Remnants vs. Burrough Green

12:00, Saturday, September 22, 2012
Burrough Green

Remnants (115/6 in 20 6-ball overs and 153/4 in 20 6-ball overs)
lost to
Burrough Green (170/2 in 20 6-ball overs and 99/6 in 18.2 6-ball overs)
by 4 wickets.

The lovely Burrough Green green.

The idea of a post-season match is a strange one: the fact that there is a match of any kind really means it can't be post-season, almost by definition. And yet it's seems to be an accepted notion - and even moreso that, at least for Remnants, it involves a mid-September trip to the oh-so-pretty village of Burrough Green. That said, this year the whole idea was rendered rather more complicated by an enforced rescheduling - Burrough Green double-booked themselves on the initially agreed upon date of September 8, but fortunately both teams were able to agree upon September 22 as an acceptable alternative. And so that just left eleven members of both clubs to converge on the gorgeous Burrough Green green on this most perfect of Saturdays . . .

Ferdi Rex deals with a pre-match nosebleed.

. . . except we rather dropped the ball at this point, as two of our number arrived late and another (who Paul Jordan requested remain nameless) left his kit at home. As a result we had to politely request that Burrough Green bowl first - clearly not their preference, but something they agreed to for the greater good of the game . . . and which turned out, serendipitously, to be highly beneficial to their cause. With the outfield still dewey it was very hard to get value for good shots; and with the pitch drying it was very hard to hit good shots in the first place, the ball sometimes leaping to head-height and other times almost stopping.

Still, Rexes Richard (23 off 28 balls) and Ferdi (23 off 23 balls) gave us a good start, after which Tom Serby (31* off 35 balls) and Kiran Sakhamuri (18 off 18 balls) kept us trundling along at almost a run a ball. Good as their efforts were, though, it was hard to avoid the sense that 115/6 wasn't quite a par first innings score.

And it soon became completely impossible to maintain such a belief when the Burrough Green openers started smashing our bowling to all corners of the ground (a phrase which was actually correct for once, the ground being similar in shape to a ninja throwing star). One opener, R. Tipp, played with all the time in the world and seemed to be a class above, hitting a an elegant 49*; the other, Luke Williamson, simply trusted his eye and his shoulders, playing the ultimate "stand and deliver" innings as he clubbed his way to 97. Between them they put on a 161-run opening partnership that was only broken in the final over of the innings, when Richard Rex (2/15) finally induced a false shot, having Williamson well caught by Tom Serby at point. Richard got another wicket next ball, when the new batsman came down the track and was stumped by Rob Harvey; but it was too little and too late. Of the bowlers only Naveen Chouksey (0/20) and Paul Jordan (0/14) went for less than a run a ball, and the fielding was ragged at best. Even though it was far from the biggest total we've ever conceded, it was hard to think of a time we've seemed more impotent in the field.

The whole idea of post-season games suddenly seemed a whole lot less appealing, but fortunately we were able to recover from our mauling over a delicious tea - and the actual cups of tea were incredibly welcome, 'cos it was absolutely freezing for most of the day (another reason for not having too many September games).

We began our second innings with no realistic chance of winning the game, but with pride very much on the line - we at least wanted to make Burrough Green chase a non-trivial total. The first task was to at least ensure we made them bat again, which Kiran Sakhamuri (55 off 36 balls) and Naveen Chouksey (14 off 17 balls) managed thanks to some great hitting and, er, unfathomable running. (The humourous impact of Kiran's and Naveen's running was primarily cumulative, although a particular highlight was when Naveen lofted the ball to a fielder on the square-leg boundary and headed off for a run on the off chance that the fielder might drop the catch. The ball did go to ground and so Naveen was able to complete an easy single . . . except that Kiran hadn't moved, so Naveen was now stranded yards from his crease with the ball already in the 'keeper's gloves . . . except the 'keeper's throw was off, thus allowing Naveen to make his ground, for one of the more absurd dot balls in cricketing history.) After the Sakhamuri-Chouksey partnership came to an end (although not, surprisingly, through a run out), Faruk Kara (27 off 30 balls) and Daniel Mortlock (24 off 19 balls) then got us within touching distance of respectability, a journey that was completed in the last few overs by Tom Serby (14* off 8 balls) and Ferdi Rex (7* off 5 balls). Our final total of 153/4 was a fantastic effort, and left Burrough Green with - given that they couldn't reasonably use the same openers a second time - a decidedly nasty chase.

Just how nasty was soon revealed as Faruk Kara (who conceded just 2 runs from his first 2 overs) and Richard Rex (who conceded just 8 runs from his first 2 overs) proved almost impossible to score off. But the fundamentally small target was also made clear when Burrough Green's left-handed number 3 came in and smashed a quick-fire 31 that included three consecutive - and incrasingly huge - sixes off Faruk (who finished with 1/23). When the score reached 44/1 off 6 (6-ball) overs it seemed our race was run - even without using their gun batsman, Burrough Green needed just 45 runs from 84 balls with 9 (well 8, really, after an early departure) wickets in hand.

We next turned to old hands Paul Jordan and Daniel Mortlock, who responded beautifully, bowling five maidens between them and seeing to it that we concded just 8 runs in the next 6 overs. Paul had figures of 2.2 overs, 2 maidens, 2/0 at one point, and Daniel did even better, finishing with absurd figures of 4 overs, 3 maidens, 2/1 (although it might have been an even crazier 3/0 if a simple catch hadn't gone to ground). Of course the bowling figures only tell part of the story - none of these maidens would have come to pass if not for some fanstastic fielding - the whole team suddenly seemed to lift, with Ferdi Rex, Naveen Chouksey, Tom Serby and Kiran Sakhamuri in particular making some fantastic stops and 'keeper Steve Attmore dealing well with the now erratic bounce. After 12 overs Burrough Green was 52/4, and needed a far more challenging 47 runs off 48 balls - they really were in some trouble . . .

. . . a fact they implicitly acknowledged by sending out Tipp and Williamson to finish the job they'd started an innings earlier. And, unfortunately, they seemed to be up to the task, smashing a sequence of boundaries that meant just 5 more runs were needed at the start of the penultimate over. The defeat that had seemingly been inevitable since Burrough Green's first innings was surely coming to pass . . . unless Richard Rex could work his magic one last time for the season. He'd broken the partnership in the first innings, and had begun the day top of the season's bowling averages, and so maybe a couple more lofted leg breaks would give us an amazing victory . . . but sadly this time the batsmen didn't falter, and Burrough Green completed their deserved win with 10 balls remaining.

After that it was time to head across the road to The Bull, where members of both teams hung around as the Sun finally set on both the day and the two season.