Remnants and CUP played 27 times between 1981 and 1996, before ceasing hostilities (or perhaps civilities?) for reasons that seem likely to remain lost in the mists of time. But a chance e-mail back in January resulted in a pair of fixtures this year, the best part of two decades since we last played. The most remarkable thing about this sequence of games is that there wasn't a single cancellation; the best thing about them was that we won 21 and tied 1, losing just 5. This was particularly important heading into this evening's reunion, as we'd so far won just a single match this season; any suggestion of a second was welcomed whole-heartedly.
There were promising early early signs that we might double this figure as our openers found it fairly easy to score from ball one, reaching 42 in the 6th (six-ball) over before Julius Rix (24 off 19 balls) was bowled off his foot. Our rather, er, experienced middle order then failed rather un-spectacularly, the ball barely leaving the square during the next few overs. At the half-way point of our innings it was honours even with the score at 57/3.
We then reaped the benefits of our youth policy as Samuel Serby (53 off 39 balls), Karti Malik (27 off 25 balls) and Felix Serby (17* off 10 balls) ran the opposition ragged, scampering quick singles, cheeky seconds and even cheekier thirds. Daniel Mortlock (16* off 13 balls) also benefitted from Felix's leg speed as we made it within a shot of our target score of 150.
After an absurdly long change-over - rumour has it CUP were quickly preparing the special limited edition hardback souvenir book of the game - it quickly became clear that our defense was going to be successful: Eli Ellwood (2/12) started with a maiden and just 4 rather streaky runs came from Faruk Kara's first over. We cycled through our rather ample bowling supplies, with Joe White (0/6), Dave Norman (1/10), Daniel Mortlock (2/8), Felix Serby (0/8) and Karti Malik (0/5) returning pleasingly economical figures. All were helped by some very tight fielding: Alec Armstrong and John Young moved brilliantly to deny the batsmen pressure-relieving singles; reluctant wicket-keeper Julius Rix completed both a catch and a stumping; and Samuel Serby did superb work on the short leg-side boundary. But pride of place goes to Dave Norman: when CUP's best batsman, on 44*, smashed the ball high towards long-on he seemed a good bet to have made it to his half-century . . . until everyone's head turned to see Dave casually loping around the boundary, conveying a sense of complete certainty that he'd make a potentially tricky catch look absurdly simple (which he did).
If we'd taken these chances we might have been able to bowl CUP out, which would have been nice; but far more important was that we'd actually won a game of cricket, leaving our season's ledger at least within touch of respectability at 2 wins vs. 5 losses. (One could probably mount an argument that it really should be 3 wins, with last night's withdrawal by TTP counting as a forfeit, but it will forever be recorded in the club records as a far less pleasurable "cancelled".) Either way, two good games next week and we could finish May just about even.