Report by Daniel Mortlock:
Where once we used to turn up to FAS games safe in the knowledge that they'd thrash us before they headed off on tour, the last few years have seen a bit of a turn-around, with Remnants coming into today's game on a two-match winning streak. (That mightn't sound much but, given the ledger to 2015 was 2-9 in FAS's favour, it was actually quite significant.) Our recent results have come about in part because we've played some good cricket, but it's also clear that there's a more fundamental change, which is that FAS now only has half a dozen local players, so getting a team together who can get to Cambridge for a sensible starting time has proved to be a huge challenge for them. There was no point in having a toss tonight, and we instead allowed the FAS side to assemble while we headed out into the field. And what a field it was, the Leys School ground in Latham Road being ochre in colour and rock hard - it was more reminiscent of the UAE grounds Qaiser Ahmed played on in his youth than anything we usually see in England's previouusly green and pleasant land.
It was hence only natural to hand Qaiser the new ball, and he certainly bowled like he was right at home, starting with a maiden over in which the only deliveries that didn't swing past the outside edge were those which thudded into the batsman's midriff. Not to be outdone, Adam Long also started with a maiden, with the added bonus of a clever stumping by 'keeper Kanwar Singh who'd noticed that the batsman was habitually standing outside his crease after hitting (or, really, not hitting) the ball. The first runs didn't come until the 15th ball of the innings, and there were only 9 scoring shots in the first 10 (six-ball) overs, after which FAS were just 24/3. Given the dry conditions and the fact that, by this stage, they had two quality batsmen at the crease (one of whom was our own Joe White), this really was quite an achievement on our part. Our bowling figures at this stage were astonishing: Qaiser Ahmed 2 overs, 1 maiden, 0/4; Adam Long 2 overs, 1 maiden, 1/1; Naveen Chouksey 3 overs, 0 maidens 1/11; Daniel Mortlock 2 overs, 1 maiden, 0/2; and Claude Warnick 1 over, 0 maidens, 0/4. And there was some great back-up in the field: Will Saunders was lightning fast on the square boundary, and combined with Kanwar for a pro-level run out; John Young used Adam's patented Long barrier to good effect; and the likes of Adam and Quentin Harmer repeatedly scared the batsmen out of taking what were really easy singles by racing to meet the ball. In short it was a candidate for the most perfect 10 overs of cricket Remnants have ever managed.
It couuldn't last, of course, as the FAS batsmen got their eyes in and all but quintupled their total in the second half of the innings. This was more what we'd expected given the conditions, but of course this phase only lasted for 10 overs - or, really, 8, as Ferdi Rex (1/11) and Adam (who finished with 2/3) got wickets in the 19th and 20th overs to regain some of our early dominance at the changeover.
A target of 119 was surely going to be too small to test our strong batting line-up, and so it turned out. Will Saunders (22 off 10 balls) was first to get going, hitting 5 fours in 6 balls before getting a thin edge through to the 'keeper; and then Ferdi Rex (51* off 32 balls) picked up where Will had left off, first rotating the strike before going on a late-innings rampage. At the other end Julius Rix (39* off 45 balls) played a rather mixed innings, the primary effect of which seemed to be to annoy the opposition: after getting a life after our own Rob Harvey dropped an absolute sitter, he then taunted the fielders by playing and missing outside off stump for most of an over, before smashing a boundary off the last ball to keep the strike rate up. And our strike rate was so high that we ended up zooming past FAS's total in the 15th over, Ferdi finishing the match in style with his third enormous six.
With no bar at the ground and no pub in the vicinity (the nearest probably being back at Cambridge station) everyone just headed off - but presumably at least slept well in the knowledge of a job well done.