Report by Cam Petrie:
In ideal mid-summer circumstances, a close to 9pm finish would see us enjoying a post-match beer while basking in the evening glow. We haven't had many chances to bask of late, as the weather has been crap and four of our last seven fixtures have been cancelled. Today we had a refreshingly warm mid-August evening and lovely blue skies. However, the pace of the whole game seemed to be set at "leisurely", such that long shadows were already across the pitch at the halfway point, and the last (in this instance the 12th eight-ball) over of the second innings was batted out in the latter stages of dusk. Remnants were comfortable winners in the end, but this is only our second victory in six completed games since mid-July. Although the pace of the game verged on turgid, the action out on the square was a sharp contrast, as both sides had impressively quick bowlers on display; but the fact that everyone seemed to be coming in off the long run up meant that many of the eight-ball overs seemed to take an age.
On winning the toss and electing to bowl, things started brilliantly for Remnants as Adam Long (2/12 off 3 overs) bowled a wicket maiden, Joe White (1/15 off 2 overs) went for a miserly 3 runs off his first over, and then Adam claimed his second bowled in the third over. The second Coton opener learned the perils of opting for a middle and off guard, standing deep in his crease and missing the ball when trying to combat the in-swinging yorker.
This wicket brought in erstwhile Remnant Karti Malik (70* off 53 balls) who quickly set about rescuing the Coton innings. He initially roughed up Joe, before Joe drew the Coton number 3 to loft a chance to Rahul Jhawar (in his first Remnants game) bringing them to 18/3 off 4 overs. Karti then completely butressed their innings with two partnerships - playing defensively when appropriate, attacking everything else, rotating the strike, and upping the pressure on the Remnants field. This soon showed as we managed to be quite clean with our ground fielding, but quite terrible with the aerial work and throwing. Ferdi managed a shy at the stumps that beat three (yes three!) people backing up to gift Coton a 5, and we managed to drop a combination of absolute sitters and genuinely difficult chances. Several of these were off Rahul's bowling, and his only consolation was a caught behind for a maddeningly unfulfilled 1/19 off 3 overs. Alec Armstrong (0/28 off 2 overs), Andy Owen (1/27 off 3 overs) and Paul Jordan (2/14 off 2 overs) saw us home and suffered and benefitted from attacking batting. A flurry of late wickets started with a run out by Joe who threw the ball from mid-way to the mid-off boundary to the keeper's end for a direct hit off an overthrow, and kept on with a held catch, a stumping and a fairly comprehensive bowled!
In the end, Karti scored two-thirds of Coton's runs, and appeared to be seeing it like a football. We almost tied him up, but he kept scoring by improvising an array of paddle and reverse sweeps and even hit Andy for a reverse pull shot four over cover - which was only just dropped by Ferdi who got a flying hand to the ball that stopped a six. The only other semi-chance he offered was off a top edge that went miles in the air and had Adam running towards the boundary and trying to take it over his shoulder looking towards the Sun, etc. (i.e., not really a chance).
Remnants rushed from the field and openers Cam Petrie (14 off 8 balls) and Dave Williams (9 off 20 balls) managed to keep up with the scoring rate from the off, before Cam was out in a hapless "yes", "no", stop, start, pause, give up, running disaster. Dave started to counter attack before Coton opted for a double bowling change, and it is actually unclear whether Dave saw the first ball of the fifth over, which sent his bails flying.
Remnants were now 27/2, and things were not exactly going to plan. What was clear was that the change bowlers both had genuine pace, which meant that new bats Ferdi Rex (58* off 38 balls) and Julius Rix (27* off 26 balls) had to maintain absolute focus to i) stay in, ii) score runs, and iii) avoid injury from short balls being bowled off long run-ups in the fading light (mutter, mutter).
Nonetheless, what could have been an extremely tricky chase turned into a classic two-hander, as Ferdi and Julius defended quality balls and nudged, sliced, slapped and walloped everything else, to bring us galloping home. The quick bowlers were threatening, but never really managed to contain the scoring rate and the second change bowlers were downright expensive. Highlights from the undefeated third wicket partnership worthy of mention are: Julius declining Ferdi's suggestion that he should get a helmet and then only just managing to avoid a ball that cannoned straight through the spot where his head had just been; Julius missing three consecutive pull shots with increasingly expansive follow throughs before finally swinging less hard and collecting a lovely boundary; and Ferdi hitting a towering six over the top of the pavilion netting with a what looked like a gentle flick of the wrists. The long run ups had pushed the finish well past sunset, and the Coton fielders were astonished that it was still possible to see the ball at the end - and I think we were all glad that we didn't need our full 15 overs, as we may have had to resort to one of the bright orange balls that Adam was juggling.