Report by Daniel Mortlock:
A new opposition for Remnants today: ARM, another team from Cambridge's stable of technology companies. The usual compromise on rules meant the relatively minor modification of "retirements at fifty"; and from the moment Nick Clarke headed out to open the batting it was all but inevitable that he would have his superb innings cut off in its prime. By the time he'd made 50* (off just 30 balls) we were motoring along at 83/1 after 6 (eight-ball) overs, and a 200+ total would have been plausible if Nick had been allowed to keep batting. Tom Collett (46 off 51 balls) and Dave Williams (31* off 29 balls) both scored well, if not quite as well as Nick, but the highlight of the innings was when Andy Bell came in for a late-innings cameo and smacked 14* off 7 balls, including an enormous six over mid-on.
With a total of 170 to defend and the opposition apparently short of strong players, it seemed like a big victory was just an hour away. And even when ARM's openers combined some big drives with some deft leg-side flicks it felt their charge had been halted when Andy Owen (1/27) induced a leading edge that was well held by Daniel Mortlock at short cover. But it turned out that ARM had a team of batsmen today, and they could all drive, pull or glance the ball seemingly at will. With our bowlers fairly impotent - only Gabriel Fox, with 1/17 off 2 overs, even went close to conceding "just" a run a ball - our dreams of a big victory were gone, and instead we just had to hope our fielding would hold up under the barrage. A few catches went down, but more were held: 'keeper Rob Harvey pouched two spinning top edges safely; Remnants debutante Atta Rehman kept his nerve under a drive (despite having dropped an almost identical chance earlier); and Andy held onto a thick edge that flew to him at backward point. This last wicket was possibly the champagne moment of the day, as it came from Atta's first ball for Remnants (indeed, first ball in any cricket for many years). However, as before, the net result in terms of the match was merely to bring another excellent batsman to the crease - if we were ahead of the game it wasn't by much.
The most destructive of the ARM batsman, Kauser, seemed set to take his side to what would have been an amazing victory . . . until we suddenly remembered the retirement rule. It would have been unfortunate to win in that way, but also fair given that our total would probably have been considerably higher if Nick had been allowed to continue earlier in the day. Happily, it didn't come to that as Dave Williams (1/25) deceived him with a big leggie that resulted in one of the top edges caught by Rob.
A tight penultimate over by Julius Rix (1/38), combined with the fact the final over was to be bowled from the end with the big leg-side boundary (a trick that ARM missed, bowling an unnecessary extra over from the other end) finally meant we'd won: 25 needed off 8 balls. But the new batsmen refused to give in, hitting 2, 4, 2 and 1 to start the over, meaning ARM were just a couple of boundaries away from winning the game. The tension finally began to tell on us at this point, with some rather wild throws and lots of screaming about backing up and the like. But, finally, the wide open spaces on the west side of Fitz proved too much and a final dot ball (which must have been perilously close to a wide) meant we'd won by 9 runs.
By the time our heart rates had subsided there was time to take stock: both teams had batted well, and probably ARM better than us; both teams hadn't bowled so well, but probably us better than ARM, particularly in terms of extras (ARM's total of 13 wides and no balls dwarfing our own contribution of just 2). We don't meet them again this year, so can rest on a 1-0 record for 2012; and, even better, we get to take a four-match winning streak into tomorrow's fixture against Tektronix.