Report by Daniel Mortlock:
Wash-outs were so last year - or so we thought. The day started with an e-mail from Dave Norman warning that "tonights game is in doubt, I was away all weekend so the covers were not on. At the moment I cant get on the wicket as its really wet, I will make a call at lunchtime". Previous experience has shown that such messages from Dave mean that he'll work his arse off all morning but that, in the end, the ground is simply too wet for play. Happily, the promised lunchtime message was "the pitch will just be playable this evening . . . a pudding you could say." And so a ten-man County Council team took on a Remnants eleven . . . that turned into a Remnants nine when two players didn't turn up . . . and then got back to being ten when Dave Green came by the ground and was persuaded to nip home to get his whites.
We won the toss and chose to bat first on what was indeed a pudding, the result of which was two very distinct types of innings. Those batsmen who got unlucky in their first few balls (or played overly-confident shots) were doomed to head straight back to the pavilion, a fate that befell Seth Aycock (0 off 1 ball, hindered by having come off his bike earlier in the day), Kanwar Singh (0 off 2 balls, and deceived by the lack of pace from both the bowler and the pitch) and Ev Fox (4 off 5 balls before suffering essentially the same fate as Kanwar). But just about everyone else had a field day: James Crozier broke out of his mid-season slump to reach retirement on 50* off 41 balls; Matt Samson (51* off 30 balls) survived an early innings mis-hit when he was through his shot early, the result being a skier that his captain Daniel Mortlock, fielding for the County Council, got his finger to; Tom Davidson looked set to reach retirement despite having only come in the 12th (eight-ball) over, before he was bowled on the penultimate ball of the innings for 41 off 20 balls; and Daniel, now back in Remnants colours, survived a paceless high lob that only bounced about six inches off the ground and missed his leg stump by centimetres to finish on unfulfilled 5* off 6 balls. The net result was a remarkably high total of 176/5 that was the equivalent of 200+ in normal conditions. The only problem was that our innings had both started late (at 6:07pm) and then taken 75 minutes; and when this was followed by a ponderous 11-minute changeover that saw us standing around for 5 minutes ready to go . . .
. . . the result was that our biggest challenge was not defending our total, but getting through 15 eight-ball overs in the hour of light remaining. In the end we managed both, starving the County Council of scoring opportunities (despite having just ten men in the field) and delivering 120 balls in what scorer Russell Woolf recorded as exactly 60 minutes. From a cricketing point of view the stars were Toms Davidson (1/16) and Bloomfield (0/15), who were both superb with the orange ball, although a huge slab of the credit should go to the outfielders, led by James Crozier and with excellent support from, er, the Toms again. It soon became clear that the County Council weren't going to threaten our total, but actually winning was going to mean upping the pace - which Kanwar Singh (0/20), Seth Aycock (0/12) and Daniel Mortlock (0/13) all did superbly by coming in off almost non-existent run-ups. In amongst all this hyper-efficiency, the one bowler who really had fun was Faruk Kara: he lured the batsmen into plenty of false shots, one of which was caught after a long but relaxed run by Daniel, one of which was caught after a short but painful run by the injured Seth, and one of which yielded a nice stumping by 'keeper Ev Fox. By this stage Faruk had figures of 2.5 overs, 0 maidens, 3/23, and with a new batsman at the crease must have been licking his lips at the prospect of another wicket . . . but the surviving County Council opener, Ben Hammersley, was now on strike and being goaded by Matt Samson at mid-wicket to "hit it over my head!" (Matt had previously used this techniquue to induce Ben to hit a straightforward catch to him in the same spot, but he'd come a fatal two steps in and made a spectacular mess of what was a simple chance.) Matt tactic back-fired again, this time because he stood 15 yards in from the boundary, the result being that the County Council's innings finished with three consecutive boundaries over Matt's head, meaning also that Faruk's figures morphed into a rather less pleasing (but still match-topping) 3/35.
By this stage just ending the game was the priority - the automatic pavillion lights had come on with a few overs to go - and fortunately the use of an orange ball meant that the match finished without things getting (too) stupid. But it's certainly clear that the season proper is over, and that next week it'll be 13x8s at best. Sigh.