Report by Daniel Mortlock:
Our games against FAS (now standing for a more inclusive Fathers And Sprogs than the original Fathers And Sons) have always involved a number of Remnants, with the likes of Rob, Faruk, Joe and Daniel all FAS regulars. And, sure enough, the first three of these were (literally) out in FAS colours today. But then, as they were short a couple of players, both Matt Samson (fresh off a big score yesterday) and Nathan Wright (with one of the three Remnants five-fors of the season) were drafted in as well. Still, there was no question of this descending into a half-hearted internal game, as we were still smarting from a sequence of five big losses against FAS that we only arrested with the help of some questionable umpiring decisions last year. Moreover, the rest of the FAS line-up was dominated by Old Leysians who play their Saturday cricket in Senior 2.
FAS won the toss and elected to bowl . . . eventually - there was no delay in the decision (even though it was relayed by phone, Avengers-style), but about a quarter of an hour passed with the requisite 15 people out on the field but nothing happening. The first ball wasn't bowled until about 6:20pm, and then there was a further delay when John Young was the subject of a huge caught behind appeal first ball. He seemed about to walk but then stayed, apparently unsure if he'd hit the ball; the umpire seemed about to give him out but then opted not to; and then for some reason everyone on the field froze, not remonstrating with the umpire, but not going back to bowl the next ball either. John eventually edged his way toward the pavilion in the manner of a stage-hand who's accidentally ended up in the spotlight, which meant that by about 6:30pm we'd had 4 balls and the score was 1/1.
Temoor Khan and James Crozier then managed a delicate balance with the FAS attack, being unable to break free but also managing to play pretty comfortably. The only real exceptions were the occasions on which Temoor got through his shot way too early and skied catches to the mid-wicket fielder; both times he jogged resignedly towards the non-striker's end but both times was reprieved, the ball having gone to FAS's one non-cricketer each time. After 10 (six-ball) overs we were 63/1, which was a good platform, but only if we could then accelerate . . . which is just what we did, a total of 103 runs coming from the next 10 overs. This was partly because Temoor and James started to score a bit more freely and run more adventurously - although in the end the main result of this was to exhaust both of them, James repeatedly requesting hydration and Temoor eventually run out mid-pitch, seemingly having decided that the sanctuary of the bar was more important than that of the seemingly-distant crease. (The run out wasn't even close, but had it been the umpire would have had additional information from the lighting up of the "zing bails" that we were playing with today.) Still, by this stage TK had made a superb 61 (off 55 balls), and had paved the way for our middle order to push us over the top. Grant Kennedy (27* off 16 balls) managed this superbly, but James (41 off 37 balls), Tom Serby (5 off 3 balls) and Dave Norman (4 off 6 balls, stumped off Faruk's bowling) all perished in search of quick runs. For a moment it looked like Joe, who'd come back to bowl the final over, was going to keep us under 150, but Julius Rix (10* off 6 balls) had the last laugh with a sequence of twos and fours that took us to 166/5, only 4 less than the target set by captain Mortlock.
Said captain was even happier a few overs later, as superb mini-spells from him (2 overs, 1 maiden 2/2) and Andy Owen (2 overs, 0 maidens, 0/4) meant that the required rate was almost immediately raised to 10 an over. They obviously bowled well, but arguably the key moment of the game was when Matt Samson hit an elegant lofted on-drive that was sure to go well over Quentim Harmer at mid-on. Given that we'd already put down one catch it seemed that we were destined to offer the opposition batsmen the same extra lives that our players had been given, and so it didn't feel there was much point in turning to see if the ball would be caught, especially as Quentin was up on the single . . . except he'd assessed the way the batsmen were playing and made the executive decision to drop himself back on the two, from where was just able to reach up and take a superb catch. It was a good effort in and of itself, but was also the first outfield catch taken after four bad drops.
Quentin got the additional reward of immediately being brought onto bowl, whence Daniel was able to return the favour with a nice sliding catch of his own at mid-off. There followed a superb period of consolidation as Quentin (1/26 off his 4 overs) and John Moore (0/22 off his first 2 overs) both proved difficult to get away, and by the end of their spells it wasn't a question of whether we were going to win, but by how much. The answer, it rapidly became clear, was: a lot. More good bowling from Temoor Khan (0/10), Dave Norman (0/13) and Julius Rix (1/10, the wicket decisively completing his personal victory over Joe) combined beautifully with some superb fielding by Johns Young and Moore, Julius Rix and, particularly (if also predictably), James Crozier. He seems to have spent the entire running around the boundary line to field two or three balls an over - and hasn't missed one. Today was just the same, and he personally saved about twenty runs, which quite often would be a match-winning effort . . .
. . . but not today, as we won by 44 runs. It was our biggest ever runs victory against FAS, but maybe more importantly it was, in contrast to last year's drought-breaking effort, uncontenious - we simply outplayed the opposition today. And despite the late start and slow-moving game, it was still warm and light when we finished, giving everyone the chance to try and drain the bar dry while being able to claim it was part of a serious "rehydration" exercise.