Report by Daniel Mortlock:
Once again, we found ourselves coming up against Fen Ditton for the second time in a season needing to banish the humiliation of a most abject loss first time around. We have at least been largely successful in this endeavour when we've gotten the chance: in 2016 a 10-wicket loss was followed by a 7-wicket win; and in 2015 a 71-run loss was followed by a 15-run win. But 2018 was something else again, the first match between the two clubs resulting in a 77-run loss after we were bowled out for just 40.
We certainly started out the right way today, as our opening attack of Qaiser Ahmed (1/21) and Daniel Mortlock (2/33) both took wickets with their first balls, to have Fen Ditton 0/2 in the 2nd (six-ball) over. But such apparent dominance was never going to last and really was just apparent: Qaiser's wicket was the result of bail-high loosener that was headed for the surprised batsman's thigh until it swung away to hit the very top of the stumps; and Daniel's wicket was only marginally less fortunate, the batsman moving across to play a leg glance, only to somehow end up being bowled around his legs.
Sure enough, Fen Ditton's middle order scored pretty freely, and any shots that went through the inner ring zooming across the dry grass to the boundary. That said, plenty of these shots shouldn't have made it that far - we put in an abysmal fielding performance that combined dropped catches, diving over the ball, waiting for another fielder chase the ball, etc., etc. Despite some good bowling by Naveen Chouksey (1/28) and Teddy Fletcher (1/18), Fen Ditton accelerated pretty steadily to 88/4 after 12 overs and then onto 148/4 after 19 overs. Their innings then came to a dramatic end that matched its start. Fen Ditton skipper Adam Wilson started the final over by going to the retirement score of 50* when he smacked a boundary of an unhappy Alec Armstrong (2/29), who was convinced he'd had Adam stumped by 'keeper Kanwar Singh a few overs earlier. Alec did finally get the rewards for his toil when, off consecutive balls, Kanwar completed an unambiguous stumping and the next batsman missed a straight one. Alec went within an inch of joining the exclusive Remnants hat-trick club when the Fen Ditton number eleven almost left her ground, but in the end Alec - and Remnants - had to be satsified with a partial final over comeback.
153 probably wasn't that much more than a par target given the dry conditions . . . but it was soon revealed to be challenging as our opening pair of Dave Norman and Julius Rix struggled against good bowling and the annoyance of a shadow that bisected the pitch, making it very difficult to pick up the ball. After 8 overs we'd lost both Julius (20 off 22 balls) and Dave Williams (0 off 5 balls) and, maybe more importantly, had scored just 40 runs. That meant we needed a further 113 from just 72 balls; the smart money was now on Fen Ditton. Fortunately, their change bowlers weren't as sharp as their openers, the shadow had moved across the pitch, and Dave and new batsman Kanwar Singh both started to time the ball. We looked set to sail over the line but for Dave's inevitable retirement - despite being scratchy for much of his innings his 50* took just 37 balls - at which point we got more drama. Tom Bloomfield, facing his first ball as a Remnants batsman, found himself the subject of a huge caught behind appeal: he wasn't sure he'd hit the ball; neither was the umpire; and so the result was "not out" . . . and rather pointless grumbling that lasted 'till the end of the game. Perhaps fortunately, this came quickly as Tom (16* off 9 ballls) and Kanwar (48* off 27 balls) saw us home with more than 3 overs to spare, as once again Remnants avenged an early-season thumping at the hands of Fen Ditton.