Remnants was originally scheduled to play Little Paxton tonight, but they'd failed to account for the might of the Jubilee long weekend and, being able to muster just four players, had to cancel. They did at least let us know on the Friday, so there was some chance of organising an alternate opposition. First to attempt this was Michael McCann, which, given that he was yet to make his debut for the club, was really going beyond the call of duty. Using his connections with Sharks he'd made it about half-way to getting a team . . . but it turned out Tom Serby had simultaneously been using his connections to the huge pool of Cambridge St Giles players, and had conscripted a full eleven by the Saturday evening. In the end we went with that option, but a huge thank you to both Michael and Tom for their efforts to get us a game.
Despite the horrid weather over the Jubilee weekend the game did go ahead and, appropriately enough, Tom Serby takes up the story here:
It seemed as though the fates didn't intend a game, given the rain that arrived just before the start; but the match went ahead in cold dank conditions.
St Giles put out a strong team comprising mainly first team players who seemed unaware of some of the traditions of mid-week Fitzwilliam cricket, having all arrived twenty minutes before the start of the game to carry out organised warm-up drills on the outfield wearing tracksuits, before returning in their whites, or at least two did as they batted first. St Giles skipper Chris Heydinger and Hugh Atkinson gradually warmed to their task, eventually eschewing their well-honed Saturday afternoon techniques for some aerial hitting. This was after Joe White (1/7) plucked out the off stump of 14-year-old opener Harvey Jacklin with the first ball of the match. Atta Rehman (0/15) and Faruk Kara (0/33) kept things quiet from the other end with some well directed deliveries, before giving way to Rex Minimus, Ferdi, for his first bowl of the season for Remnants. In his spell of 0/15 he impressed with markedly increased pace, having already executed some lightning fielding both on the boundary and at point, and been warned by Joe to pause more between deliveries to allow the older members of the team to make their way back to their fielding positions. His brother Olly (1/24) meanwhile, replacing Joe from the tennis courts end, had clearly decided that the St Giles skipper looked far too comfortable against half-volleys, and so let slip a few waist high full tosses, one of which produced a catch, only to be called "no ball". Skipper Paul Jordan (0/22) cannily kept himself back until the end by when the top order batsmen had retired (Heydinger) or been dismissed.
Set 132 to win, Remnants lost opener Tom Serby first ball, but the two Johns (Richer, with 20 off 19 balls, and Young, with 14 off 34 balls) kept the score ticking over, until Olly Rex (61* off 48 balls) hitting progressively cleaner and harder (including a straight six off Will Phelps and a scorching cover slash off Phelps Senior) saw Remnants home in the last over. The stygian gloom continued into the post match drinks after the lights fused in the bar, but the home team were happy to have overcome a strong St Giles team in an exciting match.
Richard Rex also had his, rather more Remnants-centric, perspective on the game:
Characteristically tight opening spell from Joe. St Giles's batsmen looked like good league players, and scored steadily, generally preferring the faster ball to Faruk's spin. Ferdi bowled a sterling couple of overs at the death to prevent them from running away with it, leaving Remnants to chase 131. Having seen the batsmen on offer, we would have happily settled for that, though in the cold and darkening conditions, with a slow outfield, it was not likely to be easy.
After Tom Serby doubled the diamond ducks, John Richer and Michael McCann settled in quickly, both taking a shine to the spinner with whom St Giles opened from the second end. His over, which conceded 20 runs, may well have decided the outcome, and even after he had been taken off, it looked as though John and Michael might after all make short work of the task. But just when he was looking well set, John once more displayed his major cricketing weakness - a charming, disarming, but in some ways alarming tendency to walk when he has edged the ball to the keeper. If only everyone played the game in this, its true, gentlemanly spirit.
After Olly joined Michael at the wicket, they agreed that with two batsmen aged under 20 there were plenty of easy singles to be had. It soon transpired they weren't all that easy. Olly and John Young then made steady progress, though the tension rose as it emerged that St Giles were not planning to bring their spin bowler back into the attack. Nevertheless, with 40 needed off the final 3 (8 ball) overs, Olly went for his shots. The highlight was an immense straight six towards the Windsor Road end, presumably an attempt to see if he could land the ball in his own back garden.
Olly and John shared a vital partnership, but John was not finding it easy to make contact in the gathering gloom, despite valiant efforts. In the end, he nobly sacrificed his wicket going for a second run, having already taken several increasingly hazardous runs in order to keep the scoreboard moving as the required rate slowly climbed. With brother Ferdi at the other end, it looked for a moment as though Olly was going for a hat-trick of run outs, but Ferdi was determined not to be run out without facing a ball, and just made it to the crease as the bowler fumbled under the increasing pressure. Hard hitting and frenetic running saw us home.