Report by Daniel Mortlock:
Finally, after several weeks of shivering through our evenings at Fitz, summer arrived. It wasn't the first time it's been sunny, but it is the first time the sunlight has carried some heat with it, and it was just a pity nobody thought to get some pre-match lager shandies in. It was hence impossible not to resist the lure of batting first upon winning the toss, and for most of the team to kick back and watch the runs pile up.
And that's pretty much what happened: after an early wicket Grant Kennedy and Julius Rix set about hitting smashing the ball to the boundary (particular on the far side of the ground, as we were playing on the most distant square today). They'd taken us to an imposing 93/1 after 8 (eight-ball) overs before Grant made the mistake of going from 34 to 40 with an enormous six, and hence being called in for reaching the retirement figure off, in his case, just 21 balls. This inevitably robbed us off momentum, and the next over yielded just 5 runs and a wicket; but then Joe White took up where Grant had left off, at one point hitting 18 runs off 6 (legal) deliveries on his way to 25* (off 22 balls). The "legal" qualifier matters here, as the Sharks' bowling was at best erratic, as evidenced by 14 two-run wides and 2 two-run no balls - in the end there were 35 extras, and so there was presumably some danger of an unprecedented retirement there as well. Meanwhile Julius had joined Grant in the batting hospice, his 41* coming off 29 balls; and, while he hit plenty of good shots, his best play was to make sure he was safely back in the pavilion by the time Sharks captain Adam Wilson belatedly brought himself on to bowl. His 2 overs were twice as fast and twice as tight as anything his teammates had offered up, and in the end he was unlucky to end up with figures of "just" 2/3 from his 2 overs. Our innings hence rather dried up, just 19 runs coming from the last 4 overs (i.e., 32 balls), although fortunately our start was so good that we had a healthy total of 153/4 to defend.
For most of our innings it was touch and go whether we had enough: for every ball that beat the bat and just missed the stumps there was a big swing and a boundary - the scorebook is basically all boundaries and dots. Thanks in large part to recent recruits Chris Clarkson (0/16) and Nathan Wright (an unlucky 0/28) we'd gradually nudged ourselves ahead of the game, with Fen Di- er, Sharks on 83/2 after 9 overs, now needing 71 runs from 48 balls. It was at this point we (well the captain) gambled by putting on our slowest bowler, John Moore, from his preferred end, from where he'd bowled superbly from there in the last few matches; the reason it was a gamble was that the opposition's big-hitting captain, the aforementioned Adam Wilson, had just come in and this was the end and would surely be eyeing up the short leg-side boundary. And that's just what happened, to the tune of 4 4 6 . 4 6 2 2. The gamble hadn't paid off and, with that one tactical mistake, the Sharks were probably ahead, now needing 43 off 40 balls.
We had to get some wickets, a task that was handed to the veterans, who did the job: Joe White (2/27) bowled Wilson next over; and Daniel Mortlock (2/9) conceded just 1 run from the following over. The task of taking us home then fell to Faurk Kara, who'd been taken off after a rusty-looking first over which leaked 12 runs, but now had a chance at redemption . . . which he more than took, grabbing 4 wickets for 5 runs (to end up with 4/17), thanks in part to two sharp stumpings by Grant Kennedy and a rather fortunate catch by Daniel, who back-pedalled under a skier to the point that the was descending directly at his head only for it to sick in a hopefully protruded left hand. There was also plenty of good ground fielding too, with James Crozier and Julius Rix tirelessly and immaculately patrolling the square boundaries, Tom Serby, Chris Clarkson and Johns Moore and Young making some great stops closer in. In the end we ran out comfortable 27-run winners, the Sharks having lost 6/12 across the last 5 overs of the match.
Far more important, though, was that it was still warm enough to sit outside and enjoy a beer, incluing Michael McCann's belated jug for his fifty in the first Remnants match of the season back in April.