Report by Dave Williams:
"I'm hoping there's someone who's not fussed about playing today" was the earlier message from Secretary Daniel; in theory, from a selected 12 there wouldn't have been a problem. As it happens Daniel had a good reason and had conscientiously emailed us all, but the start was a bit weird because the few Remnants players actually there on time had to decide who was going to decide. In lieu of there being a captain, to avoid having a toss at all I had tried to move things along before nightfall by getting the St Giles captain to agree a "Remnants bat first" decision, based on the five Remnants there. I don't know what happened (more Remnants arrived? Was there a toss?), but it turned out that St Giles batted first in reasonable light; we were batting in increasingly Stygian gloom, and were a further player short anyway. Neither of these probably affected the result - but I get ahead of myself . . .
So it was that Tom Davidson took charge, based on the admirable principles of i) wanting to, ii) looking fairly perky and iii) being a good player, although Remnants tradition and precedent of course leads to iv), the captain bats himself a long way down the order.
Heat and humidity encouraged good swing from opener Tom, regularly beating the edge before smacking into the ever-tidy gloves of Kanwar Singh, against whom there were again no byes today. Naveen Chouksey bowled upwind from the Windsor Road end; his first three were shortish ones that went unpunished, but his first length ball got driven for four. Throughout the St G innings every time the ball got past the inner circle the withered grass offered little resistance; there was no Remnants over that didn't contain at least one boundary.
First change Andrew Granville serves up the kind of pace that induces the fear - which is, of course, also the cunning plan he will take a wicket - that he will get smashed all round the ground. His first ball was defended respectfully. His second - the batsman's lit-up eyes were visible from long off - induced an ugly heave and miss: first wicket down at 43. The 8th ball of the over was a hefty off break that led to one of a spinner's most satisfying dismissals: the batsman chose to leave, only to watch the ball hit the stumps. Second change Rahul Jhawar, bowling upwind, leaked three boundaries off his first. Then a curious intermezzo - Andrew was taken off after two wickets in an over. The reason? He was bowling downwind. The result? I came on for my first over of the season, which was surprisingly well-controlled (8 runs). Andrew and Rahul had now switched ends; a nice caught behind off Andrew brought his third wicket (three overs, 34 for 3), and Rahul finished off his three overs, 0 for 39, but by now the batting side were comfortable and motoring.
Early doors John Moore had pulled a leg muscle sprinting after a straight drive, but he bravely came on for two overs near the end. A nice catch by Tom was at least some return for 29 runs conceded. Naveen (three overs, 0 for 35) and Tom (three overs, 0 for 23) brought the innings to a conclusion. Considering the lightning fast outfield, 170 was better than par, but in theory gettable.
In a remarkable outbreak of common sense, under increasingly heavy cloud the camouflaged red (de facto black) ball was switched to visible orange. This didn't seem to help our ability, though, to make contact with it during the first over: fierce pace and a maiden. Stephen Bidwell went second ball of the second (2 off 2); I managed to rotate strike with my prolific leg bye stratagem. Martin Prowse smacked a nice couple of boundaries, leaving me on strike next over against the scary "Curtis"; our joint surprise at me getting bat on ball brought both us a third of the way down the wicket before I called "no", by which time one of the keen and athletic St G fielding unit had thrown down the stumps at the bowler's end. My apologies to Stephen (8 off 12).
A strange outbreak of water droplets known in former times as "rain" briefly threatened to bring the match to an early close. Sam Thomas and I were in truth struggling against the now reduced-pace attack of Ben Stone (also of this parish) and "Jakes", but I managed a weird Chinese cut behind my legs and behind square leg for 4, and Sam (in the era of "360-degree batting") drilled three consecutive glances in an arc of approximately 5 degrees behind point for four. He had to go next over plum LBW, but he had made a helpfully rapid - at a time when it looked like we might have a chance - 12 off 9.
Kanwar briefly threatened to dominate before chopping on (8 off 8), and Rahul just couldn't get started (0 off 5). John was indeed having a s*** day: his first ball came off a top edge and smacked into his face. The sight of a team mate face down, motionless, brings knots - a feeling of dread - to my stomach. Luckily John got up after a while - staggering slightly - and walked off.
In the light of the lack of light and increasingly infeasible run rate St Giles now turned to the slower and presumably second echelon of their bowling attack; I managed to biff a few to the boundary before being bowled (38 off 36). Tom managed a useful 12 off 13, Andrew 0 off 2; surprise arrival Richard Rex 9 off 7, Naveen 5 off 4.
Last man standing was the impressively resilient John Moore, who had latterly proved his fitness to bat by laughing when I made a V-sign at him and asked him how many fingers I was holding up. The only problem was that at the end John, second time round, hadn't faced another ball.
Some learning points from this match: