Report by Jeff Beaumont:
As starts to the season go, walking out on Dave Norman's pristinely-kept Fitzwilliam surface in bright sunshine is difficult to beat. Unfortunately from a Remnants perspective, so were Coton, our opposition. Under strict orders to arrive in time for a prompt 17:45 start to ensure that the light would last for two innings, the advance elements of both sides gathered in front of the pavilion and commenced warm-ups, desperately trying not to wince at the harsh slap of hardened leather on winter-soft hands while the stragglers trickled in in ones and twos.
Play finally got underway promptly shortly after 1800, with Coton electing to bat. Indeed, Kirin Sakhamuri timed his arrival with such precision that barely had he assumed the gully-point position than he lunged forward with shirt untucked and untied bootlaces flapping to snare the Coton opener millimetres above the ground off Andy Owen's (2/18) very first ball. It only got better in the second over as Naveen Chouksey (1/19) first disturbed the other Coton opener's composure from the City end, then rent his stumps asunder to leave Coton 3/2 and optimism high amongst the Remnants camp.
Sadly, that was as good as it got. Andy withdrew himself after two overs and instead brought on Mrs Miggin's Pie Shoppe from the Histon end. The batsmen duly exchanged their cudgels for a knife and fork and tucked right in, calling only for the gravy boat between overs. The score quickly mounted alarmingly despite an excellent spell from the precocious Felix Serby (0/27), until Andy Owen book-ended the innings by having Coton's top-scorer caught behind off the last ball for a magnificent 82, Tom Collett taking a sharp catch.
Chasing 135 off their 15 8-ball overs, Tom Serby (25 off 30 balls) and John Young (5 off 23 balls) made a measured and composed start at around 7 an over, but some tight overs and a maiden in the middle of the innings ensured that they could never really break free and put the total in serious danger. John's departure in the 6th over brought Richard Rex to the crease where, despite a busy innings, he departed as he had arrived on 0 (off 10 balls). Andy Bell (36* off 39 balls) plied his £10 "eBay Special" masterfully before Tom's departure, caught, saw him replaced by son Sam Serby. Eager not to be outshone by his brother, Sam displayed great technique in compiling a stylish, unbeaten 16* (off 21 balls), bringing the Remnants total to a round century off their 15 overs - much to the statistical satisfaction of scorer Sally Hales.
Not one to be out-done, Tom Serby also gave his perspectives on our season-starting defeat:
Early season enthusiasm saw over 90% of the Remnants team assembled at Fitz for the 5.45pm start to the season curtain raiser, played against Coton, on a 15 eight-ball over format.
The missing player Kieran Sakhamuri arrived for the third ball and was hastily directed to field at gulley by skipper Andy Owen where Kieran took up position bootlaces untied; said third ball produced a firm glance which travelled fast to Kieran at ankle height, catch taken, no problem; clearly the result of copious close season training and strategy sessions. Tom Collet behind the stumps led a generally excellent fielding display. Andy opened the bowling with himself (2/18) and Naveen Chouksey (1/19), who both bowled economically. The change bowlers, Kieran (0/26) and Jeff Beaumont (0/28) tended to pitch a little short. Debutant Felix Serby's three overs were (0/27) well directed, what he lacks in height he more than made up for in his lengthy run-up, and he frequently beat the bat of the rampant Coton skipper (86* at the close), who was by now inflicting indiscriminate punishment on all Remnants bowlers. Richard Rex bowled a very tidy over of flighted spin which temporarily doused the climbing run-rate.
Remnants were set 135 and openers Tom Serby (25 off 30 balls) and John Young (5 off 23 balls) shared a solid first wicket partnership but the required rate was always climbing. Andy Bell (36* off 39 balls) threw the bat, literally, but fortunately there was no fielder in range. He shared a fifth wicket partnership of contrasting styles with Samuel Serby (16* off 21 balls). Occasionally, for form's sake Andy attempted to play with a straight bat but he never looked like hitting the ball; whereas the cross bat slog sweep was mightily effective and brought a succession of boundaries; Samuel pushing for singles to give Andy the strike whenever possible. A four off the last ball brought up the hundred, but thanks to the excellent batting of Coton's skipper, this was not a close game; although enjoyed by all Remnants, each of whom had made a contribution.