Remnants vs. Fen Ditton

18:00, Tuesday, July 4, 2017
Fitzwilliam College

Remnants (191/2 in 20 6-ball overs)
Fen Ditton (153/9 in 20 6-ball overs)
by 38 runs.

Report by Dave Williams:

Under azure - for the more scientifically minded, #007fff Color Hex - skies, captain Paul Jordan won the toss and decided to bat.

Young guns Matt Samson and Chris Badger set to work early with 30 off the Fen Ditton opener's first two, although at the other end Long's "off-the-wrong-leg" action was both impressively quick and accurate for only 5 off the same. Of the two batters Matt was the more aggressive-minded, pulling a short one with such clean power it bounced just short of the pavilion boundary without ever getting more than five feet off the ground. After 8 overs with 65 on the board Matt's dominance had already brought him his 50, the result of both hard running and intelligent "proper" shots - the right shot for the line/length - even though many of the fielders were already deep set. The canny introduction of Amelia Edwards into the FD attack brought both the first maximum and, next ball, first wicket: Matt caught in the deep, gone for an excellent 68. I came in at 3, working with the plan that I would farm as much strike as possible to Chris, by this time well-set and going for his shots. One of these was a steepling pull to deep midwicket on the long Sherlock Road-side boundary - dropped by the unfortunate "Jono", injuring his hand and having to be subbed for 10 minutes. With only a couple of fielders within 30 yards of the bat, though, singles were easy, bringing Chris on strike to swing out freely against the FD "death" slow bowlers. With three balls to go a misfield induced a run out - it could have been either end, but they chose Chris, no doubt for his superb 79. A rather bathetic leg bye resulted from my final-ball chassez six yards down the wicket to the FD captain's super-loopy off breaks (for my 29*), but the total of 191/2 looked like a very fine reward for the opening pair's efforts.

A diffident start, with much apologising from one FD opener to the other for not running singles straight to the fielder, portended what I imagined would be a pushover. As often happens in this amazing game, they suddenly got their s*** together; the whippy pace of Garryth Jackson (did I really hear Matt try to get the scorer to record him as "the Gazzatron"?) now seemed as predictable as a game of noughts and crosses, as the deep-blue-sportwear-clad FD opener did a mind game of toddling up the wicket to smash through midwicket, or hanging back to cream through square leg. Nathan Wright's second went for 18 (0/23 from 2 overs), although it brought the run out of the other opener, who, in spite of Elton John's thoughts on this matter, presumably found "sorry" quite an easy word to say to his teammates after knocking the ball straight to "Cool Hand" Paul Jordan at mid on and haring off for a disastrous "run". The next wicket to fall: "red mist" is a psychic phenomenon observable on any field where cricket is played: a batsman going well is induced into a kind of altered mental state where fours or sixes are only tolerated simply because there is nothing better to hand. The only parallel I have found for this is from the arena of armed conflict: the "Berserkers" believed that pain was for losers and did barmy things like going into battle without armour, or biting the metal of their shields to prove how hard they were. Back to cricket, Cambridge, 4 July 2017: a couple of leg-side boundaries in Alec Armstrong's first over led the ever-judicious Paul to move a fielder over (to make a 4-5 legside field). Whereupon the blue-clad opener, who had been doing so well, thought he would dance down the wicket while going for a berserk reverse sweep into the apparently fatally weakened offside field. Miss: easy stumping. Game: end of. Alec scythed (as it were) through the FD middle order (2/26 from 4 overs); Garryth (1/32 from 4 overs) entertainingly bowled the FD number three, who looked like he could have really benefited from the missing wood not there in his mini Mongoose bat; and Saurav Dutta gave his leg breaks a very good rip in his 4 overs (0/27). The FD wicketkeeper threatened to make a good contest of it, including smashing Faruk Kara's first ball for six, but Faruk was then too busy ripping the heart out of the FD lower order (4/21 from 4 overs), including three gorgeous length balls outside the off, nipping sharply back to clip the off bail. In the first of Paul's 2 overs (1/16) he cunningly sprayed four byes, as wide as can be without counting against the bowler, both sides of the wicket, before bowling one that screamed in from the 1990s to spear through the wicketkeeper's defence and smash down his castle.

A satisfying evening's work, and some friendly handshakes from Fen Ditton. Some jugs were bought and some ales were quaffed. As an aside, having not played for a while it was a pleasure to see so many good, young, new (to the Remnants) players. I'm very pleased to meet you!