Report by Matt Samson:
Locals familiar with North-West Cambridge will be familiar with the Huntingdon, Oxford and Fitzwilliam roads. Even that said, fabled groundsman Billy Norman outdid himself with the evening's deck - which was flat as a tack and with just enough spring that the ball bounced nicely onto the middle of the bat. That, combined with the rapid and bumpy, drought-ridden, outfield meant the bowlers were in for a stinker. Samson and Fox opened for Remnants. Samson faced first and summarily wafted at his second ball - a straight medium pacer outside off - missing it by around four inches. He did however, manage to farm strike for the second over and then streakily square drove his first four at catching height through the vacant point region. Fox finally got to face a few balls and showed enough composure for both batsmen: deflecting the good deliveries and showcasing his devastating whip off the pads. The score quickly progressed to 0-40 for 5 overs, which prompted the Academicals to introduce mystery spinner Rex Snr. His one over was highlighted by Samson running three yards down the wicket to a particularly loopy loopy-spinner, realising he was caught woefully out of position, and then running three yards back and blocking the ball. Samson, however, soon realised that he could swing at even balls that landed in the crease off the back foot, and summarily hit Rex Snr out of the attack. A good battle ensued at the other end, as Fox attempted to sweep and flick the off-spinning Rex Jnr, who expertly held the ball back and forced the batsman to generate all the pace. While that ended in stalemate, Fox was dismissed soon after for a well-made 28 and a 100+ run opening partnership. Ahmed (11) entered the fray and expertly glided some of his first runs from Davidson's sharp in-swing through vacant third man. Then, he turned the strike back to Samson. Samson - having previously squealed like a small child at bringing up 50 with his much-maligned cover drive - proceeded to see it big, taking the first five balls of one over for 20 and then trying, and failing abysmally, to upper cut the final ball for six over third man. Samson ultimately departed in the 19th over attempting to pull what would have been an off-side wide; his 119 a Remnants T20 record and testament mostly to his relentless farming of the strike. That left Singh to twat 19 off about 8 balls and propel Remnants to a strong 203/4.
Circumstances conspired to give Academicals every possible chance of chasing down the Remnants score. Academicals opened with sturdy N. White and now-dislodged Remnants record T20 innings holder Rex Jnr Jnr Jnr Jnr Jnr. Remnants skipper J. White and Armstrong leaked runs in the first two - Rex, in particular, hitting the ball fluidly behind square - before White began reeling back the run rate with a probing line outside off. That culminated in N. White's dismissal, who was bowled by an excellent effort ball. Intrigue increased from there. Still below 50, opener Rex Jnr's nicked Dutta off an attempted cut to standing-up keeper Fox that was clearly heard at deep-backward square. Rex, however, chose not to walk citing the old and blatantly untrue batsman's adage that "I wasn't sure". Note to the uninitiated: Batsmen know when they've nicked it (NB: This author does not begrudge Rex, however, because he would have done the exact same thing). Rex was finally dismissed for 65 - exquisitely stumped following Dutta's inspired tactic of bowling skidding in-swingers down leg that had a 50/50 chance of being taken vs. going for 5 byes. No 3. Davidson proved another foil. He expertly murdered the Remnants slow bowlers over the leg side to the short pavilion-side boundary and especially took a liking to Moore, who went 0/57 from his 4 overs (the fourth most expensive spell in club history, but curiously not the most expensive this month). Davidson was duly aided by two dropped regulation catches in the deep, a clear run out that wasn't given (if only out by inches) and a convenient injury to No. 4 Kahle. Indeed, Kahle's 2nd ball hamstring twinge brought the Usain Bolte-like Rex Snr to the middle as runner. Awaiting every call in sprinter's pose - two yards out of his crease and with only his bat grounded - proved an effective way of keeping the required run rate in check right up to the 17th over. Kahle was eventually run out as Rex attempted two on what would have ordinarily been a tight single. Remnants were able to kill the game after that, with Harmer shining by only conceding 7 in the penultimate over. Davidson (83) was ultimately bowled Singh in the final over trying to hit the 20+ require runs. The final score was 198-4, which enshrined the game as the highest-scoring evening game in club history.