Remnants vs. St Barnabas Church

18:00, Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Fitzwilliam College

Remnants (154/4 in 15 8-ball overs)
St Barnabas Church (102/9 in 15 8-ball overs)
by 52 runs.

If only all our matches could end the way today's did: with a Remnants victory and members of both teams sharing beer and crisps at the Fitz bar. The inter-team banter that had begun during the match (e.g., idiotic LBW appeals from deep square leg that were met by a chorus of "Not out!" from members of the batting team that only got louder when said antipodean web-site administrator managed to turn a fairly regulation chance into an untouched boundary next ball) continued into the previously unexplored province of match reports. Our approach was to bully the opposition with all sorts of exciting statistics: Dave Green had played his 296th Remnants game today; Robin Eddington, playing his first, had scored more runs than anybody else had done on debut for the club; sometimes St Barnabas player Andy Bell had taken his best ever figures of 4/6 against them back in May 2011; and so on. It was suggested that all these facts and figures were a bit dry, whereas St Barnabas claimed their approach to match reports is a bit more elegaic. It was thus tempting to try and write this report in that style, but to do so would require knowing what elegaic means - and sadly that skill of instant verbal recall has long since passed, to be replaced with a fuzzy sense of once having had a larger vocabulary. And besides, the St Barnabas players had responded to our broadside of numbers with plenty of statistical points of their own, starting with the general suggestion that today was the first time they'd made it to triple figures against us at Fitz (not correct - they'd managed this four times previously), before honing on the specific: the miracle win (or hellish loss) in which they defended (or we failed to chase) a total (or target) of 89 in August 2012. Luckily, they seemed to be unaware of the fact that St Barnabas had also successfully defended a total of 100 earlier in the same season, so we were forced to relive only one dismal run chase rather than two.

Robin Eddington and Geoff Hales battle the rain.

It was thus fortunate for us that, a few hours earlier, we'd won the toss and been able to avoid any possibility of a dud chase by opting to bat first - although this decision was made in complete ignorance of the above facts, and was instead motivated more by the idea that we'd be able to shelter from the rain that seemed about to burst from the pregnant clouds hanging over the ground. Indeed, most of the first innings was played in a steady drizzle, which didn't look much fun for the fielders and certainly wasn't great for the bowlers as the ball got soggier and more slippery. All of which was good news for our top order of Richard Rex (26 off 28 balls), Andy Bell (17 off 21 balls) and Robin. There was a little hiccup when our own Quentin Harmer came onto bowl, Andy in particular being foxed by Quentin's unique low-bouncing high lobs; otherwise our innings was a fairly steady flow of big boundaries that only came to and end when Robin was run out in the penultimate over. If he'd completed the run he'd have been on strike and an outside chance to make it to a century; as it was he had to be content with an outstandingly elegant debut innnings of 83 (off 55 balls).

Quentin Harmer at the top of his run up.

No need to refer this decision.

Our total of 154/4 felt winning, but Olly Rex, taking over captaincy duties for the second half of the game, wasn't going to take any chances. And so, as so many times before, Joe White paced out his long run from the Huntingdon Road end of the ground and got ready to start the innings with blast of pure pace. The only problem was that we were starting at the other end - it had the longer leg-side boundary and we'd get an extra 8 balls from whichever end we began - and so Joe had to wait an over while Daniel Mortlock (3/8) got first use of the, er, soft red spheroid. (Actually, it was quite nice for faster bowling as the seam had become impressively engorged; it probably wasn't so good for wrist spin, which maybe explained why Mihir Chandraker took on wicket-keeping duties, a job he did superbly.) When Joe (1/9) did finally get his chance he made the most of it, beating the bat a few times before sending the middle stump flying with such energy that one bail went 72 feet towards fine leg (a fact that can be reported as Dave Williams meticulously paced out the full distance).

With St Barnabas now in rather deep trouble at 15/4 and the visibility heading from poor to crap, we turned to our slower bowlers. Eli Ellwood (1/23) was unlucky to get just the one wicket (it was off his bowling that the previously mentioned non-catch wasn't taken); Richard Rex (0/20) tried to out-Quentin Quentin (but sadly didn't actually get to bowl at him); Olly Rex (1/11) was a bit too fast for both the batsmen and the now tiring Mihir; and Dave Williams (2/20) gave the ball a real rip, getting more turn than anyone since Mihir himself a few weeks ago. The end result was that we came to the final over with our victory secure but St Barnabas defiantly trying to avoid being bowled out. That effort was almost undone when they went nine down after a lightning return from Richard facillitated a tight run out, but their last pair successfully made it to the end of the innings, and all the way to the bar.

Robin Eddington buys a jug . . . or at least a receptacle of some kind.

Andy Bell running his sideline in religious artifacts.