Report by Dave Williams:
It was a fine evening - in terms of weather - but with some of the windiest conditions I have ever played in. Felix Serby, opening from the Huntingdon Road end, got the wind-assisted chance to pretend to be Jeff Thomson. Generating rapid pace if bowling too short to start off with, Felix kept both Fen Ditton openers (including Michael McCann, sometime of this parish) quiet for an eventual and excellent 4 overs, 0 maidens, 0-0/16. The first two overs from Olly Rex, heroically labouring into the wind, were also tight enough. In fact, we exerted some control over the first 11 (six-ball) overs, with FD only 61 on the board. By this time Fen Ditton had unilaterally retired their openers, maybe knowing that they had some heavier hitters waiting in the wings.
So it proved: bowling into the gale, Faruk Kara's final over was tonked for 20 (giving him figures of 4 overs, 0 maidens, 0/41), including a huge downwind straight six. Collective team body language and sloppy fielding was by this time reaching a nadir, even for us; the most rapid response on view this evening was from Richard Rex - who wasn't even playing - as he raced in his civvies along the outside of the boundary to try to stop yet another downwind four getting lost in the long-off trees and weeds. Amid the carnage Alec Armstrong (bowling with whatever hyperbole for implausibly low upwind ball speeds you'd care to invent) did get an over going for only a single. And amid the rapid succession of retirements at 25 he also managed our first wicket in the 16th over, finishing with 4 overs, 0 maidens, 1/34. Injury was added to insult as one of FD's bigger and stronger batters smashed a half-volley from Paul Jordan (bowling downwind) straight back for a technical chance that also bent back Paul's hand in a painful way that prevented him (later) driving home. (Paul, please let us know how you are. Paul e-mailed in to report that he "can't drive and hand is painful to move in certain directions. No bones broken thankfully." -ed.) The damage to Paul's figures was even more severe: 2 overs, 0 maidens, 0/27. Olly had come back on downwind by this time to complete his useful spell with a wicket to boot: 4 overs, 0 maidens, 1/20. Quentin Harmer (upwind) had 16 taken off his one; my over - subbing upwind for the injured Paul - the final of the innings, went for a satisfying and miserly, if unlikely, 3. A total of 170 looked like a big ask indeed, but hope springs eternal . . .
Tom Serby (8 off 15 balls) and I (5 off 19 balls) opened ineffectually against a tight attack with enough seam wobble and pace (even into the wind) to repeatedly beat the bat. Felix Serby was busy and effective - if not as punitive as we needed, even by this time - in combination with John Moore (5 off 19 balls, but not out LBW for once). Running plenty of leg byes off John's pads, Felix eventually didn't quite get home in time and was run out for 11 (off 19 balls), at least perishing in the pursuit of runs.
After 10 overs we had crept snail-like along to a total of 30. At least at this point Olly Rex came in and actually started to do some real damage for his fine 43* (off 25 balls). For all you avid collectors of cricketing behaviour curios, Olly gave us a gem: with a mere 75 runs to get off 2 balls, Olly, with magnificent and truly commendable dedication to the greater team good, ran out his partner in order to keep the strike. For that was how Faruk Kara (11 off 22 balls), running at roughly half Olly's pace, met his fate …
With bat, ball and in the field, not a good evening at the Remnants office. Sure, Fen Ditton were a much better side, but most of us might have showed more fight. To me we felt lacklustre, listless, lackadaisical. Learning points? Well, the younger players were by far the better of our players - at least we can take pride in our record of giving them the best chances we can. Maybe we need to actively seek to bring more young players into the team. And when our bowling is under the cosh, might we at least have a plan, for example bowl on the off to a 6–3 field? When our batters are struggling (this is a memo to myself, by the way), maybe we need to encourage a team culture that then we just try to smash it - getting out is not the worst thing in the world, but at least we can say we really tried [And it's certainly bewildering to be sent a scoresheet that shows our total as 30/1 after 10 overs in a big chase! - ed.].