Report by Cam Petrie:
Apparently the young guns of Wilburton were "keen to chase a big total" today, so they sent Remnants in to bat. Opener Julius Rix (8 off 6 balls) helpfully obliged by spanking two big fours off the first over by their zippy opening bowler before being initially dropped by said bowler and then caught from one last lofted shot off the last ball. Ferdi Rex (53 off 38 balls) had asked to be put in as opener today, but had to stand by as Cameron Petrie (50 off 43 balls) came out to face the equally zippy other opening bowler who quickly showed a capacity for late inswingers. Before heading out to bat Cam had checked with Andy whether he was happy with Julius's scoring rate, and took Andy's "well you know, Cam - it's a twenty-twenty" as license to have a go from the off, resulting in not one but two lofted (and hence catchable) shots that went for four in his first over. The most egregious of these hits flew high to deep square leg and led to a potentially disastrous collision between Cam and the bowler as they both learnt the dangers of ball watching, but thankfully Cam's helmet didn't bruise the bowler too much. Soon after Cam was dropped at cow off a no ball, and his scoring rate was briefly slowed when he clouted a full toss so hard and straight that it hit the middle stump at the bowler's end and sent it cart-wheeling out of the ground while the ball rolled around aimlessly behind the bowling crease.
Ferdi wasn't simply looking on bemused at all of this, but uncharacteristically his first eight scoring shots were all singles as he and Cam started to make the most of the now deep-set field. Wilburton soon started cycling through their bowlers in a desperate attempt to stem the flow as Ferdi demonstrated the benefits of playing himself in and began hitting boundaries initially through the deep set leg side field, and then (far) over the straight boundary. Our total of 21/1 off 2 overs became 45/1 off 6 overs, 76/1 off 10 overs, and then 103/1 off 13 overs, as dot balls almost completely disappeared from the score sheet. The bowling had moments of brilliance, with challenging lines outside off stump, but Ferdi and Cam were so well set and the field so defensive that even good balls were going for singles or twos.
After such a gluttonous feast some sort of famine/hangover was inevitable. Ferdi had been dropped once, and drove Wilburton's second spinner for one more six before mistiming a drive and finally holing out in the 15th over. Cam had also been dropped off a legitimate ball by the same fielder that had dropped him earlier, and although he was able to bunt the ball around briefly with new partner Robin Eddington (4 off 7 balls) he too was finally caught when the zippy Wilburton opener came on for the seventeenth over. Robin had gained the strike while the ball was in the air, but nicked one through to the keeper two balls later, and then Dave Green (0 off 1 ball) was deceived by a straight one that sent the previously loosened middle stump tumbling [Dave insists this is not true, and in fact that it was his off-stump that was uprooted.], so our comfortable 124/2 was now 124/5. Andy Owen (15* off 12 balls) found himself flailing about the changing room like an Australian at Trent Bridge trying to find and attach gear so that he could go out to bat, but once he finally made it he was able to steady the ship for the remainder of the over; and, together with Matt Samson (8 off 6 balls, who had stood watching much of the recent carnage from the non-striker's end), set about regaining our lost momentum for the final overs. In between some speedy running we were treated to a pristine example of the rarely seen "Owen straight drive", which went for four. The dash for last minute runs saw Matt run-out, and brought Andrew Granville (0* off 2 balls, only one of which was legitimate) to the crease for the death, which he managed to avoid despite taking a full toss square in the chest guard. Andy was able to finish with another boundary to bring us to a suitably "big" 154/6.
The Wilburton openers looked unsurprisingly dispirited when they came out to bat in the fading light, and this soon turned to despair as Khuzaimah Saeed unleashed a snorter off his second ball that took the edge and was only just caught by 'keeper Matt Samson, who had just decided to stand a little closer in. Alec Armstrong (0/14 off 2 overs), bowling from the other end kept things tight initially, but the Wilburton bats soon became fed up with our attacking field (multiple slips, short covers, etc.) and began hitting out. Khuzaimah, however, was undaunted, and although some good balls were hit for boundaries, he responded with a corker that pitched on off, then seamed to hit the top of middle and leg, and to cap off his spell, he bowled a maiden to finish with an excellent 2/12 off 4 overs. Wilburton were not done yet, though, and set about attacking Faruk Kara (0/19 off 2 overs), Andrew Granville (0/19 off 2 overs) and Ferdi Rex (3/23 off 3 overs) before Ferdi was able to take wickets off consecutive balls in his second over. Julius Rix (1/21 off 3 overs) then came on and took a wicket from his second ball as a big hit to square leg saw Ferdi run five metres to take a screamer of a low catch millimeters above the grass. Julius and Andy (1/21 off 4 overs) then took turns keeping the scoring rate down before Andy drew a lofted catch to Khuzaimah at mid-on in the rapidly dropping light. At this stage is was almost impossible to differentiate fielders wearing similar clothing combinations, and boundary riders were being forced to make instinctive moves to where they thought the ball was going as it sped towards them, but they somehow managed to stop almost everything, which meant that the gig was up for Wilburton. They made it to 100 in the 16th over, but we were well and truly into their tail by this point, and Ferdi managed to finish his brilliant all-round performance with a caught and bowled off the first ball of the 19th over. Andy managed three dot balls in the last over and Wilburton only managed 130/7 off their full 20 overs, leaving us with a very comprehensive 25 run victory.