Report by Daniel Mortlock
The first sign that this wasn't going to be our day came about 10 minutes before the nominal start time of 6pm, when the Trinity captain, occasional Remnant Deaglan Bartlett, asked our skipper "Shall we go out and toss up?" and received the immediate response of "No." The reason was that there were only five Remnants present at the ground at that time - it wasn't so much that our players were late, as that they were not early. We had to instead ask if Trinity would be happy to field, at which point Deaglan looked around at his gang of pre-warmed-up pace-men - well, pace-boys - and informed them with ill-disguised glee that they'd be bowling first.
We quickly found out why Trinity were so keen on this idea: they had (at least) seven bowlers in the 65-75 mph range who would be operating on a pitch with wild seam movement and unpredictable bounce. Our lead-off sequence of 1 1 0 1 1 would have been fine if that was the first five balls of our innings . . . but it was instead the contributions of the first five batsmen of our batsmen to be dismissed. Runs really were insanely hard to come by - after 5 (eight-ball) overs we'd lost 3 of the above wickets and had managed just 3 (yes, three) runs off the bat. The one saving grace is that the bowlers were also erratic, and our total was boosted - or, indeed, initially dominated - by 15 wides in amongst an eventual total of 29 extras.
Things got a little better from that nadir, as Andrew Celsus (1 off 19 balls) at least stopped the run of wickets and then Joe White (14 off 37 balls) showed that it was possible to bat comfortably by sticking to the basics of playing forward with a straight bat. A big cheer went up in the 10th over when Joe timed just such a shot, as it meant our first boundary - or at least would have, but the ball couldn't quite make it up the slope and, even worse, the batsmen had assumed it had gone and so missed out on what should have been an easy third run. We did finally get our first boundary next over when Stephen Bidwell (7 off 13 balls) played a nice late-cut, after which we'd reached the dizzy heights of 51/5 after 12 overs.
Trinity took their foot off the pedal at this point, which was rather conveniently when we played our wild card, the late-selected and even later-arriving Aatish Maharaj, who made a mockery of what had gone before by hitting 28* off 11 eventful deliveries. With some useful final-over back-up from Daniel Mortlock (6* off 5 balls) we were at least able to finish up with something that sort of looked like a total - although it's doubtful that, when the definitive history of Remnants Cricket Club is written, much space will be devoted to the time we set the Trinity College JCR a target of 84 to win.
What was particularly annoying about our predicament was that we had a bowling attack every bit as sharp as Trinity's - and, given the greater league experience, likely to be more disciplined as well. But with such a paltry total to defend there just wasn't the realistic possibility of building scoreboard pressure, and so it turned out. Nicely warmed up from his batting, Aatish Maharaj (0/10) started with a maiden; but his few loose deliveries were milked very effectively, especially when he pitched short and the ball stood up to be hit (rather than leaping at the batsmen as had so often been the case in our innings). At the other end Ben Stone (1/12) took a deserved wicket when stand-in 'keeper Pete Ames held onto a skier between his index finger and pinkie (difficult enough in general, but almost physically impossible in inflexible 'keeping gloves), but had to endure runs coming through the slips cordon. Tom Davidson (0/10) then bowled with the fire of a man still angry at having played around a straight one, and induced a couple more edges through pure pace - but it was the same pace which proved too much for 'keeper and slip, respectively, the chances both going to ground. Faruk Kara (1/25) then sent down the by far the least-pacey spell of the match, bamboozling our own Kaustav Dutta; but that was, arguably, a mistake as it brought one A. Spencer to the crease. As if a spell of 2 overs, 1 maiden, 1/3 wasn't enough, he now proceeded to slaughter our bowling with an innings 41* off 18 balls (really 41* off 15 balls, given that he'd prodded indecisively at his first three deliveries from Faruk). The net result was that Trinity finished us off with 53 balls to spare (our equal 8th worst such thrashing, tied with - would you believe it - our match against the same opposition a year ago).
We couldn't even drown our sorrows with a drink at the ground, not only because the bar isn't operating any more, but more fundamentally because Trinity College has gone down the puritan route by banning the consumption of alcohol at the ground. It was hence even more annoying to find out the next day that someone had reported to the College that we had been consuming the prohibited molecule. The most plausible explanation for this is that someone didn't like the look of scorer Russell Woolf's bottles of Kopparberg non-alcoholic cider, but rather than, say, having a quick word with him (which would have resulted in the quick confirmation that they were free of the evil arrangement of H, C and O atoms), they instead made some ill-founded assumptions and reported these as fact. One can only hope that our young opposition today develop higher standards of data-acquisition and analysis . . .