Report by Daniel Mortlock:
The day began with a mildly worrying e-mail from TTP saying that "frustratingly we've had 2 late call offs" - while a nine-man opposition isn't a disaster, this sort of thing tends to result in still lower numbers and could easily have been the prelude to another withdrawal. Today, however, this news was manna from heaven, as we'd contrived to select 13 players; with two volunteers to to switch sides we'd be all set. Adeel was first to heed the call, only to immediately put a spanner in the works by volunteering his friend Ramiz (who'd made a rather dramatic Remnants debut last night) as the second super-sub. The reason this was a potential problem was that Ramiz wasn't down to play tonight, meaning we were still over-subscribed by one. TTP graciously gave us the go-ahead to field a twelve-man team, although really it should have been obvious that things would work out nicely as someone would fail to turn up - which indeed is exactly what happened.
The match hence began with the Remnants eleven heading out to field, while Adeel and Ramiz grabbed their chance to open the batting together for TTP. This, it turns out, was a horrible mistake: they were both rapidly dispatched by superb yorkers in Adam Long's second over. Not that Adam was finished there, as he got a third wicket in the over; and with Daniel Mortlock (0/31) also starting well - just one run came from his first 9 balls - we'd reduced TTP to 6/3 after 21 rather enjoyable deliveries. There was some slightly - no, highly - presumptuous talk about "bowling the opposition out in five overs" and "having a second game", all of which was revealed to be complete nonsense when the 22nd ball of the match was dismissed high and wide over the netting on the north side of the ground, the ball eventually slamming into a (not particularly) nearby house with a rather disturbing crack. A replacement ball was found and used for about an over until it was noticed that the original had been thrown back over the fence and was sitting on the wet grass ready for further punishment. Adam went within a good catch of a five-for - Andy Owen, having taken a regulation chance off Adam at short-cover, couldn't quite hold onto a bullet in the same position - but had to be content with merely great figures of 4/26 (the best for Remnants so far this season).
For the rest of the bowlers the battle was much more even as the TTP batsmen combined some big misses and dodgy mis-hits with sublime shots that sailed across - or over - the boundary. Alec Armstrong (1/21 - would have been two-for but we withdrew our appeal after a catch off a high full toss), John Moore (0/14, and subject to the "Why didn't I get to face him?" sledge from a batsmen who'd been bowled by Adam first ball and who needed to be told that John is our leading wicket-taker so far this year), Josh Nall (1/23, the wicket being his first for the club, something none of the rest of us believed but of which he was certain) and Faruk Kara (1/16) all bowled very well, but we were never quite able to stop the batsmen scoring. Fortunately, they didn't have to as today's rules - retirement at 30 - had that possibility covered, and TTP's two most destructive batsmen were forced to head back to the pavilion after a dozen-or-so balls. Still, there was the possibility of a late-innings recall, which thanks to Adam's early wicket-fest and John Young's superb catching - he took two chances, one of which was a diving effort at mid-wicket that would have made any highlights reel - actually came about. TTP hence made it to 134/8 - below par for Fitz this year, but a serious recovery from their early innings woes.
Our chase felt very measured from the start, as Grant Kennedy (32* off 25 balls before he joined the retirees) got effective support from John Young (17 off 17 balls), Martin Law (10 off 17 balls) and Andy Owen (11 off 13 balls, before falling on his sword after a running mix-up). With the sun now having made a belated appearance the rest of us took the opportunity to soak up the rays while simultaneously soaking up the cider that Dave kindly brought us from the bar. Even being told by one of the TTP fielders that we "should be fasting" wasn't enough to break the reverie, although a few quiet overs did raise the nerves a little. After 15 overs we were 95/2, and so required a non-trivial 40 runs from 30 balls, leading to increasingly desperate talk of needing "one good over" . . . which, happily, is just what we got as Tom Serby (33* off 29 balls) hit 2 1 2 4 4 1 . . 2 4 off his last 10 balls to put us decisively ahead. And even though he had to retire, that just paved the way for a nicely symmetrical finish as our opening bowlers, Adam Long (14* off 7 balls) and Daniel Mortlock (9* off 3 balls) saw us home with ten balls to spare.
By the time we'd finished Fitz was glowing in the evening sun, and about half the players stayed on to down the jug of bitter that Sal had kindly bought in absentia. The conversation was uncharacteristically cricket-centric, with lots of passionate debate about the no ball Law (Who decided that heel raised is okay?), the use of reviews (Why aren't these 100% in the hands of the umpires?) and why Grant's lightning fast stumping was declined. The basic message of which was, perhaps, that cricket was the winner today.