Report by Daniel Mortlock:
The above photo shows what looks like the perfect conditions to start the 2016 Remnants season, with Fitzwilliam bathed in glorious sunshine and a bunch of enthusiastic players scampering around the field in the evening warmth . . .
. . . none of which actually took place. Well, it was sunny for the first half of the game; but the photo doesn't reveal that it never got above 5 degrees in Cambridge today, and for most of the match we were also treated to some serious wind-chill. Even Antarctic veteran Julius Rix spent half the game in a thermal jacket, beanie and gloves. It was absurdly miserable, and most of us just wanted to go home - especially Dave Norman, who was home already. If it had rained seriously then we could have all retired to the pub, but cricket simply doesn't have any Law pertaining to miserable conditions and so we all just got on with the game.
Here "we" was Remnants and Trinity College JCR, technically a new opposition for us (although we have played various teams from that college previously). We were down to ten after a last-minute case of man flu (or possibly just flu), so it was fortunate that the opposition couldn't count: we inherited nominal Trinity twelfth man Jyothish Soman, which made good sense for all concerned . . . until it was realised that Trinity only had ten players. But this wasn't until the 13th of 14 (eight-ball) overs, by which time it was a too late to rectify the situation, so it was our opposition who played one man short all evening.
For the most part the implicit gap in their field wasn't relevant, as our opening pair of Tom Serby and Grant Kennedy seemed to score only in either casually strolled singles to a deep fielder or dismissive boundaries that nobody was going to stop. They seemed spectacularly uninterested in sharp twos or third runs on the arm, which meant that our total moved in fits and starts, and we were doing no better than "okay" with the score at 58/0, comfortably less than a run a ball, after 8 overs.
At this stage Grant had gotten most of the strike and was on a dot-heavy 21* off 41 balls (many of which he'd struggled to reach down the leg-side, but only two of which had been called as wides). But now he finally had his eye in, and in the second half of his innings he quadrupled his score, finishing up on 86* off 86 balls (the longest ever Remnants innings in a twenty/20 evening game). At the other end Tom had precisely matched this rate, being out for 33 off 33 balls; between them they'd put on a 130-run opening partnership and, with a little help from Dave Williams (1* off 2 balls), had taken us to a surely winning total of 144/1.
Our initial approach to defending our big score was a succession of pace (or at least "pace", given our level), which was broadly unsuccessful. A reasonable number of false shots were induced, but there were far more dismissive boundaries, and by the time Trinity had reached 80/0 after 8 overs we were in some trouble. This was especially frustrating as we'd dropped both openers in the space of three balls, the unlucky bowler being Adam Long (1/24), who was hence rewarded with a third over and rewarded us in turn with the vital breakthrough. While maybe not the moment of highest drama - it was just a solid straight ball that the batsman missed - it was one of those moments around which a match can turn, and from then on it was Remnants all the way.
Dave Norman (3/5) removed the other opener in an impeccable spell in which his off-spinning darts proved almost impossible to hit (or at least middle) and Julius Rix (1/9) also got a handy breakthrough when Tom Serby held onto a bullet at cover. Trinity had a brief resurgance when their number four suddenly denied the gloom to hit 14 runs off 4 rather indifferent deliveries from Daniel Mortlock (1/20), and that looked set to become 18 from 5 when a huge straight drive arced into the night sky. (Well, it wasn't like we could see any stars, but it was so dark that the automatic pavilion lights had come on.) Somehow Julius Rix moved back with the ball and took the cleanest of catches, a truly remarkable effort in the circumstances. Dave Williams then managed a nice take of his own, which was the last act of a match that, thankfully, was finally over.