This year's Remnants annual dinner was held on the evening of Friday, December 2, 2011. The venue was The Jolly Scholar - long known as The Bun Shop, but now reinvented as a rather fancy gastronomic bar.
With the booking of a new dinner venue there's always that fear that it just won't be up to scratch, and the early signs weren't promising. John Gull's enquiry about what bitters were available was met with a gesture to the back of a distant bar which only revealed which beers were off (Broadside, as it happened), and it certainly didn't represent an improvement when Daniel Mortlock's reasonable quesion "What wines do you do by the glass?" was met with the either awesomely impressive or banally moronic answer "All of them". Following this Sally Hales was presented with some of the strangest tasting water on record . . . but once this was replaced (politely and without fuss) we were eventually able to move onto rather fancy food, which was decidedly tasty, even if not served in quite the helpings hoped for by some members of the club.
And on this front the evening was a decided success: counting a few brave wives in attendance we had enough Remnants to have mounted an impromptu internal game, had we so desired, and even Faruk Kara had made it, as the evening for once didn't clash with Thanksgiving.
The formalities were, as ever, handled by Geoff Hales, who'd of course taken this rare opportunity to turn out in his splendid Remnants blazer and tie. He decided to begin with the traditional Remnants quiz . . . but only got one question in when main courses arrived. Having patiently waited for everyone to finish their meals (well, except for Keith Turner, who seemed determined to linger over his) he tapped his glass a second time . . . only to be cut off after a few more questions when the waitress appeared to take our desert orders. Once her body had been dispatched there were finally no more interruptions and we were finally informed of the answers to the questions which had been bugging us all evening:
(To see the answers simply highlight the region below the questions with your mouse by dragging the cursor across the screen with the left button held down.)
Frankie Brown, playing for Jesus College in our first game of the season.
The catch was taken by John Moore, off the bowling of Quentin Harmer.
Chris McNeill, Julius Rix and George Speller (respectively).
The CB XI, who had to be content with making 234/4.
Russell Woolf, in the Jesus College match mentioned above.
Nick Clarke, who hobbled his way to 11 (off 9 balls) after having been hit on the shin while fielding.
Behind the timbers
Rob Harvey, against St Barnabas at Quy.
Andy Bell, in a spell of- well, more of that later.
Daniel Brown, during the late-season Parker's Piece debacle against Tektronix.
Steve Attmore, who was keeping wicket in the nail-biter against The Technology Partnership.
Daniel Mortlock who, having arrived late to the Technology Partnership game, was ordered into first slip by captain - and opening bowler - Joe White, disbelievingly snaffled an edge off the first ball of the game.
Olly Rex and Matt Hughes, against ???, who thus managed that greatest of rarities: a Remnants win in a close game.
Descending to personalities
Nick Clarke who, having been set to benefit from the Cambridgeshire Councillors' increased allowances, found the raise rescinded due to a legal complication.
Eli Ellwood, who'd been taught by Paul back when both were at Waterbeach Primary School (albeit in different roles).
For some reasons everybody instantly knew that this was John Gull, who'd invoked this as his excuse for getting out against St Barnabas. To put this into context, this was the only wicket we lost against an opposition who averaged only 1.5% of our average for the match.
Daniel Mortlock and Martin Law, sadly in that order, playing against and for Hart-McLeod, respectively.
Everybody seemed convinced this was Geoff Hales, but it was in fact Richard Rex (at least if the above-mentioned Hart-McLeod match report is to be believed).
Poor Michael Atherton, who'd had the misfortune to have stayed at the same B&B as ex-Remnant Anton Garrett before the final County Chamionship game of the season. Anton had apparently lured Mike into accepting a lift to the ground and apparently the one-time England captain remembered coaching us for an hour a few decades back.
It's in the book
Andy Bell, in the Remnants dream game against St Barnabas.
Does it even need to be said? Yes, St Barnabas again.
That would be Ferdi Rex, playing for his dad's Academicals.
Jeff Beaumont, against ???.
John Richer, who was partnered by Mike Jones, playing for The President's XI.
George Speller, in our traditional early-season thrashing of The Philanderers.
Victory in the quiz was, in the end, decided by just one point as Olly and Richard Rex, along with Dave Green edged it with 29/50, winning a couple of bottles of Bishop's Finger for their troubles.
There wasn't the only alcohol on offer, though, as Geoff then moved on to announcing the coveted Champagne Moment award. The candidates this year included John Richer for his undefeated century and both Martin Law and Eli Ellwood for stunning outfield catches . . . but in the end nothing could compete with John Young's match-winning (and, arguably, season-redeeming) effort to catch Dave Norman in our miracle victory over Granta.
Moving on from alcohol to less desireable consumables, there was the Les Collings pickled eggs award. Les might have seemed the perfect recipient, given that he'd had a blemish-free season; but unfortunately this was primarly because he hadn't played . . . and so in the end the jar of ovoid horrors was presented to Richard Rex, on the grounds that there was one non-impregnated ovum for each of his brood.
That ended the evening's formalities . . . or so we thought - everybody had forgotten (understandably, really) the Phil Watson Memorial Trophy. The current holder, Dave Green, was most pleased about Geoff's decision not to award the Champagne Moment to John Richer for his century as that meant Dave could instead reward him with this particular horror. (Although Dave did have the back-up plan of giving the, er, thing to John's wife Jane as punishment for leaving the ground half-way through her husband's epic innings.) The Richer household will hopefully forgive its patriarch for bringing such an item across their previously unsullied threshold.
By the end of the presentations the less, er, restrained members of the club had their deserts in front of them and the evening was winding down. Miraculously, Operation Collect Different Amounts Of Money From Each Person went smoothly and treasurer (and dinner-organiser) Dave Williams was able to pay the bill with a minimum of fuss. So thanks to everybody for ensuring that this potentially precarious task went smoothly. If only collecting match fees was this straightforward . . .