Report by Dave Williams:
The colour palette for this evening ran from gunmetal grey for the rain-bearing stratocumulus castellanus - switching to full drench mode as I drove over the down south of Haslingfield - through a dark electric late-summer blue for the little bits of sky between, and so on to the lush verdure of the spectacularly long and pretty Barrington village green. On which the white-clad antagonists would shortly act out their archetypal English village sporting drama, a struggle of howling primitive violence usually mistaken for a load of not-fit blokes loafing about.
For Lo! Andy Owen won the toss and decided to bowl. The opening over from Saurav Dutta immediately revealed that the wquality of pace and bounce we might expect from the wicket was similar to that of a slightly overcooked rice pudding: the first two deliveries were a little short of a length and posing a danger to the batter of yorking him on the second bounce. When Saurav began to pitch it up a bit the TTP openers seemed bemused by the lack of pace and excess of turn, rewarding his four overs with a maiden, a miserly 5 runs, and a wicket (the hapless "Frank" for his less-than-glorious 1 off 18 balls). At the other end Felix Serby repeatedly beat the bat during his two overs for 7. Alec Armstrong's bewitching and unpickable medley of in-turn and out-turn continued the adagio theme (1/22 from 4 overs). With a sharp runout from the ever-agile Felix at square leg, TTP, half-way through their overs, were struggling on a strongly underwhelming 34/3.
At which point the TTP number 6, "Harry", at last began to unfurl some shots, carting Faruk Kara through the otherwise athletic and purposeful Julius Rix at deep mid-wicket to the elegant picket fence in front of the grandest house in the village. The regular fall of wickets continued at the other end, with Felix showing excellent reflexes to snaffle an aggressive hoik off Faruk (2/24 off his 4 overs). “Harry" seemed to be unfazed by the lack of pace, hence Andy's decision to bring on his relatively quick round-the-wicket offering. Never reluctant to metaphorically kick his opponents when they're down, Andy's command of line/length proved too much for a rapid succession of TTP-ers. At the other end Temoor Khan closed out 2 overs for a mere 3 runs by means of his impressively manic and unpredictable (slow, slow, quick quick, slow) control of pace.
Cut to the first ball of the final over: TTP number 9, bowled Andy. Next ball: number 10 attempted the most respectful of backward defences only to hear the sniggering of Remnants at the sight of shattered stumps. The last man (surrounded by the whole side willing our own version of life imitating art, viz. Moeen's hat-trick to finish the Test on Monday) just about managed to keep the third ball out. Fourth ball: single, bringing “Harry" on strike. On the fifth ball Harry's two runs skilfully avoided getting him retired at 25 by virtue of having no further partners to take over from him. Sixth ball: lovely clean hit into the tree behind long on for the only "maximum" of the match. Andy's superb figures: 4 overs, 1 maiden, 4/15. Even allowing for the stodgy pitch and lush outfield, 81 wasn't enough, dear reader, was it?
Opener Julius was especially swashbuckling off the much speedier TTP opening salvoes. His flailing blade sent him and John Young scampering for an unusual sequence (6) of twos as the long grass stopped the ball reaching the boundary. John was rather less urgent for his 15-ball single. A succession of short off-side near-wides and leg-side byes greeted yours truly. My boredom and incompetence - swishing across the line to a short one I bizarrely imagined would bounce the same as it does at Fitz - sent me off for a über-drossy duck off 8 balls. Meanwhile Julius had reached the magic 26* (off 25 balls) and went off to Remnants' applause and gratitude. Tom Serby's stay in the middle lasted 7 balls and troubled the scorer inasmuch as Alec had to write down zero. Matt Samson (who had been lively and most capable behind the stumps in the first innings) announced his arrival with a sweetly timed boundary before moving smoothly to his 16* (off 12 balls); fellow impressive runner-between-the-wickets Felix helped bring the match to a close at 12* (off 14 balls). The final stages of the run chase were so rivetingly exciting it turns out that we had probably got the runs already, and thus didn't need the bye off the last ball of the fourteenth over.
Some out-takes from my "I Am A Camera" notebook: