Report by Daniel Mortlock:
The cancellation of Sunday's game against The CB XI meant that the Remnants season would be coming to a close on this gloomiest of late "summer" evenings. Such were the conditions that both teams were more concerned about starting early than anything else, although the Cherry Hinton captain, our own Shoaib Shahid, wasn't prepared to go as far as agreeing to let the tardier team bat first (possibly because he knew that would be Remnants, although he seemed to genuinely believe it when he said "No, no, no - I realise Remnants is a very punctual club"). Thus we had an actual toss, which we won, meaning that the more punctual side got to bat first, as Remnants out-numbered Cherry Hinton 11-9 at 5:50pm.
Our opening partnership of Andies made a solid start (as one might expect given that Owen was topping the batting averages with 131.00 and Bell had scored 261 runs for the season, more than anyone else), although it was pretty dismal cricket for the first few overs, with mis-hits, missed runs and missed catches to the fore. Andy Bell never really got going, and seemed somewhat relieved when he was bowled (for 10 off 17 balls); for Andy Owen it was "business as usual", as he hit anything leg-side to (or over) the boundary and nurdled singles otherwise.
The fall of the first wicket brought our number three to the crease (a policy not, admittedly, unique to Remnants), but the identity of this hallowed spot in the batting order was perhaps a surprise: Grant Kennedy, playing his first game of the season, and with a previous batting record of 0 innings, 0 not outs, 0 runs off 0 balls and an average of 0.0- just fooling: no average whatsover. The reason he was going in was the sort of cryptic, word-light conversation for which Antipodeans (and Yorkshiremen) are renowned:
"Whad' ya do again, Grant?"
"Bowled a few wides last week."
"Okay - you can bat at three."
We were all hence most interested to see what he would do. Despite the gloom it was pretty easy to distinguish him from Andy: aside from the fact that Andy wasn't wearing a tasteful pink shirt, Grant's bat stayed about as rigidly vertical as Andy's was horizontal. After a few uncertain strokes early on, he suddenly came to life, dancing down the track to smack the ball with the sort of relaxed style that had people murmuring about David Gower. Our steady start had soon become a flood of runs that was limited only by the fact that Grant seemed reluctant to do anything more than stroll to the other end of the wicket and Andy, while generally pushing a bit harder, was also relatively conservative on this score (something Dave Williams would presumably find ironic after last night). The two of them were also of a mind when it came to acknowledging applause for their half-centuries: Grant was generally judged to have raised his bat to about the Mull of Kintyre "angle of dangle"; Andy didn't seem to react at all.
From a team point of view their hundred-run partnership had put us in a surely winning position, and it was little more than an annoyance when Grant (62 off 44 balls) was well caught on the boundary by Shoaib in the penultimate over. That brought Daniel to the crease with the idea of doing a little more than he had last night, and he immediately got in on the action when he quickly spotted the 'keeper fumble the ball, allowing a sneaky bye to be . . . turned down with Daniel most of the way up the pitch. The result was one of the less glorious weeks of Remnants batting on record: 2 innings, 1 not out, 0 runs from 0 balls and an average of 0.00 (ah to dream of null). Faruk Kara (2* off 2 balls) then joined Andy (51* off 54 balls, lifting his season's average to 182.00, higher even than in his mid-noughties glory years) to take us to a surely impregnable 137/3.
But our total suddenly looked very pregnable indeed when Cherry Hinton's opener, Scott Cronin, smashed a series of boundaries off Olly Rex (0/16). And even when Alec Armstrong began with a double-wicket maiden, neither of the wickets was the prize scalp . . . which made it particularly pleasing when he did get him next over, well caught by Andy Owen behind the stumps (giving him a total of 17 dismissals for the season, equalling Geoff's all-time record set back in '89). Alec's reward for getting the match-winning wicket in a spell of 3/9 that saw him leap to the top of the "most wickets this season" table was . . . to be taken off. Not that we were taking our foot off the pedal, as next up were numbers 2 and 3 on the Remnants all-time wicket-taking list, Paul Jordan and Daniel Mortlock . . . who promptly added nothing to their tallies other than a few more runs. Their excuse might have been that it was clearly too dark to bowl at full pace, and so instead it was Faruk Kara (1/3) who made the next breakthrough with his offies. From 33/5 Cherry Hinton recovered to 49/5, and while it was clear that they weren't going to threaten our total, it also seemed plausible they could hold out for a draw on the grounds of bad light - there was surely no way we'd be able to send down 48 more deliveries while conditions were even remotely playable.
And so it was decidedly fortunate that we managed to take the remaining 5 wickets for just 1 run over the space of the next 11 rather eventful deliveries:
Although Geoff seemed keen to have the President's XI game count as well, which would have made it eight. There were brief discussions of making all our matches internal, thus guaranteeing a 100% record, but fortunately this idea was firmly rejected. Still, fantastic to end with a 15-11 record after a mid-season misery of six consecutive losses and what seemed like a certain negative tally. It was too miserable to stay for more than a couple of beers, but there was already enthusiastic talk of dinner, both tonight's and the more formal version, almost certainly to be held at the Burleigh Arms one Friday evening in November . . .