Report by Russell Woolf:
A typical summer evening for 2019 - dull and overcast - turning up to a venue that I hadn't visited before which was literally . . . a ground and nothing else . . . to be totally transformed when a car arrives with a trailer depositing scoreboard, chairs, tables and sightscreens.
Remnants turned up with 12 players, Faruk Kara being the reserve tonight, with a welcome return to action for Tom Serby accompanied by his son Sam.
Play commenced in light that was never going to get any better with Joe White and Seth Aycock spearheading the Remnants attack. At 12/1 after 5 (six-ball) overs things were looking good - Joe White has removed one opener with an edge to Sam Serby behind the stumps but then the other opener, H.P. Martin [Hope he's a fantasy writer - ed.], plays some spicy shots: 3 boundaries in 4 balls to double the score to 24/1 in 6 overs, well supported by Guy D'Oyley he takes the game to the Remnants bowlers. Joe is bowled out (4 overs, 2 maidens, 1/8) as is Seth (0/25). Huw Davies bowls better than his figures (0/44) suggest, not helped by Joe having got comfortably into position to spill a catch that would be taken 95% of the time. A partnership of 71 is finally broken by a sharp stumping by Sam off the bowling of Ben Stone, H.P. being the victim (36 off 35 balls). Ben adds a second wicket 2 balls later to finish with (2/18). Grantchester's total is 83/3 after 14 overs. Guy D'Oyley achieves a well deserved 53 off 46 balls but is then run out attempting to turn a two into a three, taking on Chris Badger's arm and failing. Paul Jordan (1/15) and Claude Warnick (1/20) share the remaining Grantchester wickets to fall as the innings closes on 135/6, exactly in the middle of what feels in a reasonable range to chase down and/or defend.
Sam Serby and Chris Badger were sent out to start the Remnants run chase at 7.27pm in light that was poor at best and fading fast. The score was 17/0 after 3.3 overs when Motwani (3/10) bowled Serby Jr for 7, starting a top order meltdown as batmen came and went with almost symmetrical regularity [Steady on with the metaphors. - ed.]. Wickets fell in overs 4, 6, 8, 10 and 11 [I was just about to eat my words re. "symmetry" but will now stick with my initial skepticism. - ed.], with only Chris Badger (12) making it to double figures. At 40/5 after 11 overs Joe White 23* (off 28 balls) joined Seth Aycock (22* off 32 balls) to steady the ship with magnificent unbeaten partnership of 54 runs, but not getting the 95 runs required in the last 9 overs, closing on 93/5 for a 43 run defeat.
So having Grantchester at 12/1 after 5 overs, where did it go wrong? Well from a hard statistical viewpoint Grantchester had 7 overs in the last 15 where they scored 9 or more runs whereas Remnants could manage only 2 such overs in their entire innings. Grantchester's accurate attack was relentlessly good throughout and poor light would always make a run chase challenging. So it's onto Cavendish tomorrow night at Churchill hoping to "balance the books" at least for the week.