Despite the presence of the club captain and vice-captain in today's eleven, Olly Rex took on leadership duties for the first time. Obviously he was going to get plenty of "advice" from Daniel and Andy but, other than the toss (which we lost anyway), it was Olly's show to run.
Initially, it seemed Olly might have the Midas touch, as Remnants raced to 17/0 off 2 (six-ball) overs, courtesy mainly of some big-hitting by Julius Rix, who smacked 12 runs off his first 7 balls. But in the third over Julius and and Tom Serby (0 off 2 balls) were given out LBW, both off deliveries that the opposition 'keeper subsequently confessed he believed were going down the leg-side (not that it stopped him joining in the vociferous appeals). Without video replays there's nothing more to be said about hypothetical future trajectories; what was quite clear, however, was that our innings had lost all its momentum - we scored just 47 runs from the next 72 balls (i.e., a run-rate of just 3.92 an over). Andy Owen (9 off 20 balls) and Richard Rex (15 off 21 balls) then played themselves in and were ready to accelerate (at least in theory!), when they got thin nicks to the keeper, leaving us on a rather dismal 64/5 at the end of the 14th over.
If we could somehow have doubled our total (i.e., by more than doubling our scoring rate) then we'd at least be in the game, although with new batsmen at the crease it was going to be a decidedly challenging task. Olly Rex (21 off 15 balls) went closest to providing the drive we needed, smashing consecutive balls for 6, 4, 1 and 4 before getting caught at mid-wicket. Daniel Mortlock (27* off 24 balls) and Mihir Chandraker (11 off 13 balls) then scampered lots of quick singles and cheeky twos, but we really needed more boundaries and they only managed three between them. Our eventual 112/8, while representing something of a recovery, could in no way be construed as a winning total . . .
. . . especially when we knew that the County Council had some decidedly classy batsmen, including our own Nick Clarke (who has to be classed as a ringer now that he's rejoined "civilian" life) and Chris Badger (who can definitely be classed as a ringer, and a decidedly useful one at that, given that he generally bats for the Cambridge St Giles firsts and had already taken 3/11 to destroy our innings an hour earlier). Still, we started brilliantly, Joe White (2/16) and Atta Rehman (0/16) delivering consecutive maidens with the help of some superb fielding, highlighted by Atta and 'keeper Andy Owen combining for a sharp run-out. But, just as the first two overs of our innings proved a false dawn, we didn't manage to keep up these high standards in the field either. Joe at least finally took his first wickets for the season - the key was not to rely on anyone taking any catches off his bowling, least of all himself, as demonstrated by his flailing attempt to reel in a checked drive in his follow-through. Instead, he broke the drought by getting a stumping when the ball ricocheted off Andy's pads, after which he took the prize wicket of Mr Clarke, bowled all ends up for 18. After 8 overs the County Council were 38/4 and, while they still only needed to score at a run a ball, we were at least in the match.
Until we weren't. The problem was the aforementioned Mr Badger: we didn't have any bowlers left who could trouble him when he was allowed to play conservatively; and we didn't have the total to compel him to try and score off the good balls (to say nothing of the fact that we presented him with enough dross that he could hit a risk-free boundary most overs). Mihir Chandraker (1/25), Daniel Mortlock (1/22) and Olly Rex (1/12) all managed to get some wickets, but they weren't the vital one; John Moore, Dave Green and Joe managed some great stops, but the only chance we took was a straightforward catch by Mihir at cover. Hence it was no surprise that the winning runs were hit with 8 deliveries remaining - we just didn't have the extra 20-odd runs that presumably would have seen the game at least last 'til the final over.