Remnants vs. The Pretty Boys

18:00, Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Fitzwilliam College

The Pretty Boys (148/7 in 20 6-ball overs)
lost to
Remnants (150/2 in 18.4 6-ball overs)
by 8 wickets.

Not one, but two reports from today's match. The first (filed a few hours before the second) comes from Dave Williams:

"High clouds, faint sun and humid, thicker clouds west, lighter to the south and bright sun" runs just the first half of Sally's customary weather epic. A late start and some slow fielding changes meant conditions were quite dark later. For now, though, Paul Jordan - skippering tonight and in no-nonsense mode throughout - chose to field first . . .

. . . thus bringing the PB's very own bright sun, George Speller, lately of this parish, to the crease. Balancing the forces of light and dark for the cosmos at the other end was our king of the Rexes, Richard of that ilk, officially declared Pretty for this match owing to a general lack of opposition personnel. An imagined scenario of contrastingly Manichean tonk/block batting styles didn't quite materialize when Richard found his scoring shots early. Naveen Chouksey's opening over went for a comparatively modest 6, but Ewan Campbell's one and only ditto went for 17, with George getting his mojo working by smashing a full toss for a massive 6 out of the ground into Hoadly Road - lost ball. For those of us with lesser talent (nearly everyone?) it is a bitter pleasure to see George going about his work, with a 360 degree range of shots that play the ball that's really there, not the one he (more accurately, we) might imagine in advance. Coupled with a great eye, excellent balance and elegantly savage intent, it was no surprise to see the score rising at a (from a Remnants' point of view) rapid and alarming rate. At 69 off 7 (six-ball) overs, chasing 200 was a realistic prospect. Ferdi Rex and Naveen (four overs for 30) had bowled as tidily as they had been allowed, but the game changed in an instant in Ferdi Rex's final over when George's paddle to leg took a top edge to John Young who, with his knack for catching big wickets, pouched with aplomb. (Ferdi finished with 1/26 off his 4 overs; George finished with 46 from his 22 balls.)

Faruk Kara had already come on after Naveen, floating his offcutters in to Richard and the new bat; on the principle that one bowls to people the stuff they like to bowl to others Richard did not find his own kind of medicine appealing, and the runs dried up, with a passage of three overs for 4 runs. (Faruk took a fine 1/15 off his four.) Paul's choice of Samuel Serby for a bowl was ultimately well judged; after perhaps the wrong choice of an over of slow leggies that was duly tonked for 12, Samuel's change of action to a medium pace style resulted in excellent accuracy and line for a 2/28 off his four. A highlight was a top edge to Paul, casually strolling over from first slip to gulley and catching with such a conspicuous lack of fuss that he immediately got high marks for cool and artistic interpretation from the Olympic-style Remnants judging panel. The rock-solid John Young held on to another one for Sam on a day when the Remnants fielding was (apart from me) very good - Ferdi particularly showed impressive athleticism in his rapid movement to the ball, followed by fast pickups and throws; Michael McCann was ever willing to hurl himself at the ball on the boundary and made some fine stops.

Wicket-keeper Ev Fox seems on the ball but John Young (at square leg) and Paul Jordan (at gully) and Tom Serby (at mid-wicket) are not obviously walking in with the bowler.

Next up, Paul Jordan's cameo (two overs, 3/9) was vintage Jordan: fullish length, ball whipping through at deceptive speed; Richard Rex's long stay at the crease ended when a classic PJ delivery speared through his redoubtable defence, hammering at the off stump bail with impressive violence and sending it flying 25 yards. Ev Fox behind the stumps was sharp throughout, with his repeated appeals for stumpings finally getting a reward to give Paul his third. The control of the previous passage of play rather came unstuck with the bathos of my over, the final one of their innings: the . . 2 4 4 6 was poor bowling from me (three full tosses at the end) and fine batting from Julius Rix (23* off 9 balls), ever-dangerous with the bat and coming in rather unjustly down the order for the PBs. 148 looked a lot, but it felt like a let-off after the initial onslaught.

Ev Fox and Ferdi Rex opened against the deceptively languid run-up/very fast arm combination of Kodamdaramaiah - just the 1 off his first. The second over seemed lower in intensity, and Ev was warming to his task with some excellent and classical straight driving. In the third over Ferdi carved a couple of consecutive and memorable cuts, one behind and one in front of square. He perished in the sixth, though, for 13 (off 10 balls).

Tom Serby was next in and immediately looked comfortable. From the boundary the bowling of the PBs' first change looked as dangerous as a well-stuffed sofa (his four overs going for 53, with a generous helping of wides), but sofas still have to be despatched - and the twin spectres of Speller and Rix were still in reserve . . . But the Fox/Serby partnership seemed relaxed and never in trouble. Ev's shotmaking was superb; a highlight was a Lara-type whipped pull behind square leg, left leg raised - superb balance and grace. Tom always seemed in control, unhurried, with some fine straight driving and a wristy straight-bat clip to the midwicket boundary off his pads that Geoffrey Boycott calls a "bread and butter shot", but which has always seemed (to me, at any rate) very difficult to bring off. So after a partnership of 106 it was, frankly, a surprise to see Ev yorked by the second bounce of a super-slow one - such are the joys of cricket. By which time there were 11 deliveries to get 4 runs - not very demanding, specially if you start off getting a wide, and the penultimate ball of the over I could just about reach to toe-end it to the cover boundary.

A brilliant effort from Tom (46* off 37 balls) and Ev (75 off 64 balls), whose mighty and stylish contributions to Remnants over at least 23 years have never previously been so highly rewarded - his previous highest Remnants innings was 71, but that was scored in an under-manned internal game. This evening his composure and command were a real treat.

The second take on the evening's events comes from the pen - well, the fingertips, really - of Tom Serby:

For the visitors the fielding was certainly pretty, the batting had a certain attraction but the bowling tended towards the plain; the moustache of the returning Pretty Boy in chief George Speller (46 off 22 bals) almost as striking as its owner's hitting which had lost none of its power in the move west. George opened the batting for his team and after five overs it appeared as though the game was tilting inexorably away from Remnants, with Ewan Capmbell and Naveen Chouksey bearing the brunt of George's aggression, one ball from Ewan clearing not only the mid-on boundary but the fence also. Faruk Kara (1/15) brought calm to proceedings and was well complemented by Samuel Serby (2/28) and Paul Jordan (3/9) enjoying the post-Speller part of the Pretty Boys' innings. The other major contributors for Pretty Boys with the bat were temporary Remnants loans Richard Rex (37 off 55 bals) and Julius Rix (23* off 9 balls). There was no clear winner in the battle between bat (Richard) and ball (son Ferdi) in the familial plot within a plot. There were a number of theatrical appeals for stumpings from Everton Fox and the tail wagged when Julius took a liking to David Williams's full deliveries.

Remnants set out to chase down 148 and started strongly through Ev Fox and Ferdi Rex (13 off 10 balls) until the latter's demise brought Tom Serby to the crease, whereupon a 106 run partnership between Tom (46* off 37 balls) and Ev (75 off 64 balls) all but saw Remnants, until a tiring Ev was undone by a double bouncer in the penultimate over, leaving David Williams (4* off 3 balls) to hit the winning runs with a well struck cover drive.

Ewan Campbell waits for his chance to bat.

All in all a fine run chase, which left skipper Paul Jordan contented that his second wicket pair had "brought home the bacon" and redressed his personal win/loss ratio in a favourable direction.