Remnants vs. Cambridge St Giles

17:30, Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Fitzwilliam College

Cambridge St Giles (114/3 in 14 8-ball overs)
defeated
Remnants (97 all out in 13.2 8-ball overs)
by 17 runs.

Dave Williams put finger to keyboard one last time for the season:

PPC.

We Remnants hardly batted an eyelid - this, today, being the best of our batting - at a vigorous if not torrential shower at 4 pm. The splendid covers at Fitz are mightily effective, and have made a big difference in reducing cancellations during this soggiest of summers. An end-of-season helicopter view, therefore, of three things not to take for granted, and a speculation: 1) Dave Norman's generosity in letting us frolic in all weathers, season-long, on his superb ground; 2) his successful lobbying of the Fitz Treasurer for the funds to get covers, sightscreens, etc.; and 3) the long-term vision of the founding fathers of our club that has given us such stability in our enduring connection with the Fitz ground. The speculation: is our ratio of team cricketing ability to quality of ground facilities one of the highest in the world?

The scene just before play began.

At the same time out in the middle . . .

By comparison, today's whimpering end-of-season collapsathon might count as small potatoes were it not, as Daniel Kahneman say in Thinking Fast and Slow (Penguin, 2011, p. 201), for "our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance". I'm not, by the way, dissing the dignity of our efforts, for our occasional descents into farce and bathos are only reverse-images of a continuing gravitas that gives every match the feeling of its own wide-screen epic struggle - in miniature. I know we make jokes about ourselves and our team, but underneath we're deeply serious, aren't we?

The outcome of the toss of the coin was easily sorted out: so few St Giles players were there at 5:30pm we had to field. Naveen Chouksey opened with another impressive spell at lively pace, his three overs on the trot going for a tidy, if wicketless, 17. Julius Rix at the other end seemed to find his good length more difficult to come by than when bowling against us, but he successfully coaxed a miss-hit off drive out of one of the openers, well caught by Richard Rex as it scurried towards him out of the sun. Julius's figures of 1/24 were exactly matched by Ferdi Rex, who found the St Giles no. three's edge - again, well caught, this time by Tom Collett. Tom was lively and effective behind the stumps throughout, with plenty of unusual if well-intentioned long-distance stumping attempts when responding to the St G batters' walkabouts. Ferdi was bending his back tonight, with also a couple of well-disguised slower ones that ripped past beaten bats. Olly Rex bowled 3 overs, 1/22, again with good pace. Tom's disappointment and self-criticism at dropping an edge to Olly's bowling off the St G's most dominant batter quickly turned to pleasure as he held the same thing a few balls later. But three wickets was our only reward today; it didn't seem to matter much because the consistent run-a-ball scoring rate only went up a tad when Paul brought himself on for his two overs (for 21) at the death. 114 wasn't a particularly scary total; the golden yellow late summer sunshine looked encouraging even if the early darkness of late summer evenings might give the batsmen problems.

Paul Jordan and Michael McCann swap packages while Naveen Chouksey (left) and Julius Rix (right) keep watch.

I went out with Michael McCann to post our reply. I felt pretty good off the first over with a couple of fours, if also having survided a difficult drop round the corner on the one; the second over was from an off spinner, and I carted a shortish slow one up in the air without applying enough welly, and was tidily caught at square leg on the boundary for my 10 (off 10 balls). Shortly after Michael was perhaps getting a bit over-pumped - his ambitious call to Ewan Campbell for a quick single straight to a fielder resulted in Ewan's run out without facing. Ewan showed admirable sang froid and positive cast of mind in appearing to be in good temper after getting changed.

Naveen Chouksey's look says it all: the chase was not going well.

Julius was uncharacteristically slow in getting his pull mojo working, but was looking good for his 26 (off 31 balls) before his demise, bowled swishing across the line. Michael went LBW off the off-spinner for his 9 (off 13 balls). Ferdi was run out for 0 (off 2 balls) and Tom departed for a neat 17 (off 27 balls) as the run rate started to drop with the fall of wickets. Naveen commendably "had a go" for his 13 (off 10 balls), after which Olly succumbed to the pandemic hoik-across-the-line-itis for 3 (off 2 balls), as, unusually, did father Richard (4 off 9 balls). Dave Green kept his wicket and column in the scorebook intact for a magnificent 0 without facing; Paul Jordan (1 off 5 balls), chasing some 18 off the last over, initially favoured a cricketing reworking of Miles Davis's The Birth of the Cool rather than the time-honoured Way of the Headless Chicken: a serene couple of blocks, a statuesque single, a block, a swish across the line and - hey presto! - we were all out.

Dave Green, Paul Jordan, Tom Collett, Naveen Chouksey and half of Ferdi Rex bask in the glow of the evening sun.

Oh well. Disappointing, but perhaps these things make it easier to make the always poignant transition from the glories of the season to the reality principle of the coming winter. In the evening dark and cold, bar talk turned to comforting dinners both short- and long-term: the first was our usual and always enjoyable end-of-season curry; the second the upcoming 16 November Remnants Annual Dinner at the St John's Chop House . . .

The sun sets on the 2012 season.