Report by Daniel Mortlock:
In reply (this is the second innings - pay attention) the Remnants opening attack of Joe and Olly was genuinely hostile. The Coton openers started circumspectly as Joe moved his pace up through the gears. A high-bouncing shortish ball was pulled at good speed straight to Dave Green at square leg, who pouched with aplomb. Remnants fielding, particularly Rexes Olly and Ferdi, was sharp and keen. One of the evening's highlights was the keeping of Martin Law, who was agile and much better than simply tidy: keeping to sharp pace, variable bounce and a diet of 14 leg- and off-side wides, the bye count was zero. Coton's number three was a young lad who got an evidently painful lifter from Joe full on the ribs; he recovered well to play some stylish flicks through leg before eventually holing out off Paul (third change, 1/28) to Olly diving forward at square. After Olly's superb spell of 1/10 came Ferdie's spell of 0/14, including a beautifully disguised slower ball that would have fooled anybody. Eli Ellwood (2/12) bowled with good control and a full length that brought a generous LBW, followed next ball by a miserly refusal of the same - it was plumb. John Moore was stopping some sturdy biffs to mid-off and had taken a fine catch off Eli in complete refusal of Paul's bellow "Eli's ball!" Some cheeky Coton running also brought a magnificent Moore pick-up and throw that smashed down the stumps. Was Joe's decision to give John - now on a roll - the penultimate over going to be their finest hour? Aficionados of bathos in these reports will quickly gather that the answer is a resounding "no". It had been looking good for us that Coton were struggling to keep up with the modest Remnants rate: after 13 eight-ball overs they had only 72 runs on the board - 31 runs off 16 balls was impossible, right? Looking back, we might have suspected that the Coton captain with an Antipodean accent, even batting number eight, was going to be useful; that scratching his mark with the bail was rather more than affectation; that disaster was imminent. For so it turned out: John's good length and turning legbreaks were indeed smeared to all parts for 21 off the over. That still left 10 to get: Joe bowling to a very tight field for their brave young number seven kept the first four balls down to a single, although their batter got run out getting Ross the Kiwi back on strike. Joe's legside full bunger went straight over square leg for six; the ball after flicked off a top edge behind Martin for four with two balls to spare. Job done thanks to Ross Chandler's 29* off 11 balls, to go with his match-winning 81* against us earlier in the season. Hmmm.
During the changeround a tired but moderately happy John Gull (62* off 68 balls) offered the pessimistic judgement: "We didn't really get enough runs". The Coton strip was more benign than usual but still offered uneven bounce and seam movement, plus the occasional daisycutter; a surface to tax even the best technique. John, in a rare outbreak of circumspection, had reined in his naturally expansive cutting and pulling game while still hammering bad balls through the "V" at a pretty good rate - in the circumstances. Richard Rex (27 off 48 balls) was clearly struggling to put bat on ball, although he ran hard between wickets for his share of the opening 82 partnership. In a bid to give the strike to his more aggressive partner he generously committed running-between-the-wickets hara kiri, bringing in Martin Law (0 off 2 balls), who promptly did the same. Joe (2* off 2 balls) was more judicious with his running at the death, but 102 off our 15 (eight-ball) overs was looking a bit thin. A realistic but still sympathetic observer might have wondered why more risks were not taken earlier - Remnants batting is deep enough to avoid getting bowled out, surely?
Connoisseurs of the shambolic (one of Remnants cricket's continuing delights) would have enjoyed the toss: the non-appearance of Joe resulted in Dave Green rushing into the changing room like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland trying to find someone to decide what to do, followed by John Gull calling wrongly, followed (apparently) by Paul Jordan writing out a different batting order from John, following your correspondent's decline of the generous offer of opening (based on laziness and fear of ball music on the rib xylophone).
Whichever way round you look at it, this loss was, even by Remnants standards, _____.