Report by Dave Williams:
The game sprang to life with all the coiled aggression of a comatose slug on Mogadon. Thus at 6:15pm captain Chris Badger was facing the motley allsorts of an opening over that was probing the "corridor of uncertainty", in this case whether most of the deliveries should be called wide or not. Chris always looks like he has time to play his shots, though, and opened his account with a beautiful straight-bat drive through cover point for four followed by a lovely controlled on drive that politely rolled up the driveway and out on to Oxford Road. The other St G opener from the Windsor Road end was at least rather straighter, and got some welly for his pains from Chris. I came and went (8 off 10 out of an opening stand of 44) after a weird front-foot lungeing attempt to a drive a ball that wasn't as full as I wanted it to be; the game is full of memories and expectations, few of which match the reality we are required to deal with. Matt Samson brought energy and some urgency, largely in response to the fluid action and rapid pace of the St G first change - as a game-within-a-game this was the highest standard of the match. A no ball (on height) led to the first free hit I've seen in Remnants matches: Chris had a swish but missed. This passage of play also had the curio of a six wides: a close-run single induced a frantic hurl at the stumps which raced past both the keeper and man backing-up. The same overactive fielder shortly did much better to break down the stumps as Matt (24 off 22) went for what would usually be a realistic run. Temoor Khan joined Chris and seemed to find the higher pace very much to his liking; Huw Davies and Naveen Chouksey, guest bowling for St G, got some stick too. Chris had had to retire (51* off 40), but Temoor kicked on all the way through to retirement in the last over for an impressive 52* off 25. Qaiser Ahmed finished on 10* off 9; Ben Stone 1* off 2. Temoor had helped us put on exactly 100 in the last ten overs - a great effort. 169 looked like it would be hard to beat.
Ben Stone's run-up makes him look like the lovechild of a sidewinder and Anton du Beke, meaning he is both menacing and elegant; his final five steps are strongly rhythmical, with plenty of high arm and fast spine rotation giving good pace out of the hand. Certainly his second ball was plenty vicious enough to shatter the stumps of the St G no. 2. Alec Armstrong's mesmeric variations of pace and turn were both dangerous and tidy at the Huntingdon Road end. An impressive runout from Qaiser helped bring further pressure on the chasers: after eight overs (Ben's 4 overs, 1 for 15; Alec's 4 overs, 0 for 20) St Giles only had 44 to show for their efforts. Huw Davies - unusually bowling for both sides - kept things under control (3 overs for 15); Faruk seemed to be bowling shorter than usual but got Cam Petrie (guesting for St G) to loft one up for Qaiser at wide mid-on. His second wicket was chipped to Matt, who had just moved himself to shortish mid-on: four overs, 2 for 24.
With 15 overs gone, we might have felt a little complacent that St Giles had only scored 79 - the asking rate was more than 17 an over. The introduction of pace (Qaiser and Naveen, the latter having bowled against Remnants earlier) seemed to galvanize a previously slightly sleepy run chase: Qaiser's first ball was dumped over the boundary at long on. In fact his first over went for a scary 19, including a very wide (but not called such) legside four byes hotly contested by Temoor doing a fine job as newbie wicketkeeper; and Naveen's first two had gone for 15 each. It would be true to say that Remnants' nerves were jangling. A difficult drop at deep midwicket preceded a happily more successful caught-and-bowled by Qaiser (2 overs, 1 for 21). The four balls of Naveen's and the match's final over went 1 W 1 W (W also standing for loud whooping from Naveen), with a nice running catch by Faruk, thus bringing the nine-man St Giles innings to an end. The opener, retired on 52*, could have come back, but 36 off two balls is a big ask.