The Remnants vs. Tektronix rivalry, which now extends back almost a decade, has been rather one-sided, with Remnants leading 9 wins to 2. That's no reason for complacency, though, so this year we augmented our intense on-field attitude with a pre-match campaign of disinformation. This began by attempting to lure Tektronix into a false sense of security with a message saying that "we're struggling for players at the moment, with just 7/8 nominally available." They responded with a straight bat: "we have 11 and ready for the match" - a sure sign they were all set up to thrash the under-manned Remnants side. But then the tables were turned, as our big comeback ("Have now got a full eleven, so all set to go on Tuesday.") saw the opposition crumble ("We are down to 8 with some very late withdrawals."). It was all too easy to imagine repeatedly smashing the ball into the a gap-heavy field, until we arrived at Fitz today to find out that not only did Tektronix have a full team, but that it included a number of unfamiliar faces who looked suspiciously like proper cricketers. This impression was only reinforced at the captains' pre-toss meeting: this was technically a Tektronix home match, which usually means retirements at 25 or 30 . . . so it was, at least initially, surprising to be asked "Why don't we have retirements at 50?" until the realisation soon dawned that they had several batsmen who they thought would sail past 30 and whose talents they didn't want to waste.
We got to see one of them straight away, as their opener H. Sperling spent the next half hour playing immaculate defensive shots to good balls, pushing anything off line for one, and smacking bad balls to the boundary. It was classic batsmanship, straight from the MCC manual, and we were powerless to stop him . . . and so it was rather convenient that we didn't really want to. After 9 (six-ball) overs the score was a rather incongruous 39/0, more like the set-up for a 50-over innings than twenty/20 batting. The scoreboard pressure then told, as the batsmen went for a crazy single after John Moore made a great stop at cover; with both batsmen stranded at the bowler's end a gentle throw to wicket-keeper Cam Petrie was all that was needed . . . but John went for glory, hurling the ball in the direction of 'keeper Cam Petrie, but a bad bounce saw the ball speed past Cam's out-stretched glove and almost resulted in overthrows. Our golden opportunity was gone, and the batsmen would surely learn from their mistake . . . and so it was particularly surprising that they instead opted to repeat it next over: another drive to John (now at mid-wicket); another good stop; both batsmen mid-pitch . . . but while they hadn't learnt, John had, and his gentle throw was gratefully received by bowler Daniel Mortlock, who flicked the bails off with Sperling, who'd given up on regaining his ground, already heading back to the pavilion.
We controlled the rest of the innings fairly effectively, Daniel (1/15), Ferdi Rex (0/17) and Naveen Chouksey (0/16) all going for just 4 an over, while Alec Armstrong (1/31) and Jeff Beaumont (2/26) taking their first wickets of the season. Even more pleasingly, we backed up the bowlers in the field: Naveen made a series of clean pick-ups on the point boundary; Jeff was panther-like at short mid-wicket; Ferdi and Jacob Pockney (a new recruit form the University seconds) diving around at point. In the end we restricted Tektronix to less than a run a ball, quite an achievement given the quality of their top order.
Our innings also began with Tektronix on top, their opening bowler swinging the ball into left-handed Grant Kennedy, beating the bat repeatedly and having two close LBW shouts in his first over. Once we'd survived that initial onslaught, however, Tektronix were never able to exert any control over the chase, not least because they dropped a succession of fairly simple catches. We had some slow moments, but they were more self-made than inflicted. After Andy Bell (13 off 12 balls) completed his dramatic cameo (which included several of the non-catches and a torn ham-string) we then got one of the most loconic partnerships in club history. Grant Kennedy (35 off 32 balls) and Jocob Pockner (16* off 25 balls) combined elegant shot-making with an almost complete lack of interest in running: other than the occasional ambled single, they stayed resolutely crease-bound. Ordinarily this would have been fatal, but the combination of the moderate target and a steady supply of wides (which counted for 2 runs today) meant that the rest of us could just sit back and enjoy the elegant hitting.
There was a brief mid-innings hiccup, during which the unfortunate John Moore was given out LBW for third time in 14 balls this season, but Tektronix were a bowler or two short. Ferdi Rex (18* off 14 balls) was thus able to finish things off in a fairly relaxed fashion, the winning runs coming from a 6-run mega-wide.
Members of both teams stayed on for a post-mortem at the bar, despite the fact that Dave's still only serving beer from cans - the current crop of students aren't drinking enough to justify full barrels. So now that we've started winning games perhaps the last thing we need for the season is get some draught beer into our glasses.