Remnants vs. The Pretty Boys

18:00, Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Fitzwilliam College

The Pretty Boys (149 all-out in 14.7 8-ball overs)
Remnants (105/6 in 15 8-ball overs)
by 44 runs.

The last few seasons has seen an increasing number of Remnants turn their hand to writing match reports, to the point that it's become almost a club-wide activity in the last year or two. However tonight we've gone one step further, with the first report from an opposition player. Okay, okay, that's not the full story, since Pretty Boy Olly Rex turns out regularly for Remnants as well, but it's still a nice continuation of the broadened perspective we've been getting used to:

People playing cricket.

As Remnants drifted one by one into Fitz tonight for the now regular fixture against George Speller's dubiously named "Pretty Boys", they were met with a worrying and rare sight. The opposition were already dressed in (mainly) whites, crouching around their captain and taking catches off his bat. We have been informed by various undercover Remnants in the opposition eleven that this is called "fielding practice" and is apparently a good way to prepare for a match. Captain Joe White was not so easily fooled, though, and opted to arrive in the more traditional Remnants manner, five minutes late and stopping halfway to the pavilion to catch up with some friends.

Little did he know that he'd already missed the main controversy of the day. For a while the ICC have discussed whether the pink ball is the answer to problems of fading light, but today the debate moved a level higher, as a number of experienced Remnants offered their views before tonight's game. Just before play it seemed we would use the pink ball, only for Andy Owen to veto this decision in the last minute, going instead for the more traditional red. This would be the main gossip point for the rest of the evening as various parties offered different views on the subject, while a small minority decided to concentrate on the cricket instead.

John Richer demonstrating the relative visibility of the pink and red balls in poor light.

The match started off with an intriguing contest as Remnants strike bowlers Joe White and Tom Jordan opened the bowling against George (who has been responsible for many an entertaining innings over the last few years) and up-and-coming Remnant Ferdi Rex (whose stylish batting has been a revelation this year). After a few good boundaries they were both gone, George top edging Joe to Dave "evergreen" Green at point and Ferdi sending a leading edge back to Tom. Tom then took his second wicket with a nice legbreak to finish with 2/21, before Daniel Brown (1/26) caused some problems with his lively pace. Dave Norman then snared Julius Rix, bowling excellently to finish with 2/18 off 3 more than tidy overs. When Matt Hughes took a good wicket first ball Remnants seemed to be cruising, with the score at 82/7 off 10.1 eight ball overs, and players dreamed of restricting the opposition to under 100 . . .

Such hopes were quickly dashed. Lurking at number eight was Remnants' own Olly Rex. Always a "hit and miss" batsman, today was definitely a "hit", as only Dave Norman managed to restrict his scoring. Hoping that this was something to do with the name, Joe White brought on another Dave, this time of the Williams variety. After a couple more big blows, Olly tried to go big once too often, only to find Daniel Brown at long on. Unfortunately, Dan overran the catch and, tracking back, could only help it over the boundary for another four. The next ball, though, offered a chance of redemption, as Olly once again struck it high to long on where Daniel was waiting, only Dan overran it again, and - again - could only help it over for four. A six followed next ball, but Dave is made of strong stuff, and bowled Olly with a good quicker ball, unlucky to finish with 1/22 off his solitary over. Joe White (2/22) then finished well, but the damage was done, as Olly's 48 (off just 20 balls) had lifted the score to a much healthier 149 all out.

In worsening light and against an attack boasting some of Remnants' most economical bowlers, 150 was never going to be an easy chase. Still, a batting order that read Williams, Clarke, Jordan, Richer, Owen was bound to trouble the scorers . . .

The scoreboard telling the story of Remnants disastrous first over.

. . . and it certainly did as, with the score 0/2 off the first over, our experienced scorers were more than a little troubled. And yes, that is no runs and two wickets. The enormous U. Kodandatamalam ripped through our batting with his height and pace, as well as a smooth run up which had something of the Michael Holding about it. Our batsmen would have struggled against him at the best of times, but with the increasing gloom they had no chance. Dave Williams was bowled for a duck and the die seemed cast. After witnessing Dave's demise, Tom Jordan made his own contribution to the problem which has puzzled batsman for centuries: how to play the middle stump yorker. Unfortunately, Tom's decision not to play a shot, while a brave choice, was not the answer.

"Ah, it was hitting the stumps . . ." (Tom Jordan demonstrates how not to play a middle-stump yorker while one-time Remnant Phil Marshall, fielding at point, makes his return to Fitz, having last played here for Remnants in late 2003.)

With Nick Clarke and John Richer at the crease, both of whom have Remnants hundreds to their name (Nick's against the Pretty Boys), there was still hope. With the score on 13, though, John then fell for just 1, and even the most optimistic Remnants were losing hope. Andy and Nick mounted a bit of a recovery, Nick with his crisp off drives and Andy with his trademark legside swipes, but when Nick fell for 15, caught by a jubilant George, it was all but over. Andy backed up his decision to take the red ball with a well-played 35 (off 43 balls), seeing the ball cleary enough, but the run rate continued to climb and his dismissal, bowled by his Saturday team mate Olly, all but ended the match. Daniel Brown fought hard at the crease but never came to terms with the dark conditions or the tight bowling, struggling to 8* (off 25 balls), as the bowling trio of Rex, Rex and Rix went for just 24 off 5 overs. In an ultimateley dissappointing loss there was a positive, as debutant Teddy Brookes, stepping in for Dave Norman, hit the ball cleanly in an exciting 11 (off 8 balls) which at least kept his team mates interested. In the end it was a day of "could haves" and "what ifs", as so often this season, with Remnants posting just 105 runs off their allocation of overs.

Though Remnants will finish the season "in the red", next week brings the opportunity to win back some pride as wins against tough opposition Granta or arch-rivals The Woozlers would put some much needed gloss on our season, giving us a little more to play for than the usual late-season struggle to top the averages.