An optimist might have suggested this was the perfect start to the season: a genuinely pleasent evening of spring sunshine; a venue to die for in the form Jesus College's on-campus ground; and the lazy feel of a week bracketed by public holidays. Conversely, a pessimist would have noted the fact that none of the club's many scorebooks were actually present at the ground, as well as the small matter of a 92-run loss. And of course we all know that a pessimist is what an idealist calls a realist . . .
Certainly Faruk Kara thought so, reporting that we were "completely stuffed". Quentin Harmer was able to provide a bit more by way of explanation, noting that Jesus had the services of Frankie Brown to call on - smacking 32 (off 14 balls) off our bowling must have been considerably easier than grafting his way to 30-odd against a Middlesex attack including Steven Finn last week. Quentin (2/15) had the last laugh, however, when he had Brown "stunningly caught" by John Moore the ball after he'd hit a big six.
When we batted, however, it was all doom and gloom (with, by the end, the emphasis very much on the latter). We were maybe doing okay at 36/1 after 5 (eight-ball) overs, but then lost our last 9 wickets for just 29 runs. The fact that tough-as-nails Nick Clarke had to bat with a runner says it all; the fact that the only others to get into double figures were Phil Hastings (13 off 14 balls) and Tom Serby (16 off 24 balls) also says it all; and Tom Serby took it upon himself to literally say it all by providing this report:
The students of Jesus College won the toss with the delightful prospect of the horse chestnuts in full flower and a group of (mainly) middle-aged men preparing to lob them some friendly early season batting practice. Russell Woolf opened proceedings with the ball and due respect was paid to his loosener, an MCC coaching book forward defensive; to his next ball a full IPL style swing of the bat was made, but there was no contact with the bat, just the stumps. That was the limit of Remnants' early success, although Ferdi Rex bowled a tidy opening spell. When John "football" Moore came on to bowl it was truly an affair of two halves. His first over brought two wickets and the batsmen could not lay bat on ball; not so for the second over when he paid the price for overpitching. A combination of further Remnants bowlers was tried but too often the ball was pitched short and disappeared over the boundary, and it soon became clear that the prospects of a second innings successful run chase were receding fast. Joe White (2/5) worked up some pace on a green wicket and was the only bowler to dominate the bat, although Quentin Harmer (2/15) had success also with some high aerial teasers, and Tom Jordan was dangerous when pitching the ball up.
Remnants' response was fairly lame from the start, in Nick Clarke's case literally, as he required a runner as a result of failing to remove his ankle in time from the path of a scorcher from a Jesus bat. The other opener, Tom Serby (16 off 24 balls) swung and missed in the time honoured fashion of the first knock of the season after the completely different environment of indoor nets (that's my excuse anyway). The only other two batsmen into double figures were Nick (11 off 9 balls) and Phil Hastings (13 off 14 balls), including a delightful swing which fine leg could only parry over the ropes for 6. Both Andy Owen and Ferdi complemented their earlier tidy bowling with some late order resistance.
Ultimately though, the match was a one sided affair, although consolation was sought in the college bar afterwards over some Jesus ale where Andy Owen dipped into his treasury of stories of calumnies committed on and off the pitch by long departed Cambridge St Giles CC members thus preparing himself mentally for renewed combat later in the season now that St Giles and Romsey CC find themselves in the same division in the league . . .