Remnants vs. Fen Ditton

18:00, Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Fitzwilliam College

Remnants (123/7 in 20 6-ball overs)
Fen Ditton (95 all-out in 17.4 6-ball overs)
by 28 runs.

A few week's back we got our first time-reversed match report; today the innovations continue as John Richer includes the first info-graphic (to go with Dave Green's great photos).

People playing cricket.

Okay, no literary references, no smart prose, just a simple telling of the story.

"Overcast & bright, -> warm sunshine, v. slight breeze" was Sally's official pronouncement on the weather for this return fixture against Fen Ditton. In the previous encounter five weeks earlier, Remnants had posted an impressive 169/2, only to see Fen Ditton score 170/8 to win the game with 4 balls to spare. With the ground and wicket looking in lovely nick for batting, a target near to 170 would surely be necessary to win the game.

People (Nicky Mellish, Sally Hales and Russell Woolf) watching cricket.

More people (Russell Woolf, Geoff Hales and Nicky Mellish) watching cricket.

Remnants batted first. Ditton's opening bowlers had enough pace, swing and variation to make batting difficult, and after 6 (6-ball) overs, we were struggling on 22/2, having lost Eli Ellwood (3 off 13 balls) and Tom Serby (10 off 16 balls). A sleepy John Richer, pleading 11 hours of jetlag, was becalmed at the crease, and should have been easily run out when he called for a dozy single that was never on, but the throw from all of three yards missed by a whisker. The change bowlers made life a little easier, with enough bad balls to take some of the pressure off the batsmen, and runs started to flow a little more easily, although the slow outfield and the enthusiastic fielding of Ditton's relatively youthful side made boundaries scarce. Martin Law's short stay (4 off 8 balls) brought Tom Jordan to the crease for probably the crucial partnership of the game: Tom's elegant stroke play and fast running seemed to wake Richer from his slumber, and the two pushed the score along, benefitting from Ditton's generous policy of bowling nine of their players. Shot of the day was perhaps Tom Jordan's massive blow over mid wicket, striking the door to the bar, although even this was not enough to get the beer flowing early. Tom eventually fell for 37 (off 32 balls), and John for 47 (off 34 balls). The last quarter of the innings saw tight bowling, and the fresh batsmen had little time to get their eyes in, so that only 20 runs came off the last 5 overs, Remnants finishing on 123/7. While this was a good total given the very scratchy start, most of us felt that we had come up 25-30 runs short of a competitive total against what was known to be a side with some very strong batting.

More people playing cricket.

But . . . such thoughts would be to underestimate the Remnants bowling attack which fired on all cylinders from the first ball, and to fail to foresee an inspired moment in the field (to go with the usual comedic ones). Joe White, opening from the south end, didn't bother with a loosener, and bowled straight and fast from the off: his first ball bowled a surprised Wilson, bringing Brown to the crease. Tight bowling from White (3/17) and Eli Ellwood (0/21) made scoring difficult but somehow the Ditton batsmen kept up with the required run rate. The main comedy moment happened when Ditton's left handed number 3 (Brown) lofted Ellwood to mid off, a ball that either Martin Law or Tom Jordan could have perhaps caught. But each politely declined their moment of glory, and the ball fell between them. Did we just drop the game?

Then Paul Jordan entered the attack and nearly emulated the captain's first ball. 'Are you going to bend your back Paul?' asked keeper Rob Harvey. Bending his back, Paul achieved pace and lift, and an edge with his first delivery, but it was too sharp a chance for the keeper, standing up. But 3 balls later, Jordan bowled Brown and the momentum was again with Remnants; Jordan senior finished an accurate and testing spell on 1/27 off four overs. Meanwhile, Adrian Mellish bowled a controlled and accurate line and length from the northern end, and was bowling during the champagne moment of the game if not the season. Ditton's number 5 bat, who had struck a convincing 19 off 14 deliveries, took on Adrian's offspin, launching a ball high toward deep long on: Martin Law, with no fielders nearby to cause confusion, ran an elliptical path, with epicycles, before snatching a superb catch low down, one granted three stars by Sally, and met with great appreciation by the Remnants fielders -- this felt like a critical moment in the game. Adrian completed his spell with well deserved figures of 3/19.

Tom Jordan's first over of leg spin produced sharp turn with accuracy, and clean bowled two of Ditton's lower/middle order, including (like Captain Joe) a wicket with his first delivery. Victory then looked assured to all but the onlooking President (who has too often seen us fall short in moments like these). Tom finished a fine if short spell (2/5), while captain Joe wrapped things up with another clean bowled dismissal after two frustrating thick edges through 3rd man. Ditton ended 95 all out.

The two teams' progressive scores.

So, a close and well fought win against a good side. 218 runs scored, 20 players batted, and 14 bowled. A good advert for the game.