Remnants vs. Institute of Public Health

18:00, Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Queens' College

Remnants (127/6 in 20 6-ball overs)
defeated
Institute of Public Health (108/7 in 20 6-ball overs)
by 19 runs.

People playing cricket . . . and other people playing cricket too (the little white figures visible through the gap in the hedge).

Report by Daniel Mortlock:

Remnants had its first away game of the season today, its rag-tag fugitive fleet of cars and bikes braving the fast-moving traffic of Barton Road to converge at Queens' College's playing fields. It was also an away game at a more metaphorical level, as we were playing IPH's rules, most relevant of which was that batsmen had to retire the moment they made 25 runs. Not particularly unusual, of course - most of the local companies have retirements - but potentially important, given that the early season match between the two sides was dominated by four batsmen (two from each team) who, between them, scored 270-odd runs - 170 more than would be possible tonight.

More people playing cricket . . . with more again visible in the now cliched hedge gap.

IPH chose to field first, which initially looked to be a mistake as Grant Kennedy (17 off 15 balls) and Andy Bell (18 off 25 balls) took us to a very promising 40/0 after 5 (six-ball) overs. This period of early dominance, sadly, turned out to be a false dawn: it was, in fact, a decidedly tricky pitch to bat on, with the ball "stopping" repeatedly, with the result that we scored just 15 runs (mostly from the bat of Felix Serby, who scored 14 off 17 balls) and lost 4 wickets over the next 5 overs.

Daniel Mortlock showing his full range of uncultured slogs.

Disaster was averted by the "old firm" of Dave Williams (who started the day 3rd on the all-time Remnants run scorers' list but ended it in 2nd place) and Daniel Mortlock (who started the day 9th on the same list . . . and will most likely remain in that spot for several more years). Exploiting some slower bowling, Dave raced to retirement, finishing his innings (of 28* off 19 balls) with a dismissive boundary, while Daniel achieved the impossible, being bowled for 25 (off 24 balls) in contravention of the rules du jour (the explanation being a scoring error that wasn't noticed until too late). With Faruk Kara (6* off 7 balls) scampering some late singles we ended up on 127/6, which felt like a competitive total given the conditions . . .

. . . if not so much when we saw who IPH had sent out to open the batting: Rogers and Griggs, who'd put on 136 against us in the above-mentioned game. And, sure enough, Griggs picked up right where he left off, combining immaculate defense with cracking drives from the first over. But Rogers didn't look quite so threatening on today's two-paced track, and, after missing (or mis-cueing) a few balls from Olly Rex (2/14), he got a massive top edge that Olly did very well to catch off his own bowling. Griggs motored on predictably enough before, equally predictably, having to retire (having made 26* off 22 balls). And from there Paul Jordan (0/21), Daniel Mortlock (1/21) and Faruk Kara (2/20) we were able to contain the IPH middle order: from 43/1 off 7 overs it took them another 9 to double their total, by which time they needed an unlikely sounding 38 off 24 balls.

It would probably have been "game over" but for the fact that we'd also been taking wickets, and Griggs was all set to come back in. Indeed, he was so keen that he came out to umpire with bat and pads, in what was initially interpreted as an attempt to queue-jump. The retirement rule had thus added a fascinating tactical element to the game: we obviously wanted to keep the runs down, but it's not clear that taking wickets would have been helpful to our cause. This idea was tested several times in quick succession, first when a skied drive off Dave Williams (1/2) went to a back-peddling Daniel who made what Dave suggested was a "casual" one-handed attempt to take the catch . . . but before he could weigh up the options instinct took over and he caught the rebound. Then Felix Serby (who'd been fielding like a pro all innings) made a sharp stop and fired in an accurate through to 'keeper Andy Owen, who completed the run out - again, cricketing instinct took over. Griggs was now next in (although he would have been in earlier if we'd taken our catches - an otherwise excellent fielding performance was marred by some fairly regulation chances going to ground) but it was now surely too late, with 28 needed off the final over. Felix Serby (0/28 - but off 4 overs, not 1) then finished off the match with aplomb, leaving us winners by 19 runs, a numerical margin far more comfortable-sounding than it felt at the time.

Felix Serby refuels after his great efforts in the field.

So the executive summary for the 2015 Remnants vs. IPH series is that both teams lost their "home rules" games in large part because they were playing by those very rules: we would have won easily back in May if their openers had been forced to retire; IPH would have won today if their surviving opener had been allowed to keep batting. A pleasing, if highly ironic, symmetry.

Treasurer Dave Williams comes to collect match fees, literally hat in hand.