time Paul Jordan (1/14), Matt Hughes (1/15), Richard Rex (0/10) and Ferdi Rex (0/4) had completed their spells it was clear that we had the match won, and there was already talk of utlising the extra time with a second innings. Such talk is often the prelude to some monster tenth wicket partnership (as was the case against The Philanderers back in May), but not today: Daniel Brown (2/0) continued our dominance, allowing Richard Rex to finish the innings by taking a spectacular diving catch at gully.
Chasing 51 seemed unlikely to utilise much of the many hours of daylight remaining and so the captains quickly agreed to a two-innings game, although our internal intention was to try and win by an innings. Daniel Brown (10 off 18 balls) and Tom Serby (26 off 25 balls) got off to a steady start, and for most of the innings we moseyed along at a run a ball. We passed CamCons' total in 8.3 overs, which would have meant one of the shortest games in club history if we'd stopped there, but then set about posting a healthy second-innings target in the next 11.3 overs.
This task was undertaken by John Richer (40* off 43 balls) and Tom Jordan (41* off 35 balls), who, by both remaining not out, have now ascended to the top two spots in the batting averages with 373 runs at 46.62 and 272 runs at 38.86, respectively. Their innings also started fairly sedately, but they accelerated nicely to build our 20-over total up to 130/2. Not that it was all smooth-sailing, mind - both were dropped several times, and whilst the running was generally good, there were a few messy moments. The highlight - which was nearly the Champagne Moment of all time - was when John smacked a superb pull to the boundary and stayed down in his pose to enjoy the moment. The only problem was that the ball slowed up so much on the lush grass that the boundary fielder was able to cut it off with John still savouring the shot. What should have been an easy two now turned into a desperate single - if the fielder's excellent throw had been just a foot to the left then we would have been treated to the most absurd run out in a Remnants history already rich with such moments.
Instead we had a rare second innings: as the clock ticked over to 6:30pm it was agreed that we'd have two ten-over innings to round out the match. However it quickly became clear that CamCons weren't going to get the 80 they needed to make us bat again, and instead it was going to be a race to see if we could bowl them out a second time. Olly Rex (1/8) and Daniel Brown (1/6) continued their good work from the first innings and then Daniel Mortlock (2/5) and Tom Jordan (1/7) showed what we had left in reserve first-time around. Indeed, both could have had more wickets if several aerial shots had gone in the right direction, although possibly the comedy moment of the day came when Daniel induced a vertical top-edge and came racing down the pitch to try and take the catch. He was within diving range when he had to pull out because the batsman, following his teammates' previous "tip and run" policy, had made tentative progress in the opposition direction. In the end the ball came down squarely in the middle of the batsman's back and Daniel wasn't in the right position to catch the rebound. There was some brief talk of appealing for "obstructing the field", but it was clear that the batsman's actions were not deliberate, which was a pity, as it would have made a fabulous end-of-year trivia question.
Try as we might, we couldn't get the last few wickets we needed for a proper Test-style innings defeat, CamCons finishing up on 42/7 the second-time around. In the process of taking 17 wickets for 93 runs most of the bowlers improved their averages (e.g., Olly Rex, who bowled 6 overs, 4 maidens, 3/14 over the two innings), although it's maybe even more remarkable that, of the 29 full overs we bowled, 7 were maidens. Such statistical oddities aside, it was was also a tremendously enjoyable match, with members of both teams embracing the absurdities of the on-field goings on. There was plenty to relive over what will be our last pre-sunset post-match beers until May 2011 . . .