Today's report is courtesy of Dave Williams:
"Hazy sunshine -> humid -> pleasant breeze -> still -> hot -> cloudy -> hazy sun again" runs Sally's epic notes just for the Remnants innings. Would Remnants batting acclimatize to the conditions and a new opposition? Churchill/Pembroke MCR - featuring our very own Tom Collett - were last minute stand-ins resourcefully dragooned in by Daniel for Coton, who were perhaps otherwise engaged by the Spain-Portugal 0-0 footie bore-fest [actually it was because of the knock-on effects that a rescheduled Coton junior match had on their availabilities - ed.].
Back at Fitzwilliam Paul Jordan won the toss and decided to bat. Tom Serby's baroque limbering-up exercises resulted in a Bolt-like (steel rather than Usain) mobility out of the traps: a first over maiden. The leggie from the other end was a surprise opening package, but as is the way of cricket, a tempting slow long hop, albeit 4 feet outside off, was duly smeared by yours truly (2 off 5 balls) to the cover fielder. Julius Rix smacked a massive pull off him to deep midwicket and was looking good before giving a caught and bowled (bowled and caught?) for 11 off 14 balls. Tom Collett for Churchill pouched a nice slip catch off a yorker to Tom, but it was not clear whether the ball had bounced after, or if the bat had flicked the ground; sportingly the opposition did not make a fuss. Shortly afterwards Paul Jordan raised the finger to dismiss Matt Hughes LBW, who was looking a bit scratchy for his 1 off 14 balls; Joe White came and went (0 off 3 balls) to a mixed drive/defensive push, the kind of shot we do when we have decided to play ourselves in but the team are behind the rate and we also think we should be getting on with it.
Richard Rex ran hard to turn twos into threes and give strike to Tom, who was by this time moving up the gears to fluency if not domination. Thiruvenkatnathan (the kind of name that has been known to give Ian Botham trouble in the Sky commentary box) had bowled 3 (six-ball) overs for 7. Tom eventually departed (for an excellent 59 off 52 balls) to a banana-trajectory outswinger starting six inches outside leg and clipping middle. The rate had hardly crept above 5 with five overs left, so we were generally not looking good. But Naveen Chouksey made an impact straight away, eventually smashing a superb 24* off 11 balls to give our modest total an invaluable fillip. Samuel Serby (4 off 8 balls) at the other end showed good temperament and shot selection in more than giving strike to Naveen - a fluent on-drive piercing a tight infield presages excellent things; his sharp running also shows a good cricketing brain. Rhetorical question time: could Remnants bowlers keep them down to less than 130?
Joe White opened with even more than customary tightness: his first two were maidens, eventually bowling right through for his 4 overs, 2 maidens 0/13. Naveen Chouksey was whippy at the other end, perhaps a little too legside-y, but still regularly beating the bat. In the sixth over, though, one opener did the bipolar flip from defence into horizontal bat mode and lashed Naveen for 18. Julius Rix took over and went for 16 off his 2 overs, but he also took a smart caught and bowled off the more aggressive opener. Paul Jordan was whipping the ball past Tom Collett's edge every ball for a single off his middle over, but the first and third went for 11 and 15. In not-happy-bunny persona Paul made way for Harvey Hughes.
Remnants body language was not good at this point, even though a couple of wickets could have changed the game - can we please show a bit more positive attitude at these moments in future games? Paul's decisive turn to Richard Rex's mesmeric off-breaks brought a wicket second ball and a change of mood (ending up 4 overs, 1/22). Could we drag it back? Run rate required was about 5 an over. Harvey bowled tidily (3 overs for 19), and some carves ended up going over the heads of the infield, but we didn't look like getting back into contention. Naveen's final over needed to go for 2 for the tie. The first two whistled past the bat and brought wild fantasies of an improbable win, but Tom intelligently ran a bye to 'keeper Samuel Serby, who was sprawling on the ground after another excellent legside take; another dot ball off the third, but a single off the 4th brought the scores level. The fifth ball went for a hard-hit straight drive for four. Good try by the Remnants, but not good enough.
Nice sporting and good-tempered opposition, who I thought were an even match for us. For me personally, even a loss and a disappointing 2 - if combined with a shower and sociable pint - still induce a feeling of well being and joie de vivre that had me counting the days to the next match as I cycled home in the unbelievably-still-not-quite-dark 10:30 of a late June evening.
[Indeed, it was so late in June that we next play in July, which implies the terrifying truth that our season is already half over. We're up 9-5 in external matches, which is a nice change from recent years; and, despite the horror run of cancellations at the start of the season, only one of the last 14 matches has been washed out. The batting averages would appear to be a two-horse race between Rexes Richard (134 runs at 67.00) and Olly (120 runs at 60.00), but that would be to ignore the fact that Dave Norman has out-scored all other Remnants this year in just two innings, and currently has 162 undefeated runs to his name. On the bowling front the clear star has been Joe White (9 wickets at 12.22, an almost unbelieveable economy rate of 2.88 and some 6 maidens to his credit), but it's actually John Moore, (7 wickets at just 6.57 and a superb economy rate of 3.83) who's winning the averages at the moment. - ed.]