Match report by Daniel Mortlock:
Cricket is a batsman's game. It's been said many times, but it's never been truer than it was today. At Trent Bridge England smashed the Australian B team for 481/6 in a 50-over game, obliterating their own record of 444/3. And at Fitzwilliam College's playing fields Remnants Blue Meanies and Red Bulls combined to score 369/5 in 39.3 overs. This was the third most in a Remnants evening game, and we surely would have smashed the record of 378 (and broken the 400 barrier) were it not for the fact that our batsmen had to retire upon reaching 40 (something which as many batmsen managed as were dismissed - five in each category).
That might suggest there was no competition between bat and ball . . . and, er, largely there wasn't; but there were little patches where the bowlers made a game of it. The first of these was right at the start of the match: Paul Jordan, captaining the Blue Meanies (presumably so named because he's a Beatles fan), sent out Remnants first-timer Harris Tetlay to open the batting; Daniel Mortlock, captaining the Red Bulls (so named because Nathan Wright claimed he needed one after bowling two overs), responded by giving another Remnants debutante, Mitchell Cox, the new ball. This would all seem somewhere between arbitrary and bizarre until it's revealed that Mitchell and Harris live together, and actually seem keen to inhabit some sort of gestalt entity such that whoever gets up first in the morning gets to choose which of their two names they'll adopt. And given that the reason they were playing today was that they'd appeared together after one of last week's games and announced they'd be interested in playing some mid-week cricket, it seemed more than appropriate to give Mitchell a crack at Harris in the first over. This encounter was delayed for a few minutes as Tom Serby took the first few balls, but they were sufficient to establish that Mitchell was seriously sharp: his first ball swung past Tom's rather tentative shot, hit 'keeper Rob Harvey on the arm, and then ricocheted into Daniel's chest at first slip. But then Harris showed that he was up to the task, defending his first ball calmly and then hitting his next to the boundary. And his next. And his next. At which point Mitchell decided enough was enough and sent down the perfect bouncer, that seemed to be 10 mph faster than the deliveries that preceded it and was a red blur to most of us. Harris went for the pull, but the ball was too quick, and the next thing we heard was the sharp clunk of ball against . . . hardened polymer. We contemplated a bodyline field to see what would happen next, but Mitchell demurred, and in the end had to be content with some moral victories on the way to figures of 0/33, while Harris was the first of the day's retirements, having made it to 43* off just 27 balls.
The Red Bulls made something of a comeback after this, after Qaiser Ahmed (0/12) made the execellent suggestion that they take the pace off the ball. Nathan Wright (1/13) and Andrew Granville (0/25) both proved to be far harder to hit than Mitchell and Qaiser, Nathan's breakthrough coming courtesy of Daniel's back-pedalling one handed "hail Mary" catch. The lull in the scoring was but brief, however, as Julius Rix (29* off 31 balls), Matt Samson (38 off 26 balls) and Temoor Khan (43 off 23 balls) all picked up with the openers had left off. The bowling figures were all predictably dismal, although Joe White (1/29) must have been pretty happy to be back in the wickets after having sat out the the first third of the season due to injury.
The end result of all this was that the Red Bulls were faced with a surely implausible target of 185 to win - the highest successful chase in one of our evening games was when the Woozlers overhauled our 179/4 in 2010 - although there was the saving grace that the Blue Meanies (like the Red Bulls) had just ten players. Certainly any fears that the chase was going to be dead in the water were quickly allayed as openers Joe White (43* off 28 balls) and Dave Norman (41* off 25 balls), followed by number three Qaiser Ahmed (40* off 20 balls) all raced to retirement with a series of dismissive boundaries. The result was a five-man partnership of 140 that was only broken in the 14th over when Temoor Khan (2/14) deceived Mitchell Cox (1 off 5 balls) to the degree that he over-balanced and twisted his ankle (not seriously), so that the only doubt was whether 'keeper Julius Rix had him stumped or run out.
Despite Temoor's superb efforts, the runs kept coming, as first Will Saunders (17 off 11 balls, including the biggest of the day's many sixes) and then Andrew Granville (20 off 21 balls) got into the act. Indeed, Andrew looked set to complete the enormous chase with an over to spare when he pulled a full toss from Faruk Kara (1/29) towards the pavilion boundary - one final six would have been the most appropriate of ways to end the game - but John Moore steadied himself under the swirling ball and held an excellent catch. The equation was now 5 needed off 8 balls, which sounds like a doddle in the context of the match, but in fact meant it was an even money game with two new and, er, "out of practice" batsmen, Daniel Mortlock and Rob Harvey, at the crease. Sure enough there was none of the earlier boundary-hitting, and instead dubiously nurdled singles - Daniel would have been comfortably run out if Julius had not been yorked by the fielder's quick throw - that, in the end were enough: Daniel (7* off 9 balls) exploited a thick edge to tie the game up with four balls remaining and then Rob (2* off 2 balls) took inspiration from his captain's dead-bat approach and scored the winning run with a near-identical shot.
Forty overs of batting mayhem thus ended with something closer to the "village cricket" feel we're more used to. And certainly the post-match scene was of that vibe, with people sitting around in the sun nursing pints before heading off to the Tandoori Palace for a high-protien meal.