Intrepid reporter Dave Williams once agains braved the elements to provide this report:
A gusty 30+ mph wind from the Huntingdon Road end of the Fitzwilliam College ground added some climatological spice to the diet of otherwise classically English summer conditions: a few puffy white clouds, bright sunshine, very clear light.
Nick Clarke temporarily unburdened himself of high political duties to take control of the hardly less momentous Remnants, winning the toss and leading the charge with Tom Serby. The Woozlers' opening attack was swiftly clubbed to all corners of the ground in a display of batting aggression that was brutal even by Nick's standards - 39 off the first three overs, including 26 off the first 8 balls he faced. Mathematical dreams of 260 from 20 tantalized. Tom then chipped a catch off the metronomic Ryan Bridger at 51 in the 5th over, for his 11 off 11 balls. The "broken bones" brigade (Nick foot, Dave rib) came together for the first time this season to reprise their classic version of Simply Red's Holding Back the Years. (This at least wasn't the rather over-played number preferred by some other Remnants batters this year, namely Stuck in the Middle with You.) Mr Bridger's command of flight and length soon had Nick uncharacteristically groping as the run rate started to fall, with Ryan's four overs going for a tight 13. Messrs Clarke and Williams managed a few biffs at the other end without ever quite dominating against a Woozlers attack who used the wind to get extravagant swing and high bounce. Nick seemed to get tired and went boundaryless for the last 24 balls of his knock, finishing for a lordly and ultimately Churchillian 78* (off 64 balls). Dave, after the benefit of a bad drop early on, went on to a purposeful 51* (off 46 balls). (Apologies to Messrs Owen, Young et al. for hogging the batting; they may have heard too many times the Clarke/Williams If You Don't Know Me by Now.)
Rhetorical question time: would 158, in the slightly unusual conditions, be enough? Could we exert some pressure and force some errors?
Naveen Chouksey and Himanshu Agrawal's opening attack looked quick, athletic and combative - adjectives not usually associated with the Remnants - in their double four-over spell. At the other end of the wicket, though, the Woozlers - the formidable Sam Grimshaw and his hardly less redoubtable left-handed partner - looked comfortable and hardly out of third gear. Their running between the wickets was particularly impressive as the fielders' arms were duly clocked and then taken on. Nick's in-out fields were cutting off the boundaries, but the Woozlers - in spite of some quite lively Remnants fielding, particularly by Tom Jordan - were ever alert, cleverly woozling nothings into ones, ones into twos, twos into threes - oh ye Remnants, watch and learn. Even so, the bowling only went for 20 and 15 respectively off their four overs, which showed a measure of control, with the oppo about 13 runs behind the rate. Naveen was unlucky to have a comparatively easy catch go down at mid on.
The change to slow bowling was where it started to go wrong. Tom Jordan (1/36) seemed to struggle bowling two overs down wind, although the charging batter was lucky not to get stumped; Russell Woolf (0/25) looked amiable bowling up wind, and got duly tonked; Andy Bell (0/13) managed a licorice allsorts over containing every variety of wide, double-bouncer and full bung no ball, and was privileged to go for no more than than the 13. Tom came back excellently into the wind for his final two overs, and showed good fighting spirit and skill by pitching in the right length against aggressive charging from both bats. This was the undoing of the left-hander, who rushed past the ball like a bull past the toreador. The shattering of his stumps was the second of only two wickets to fall all evening - not a bowler's day. Tom Serby's one over got well clubbed, before Mr Grimshaw delivered the coup de grace (14 off Keith Turner's three balls) at the end.
Sam Grimshaw finished with 84* (off 58 balls), Woozlers some 3.3 overs spare. Probably 200 would have forced a tight finish, but they were just too good for us today.
A shower in the newly spruced Fitz changing room was a chance to restore your correspondent's energy and joie de vivre, as did a fine-tasting pint under the bright evening sky. On my way back through town, Cambridge was in pleasure mode: glimpses of marquees and purple and green lights of the May ball through the gothic King's screen; on the river excited midsummer's-night punters with their bicycle lights just starting to help guide their way in the very slowly descending dark.
The Hales's Mediterranean body clock II: in spite of the super-injunction placed on discussion of these things, Remnants match reports can now exclusively reveal that on Monday night Sally's quest for the perfect baked potato was concluded to her satisfaction at 11.15 pm.