Remnants vs. Fen Ditton

18:00, Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Fitzwilliam College

Fen Ditton (151/6 in 20 6-ball overs)
lost to
Remnants (152/3 in 18 6-ball overs)
by 7 wickets.

Report by Daniel Mortlock:

Having lost to Fen Ditton by ten wickets a few weeks ago, today was all about one thing: getting one of them out. No, no, no, just kidding - it would be ridiculous to be so single-minded in what is, after all, just a friendly game of cricket. In reality all we cared about was revenge.

At least until it became increasingly clear just about the whole team was going to be late - sitting in our inner changing room without any teammates at 5:50pm was a bit disconcerting . . . but suddenly everyone arrived en masse, and we were able to send the opposition in upon winning the toss. That at least meant we couldn't lose by ten wickets - although the real reason for this ploy was that it was humid and so there was a hope that the new ball might swing for a few overs. And it did briefly, at least in the hands of Robin Eddington (0/22), who slid a few ball past the outside edge, and at one point was operating to three slips. Other than that, though, our attack was pretty anodyne, and for a while it seemed we were going to go a whole season without taking a Fen Ditton wicket.

We finally made a breakthrough in the 7th (six-ball) over when Felix Serby (1/29) came on and injected a bit of pace into the game. His first ball was a bit wild, being a good four feet outside off stump, although the batsman somehow managed to reach it, cutting the ball straight to point. At which point there was mayhem when the umpire called "wide" and refused to listen to the protests of either the fielders or the batsman. Fortunately, the scorers weren't having any of it - although it was only at this point we discovered they'd been giving two runs for wides - somehow the business house rules managed to infect a club game even without anyone mentioning any rule changes. Anyway, Felix had gotten away with a shocker and showed that he'd learned his lesson by bringing in his line, his next delivery being only three feet outside off stump. The batsman had a swipe and nicked the ball through to 'keeper Grant Kennedy, who took a sharp catch.

Grant also managed a sharp stumping off Andrew Granville (2/21) and generally starred in the field, for the simple reason that he had to take about one ball in three down the leg-side. Time and time again our bowlers would lose their line and Grant would skip across, in most cases managing a sharp take (and on a couple of occasions almost managing the holy grail of a leg-side stumping). Some of our leg-side-itis was perhaps explained by the presence of a left-hander (A. Hayward, who'd scored the bulk of the runs against us last time) at the crease, but for the most part it was simply rubbish bowling. Even worse - or, really, better, from our point of view - very few of these balls were called wides, and Naveen Chouksey (1/18) managed the game's only maiden when he sent six consecutive deliveries zipping past the frustrated batsman's hip. Add in some dubious stops (e.g., Andy Bell's "refusal" of a hard-hit and flat, but still definite, chance at mid-off, which he eventually fielded with a football-style slide a la Mikes Jones) and it was far from our finest hour in the field.

With two overs to go Fen Ditton was on 135/4 and eyeing up 160+, especially with two set batsmen at the crease; but they then took their collective foot off the pedal in the most decisive fashion, as first one and then the other batsmen retired to give the lower order ago. This inclusive approach robbed them of 10+ runs, but had the far greater benefit of inducing the most entertaining cricket of the evening. There were some huge swipes - some of which connected, as evidenced by the final total of 151/6 - and then some crazy running by one Manny Natarjan, who went within a few inches of the unique achievement of being run out off consecutive deliveries. Yes, yes, it's obviously not that amazing to go close to being run out off one delivery and then go close to being run out off the next; in this case he was actually run out off the penultimate delivery of the innings and then, because nobody else was padded up, swapped with the non-striker for the final ball, on which he backed up a mile and called for a crazy single, only to just re-make his ground by the time the ball was thrown back to bowler Daniel Mortlock (1/23).

Rather elegantly, we were faced with exactly the same target (152 to win) that Fen Ditton had chased down so easily last time we met. Things started slowly as openers Andy Bell (32 off 26 balls) and Tom Serby (42 off 45 balls) gradually got used to the idea that it's better to look out for misfields and easy second runs rather than just day-dreaming once the sanctuary of the non-striker's end has been reached. Still, the scoring never dried up - in part because of a steady supply of wides and no balls as the Fen Ditton bowlers tried to outdo our extraordinary inaccuracy - and the only realy hiccup was when we lost a couple of quick wickets mid-innings, the most absurd of which was when Dave Williams (1 off 3 balls) hit a beautiful cut, instantly and correctly called "two" to Tom, and then inexplicably stopped mid-way through the second run, with the result that he was run out mid-pitch and mid-apology.

Having scored 75 runs off the first 10 overs (i.e., almost exactly the required rate) we then handed over to our super middle order of Robin Eddington (38* off 26 balls) and Grant Kennedy (16* off 9 balls) who combined some dismissive cuts and pulls with some superb running, the highlight being a "drop and run" effort where the two batsmen had seemingly completed the quick single even before the ball had left the bat.

It wasn't quite the ten-wicket victory that would have made for perfect symmetry, but chasing down 150+ with fully two overs to spare is still pretty good going, and so season 2016 was shared with Fen Ditton, much as plenty of warming ales were in the pavilion post-match, where we all huddled while the drizzle which had plagued the second half of the match finally turned into a steady rain.