Report by Daniel Mortlock:
Everything about this evening's game against Trinity College High Table (TCHT for short - although isn't that a Class A drug?) was a little . . . strange. For a start we were away from Fitz which, while hardly unprecedented, always adds a certain frisson of excitement, with the batsmen having to share gear and the every-present fear that nobody's going bring 'keeping gloves. Also, it was properly, genuinely hot - the temperature had been rising all day, and for the duration of the game it was 28 degrees - meaning that Daniel took his jumper off . . . at least when he had the umpire's coat on. It was also one of those games where we were up against a number of our own - it was bad enough that Cam Petrie, Andy Owen and Nathan Wright all turned out against Remnants, but it was even worse that the first two did so having so far refused to play for us all year (and of course all three put in top performances). The other members of the TCHT side were distinguished by a certain level of eccentricity, with almost all of them having some small but distinctive tic of behaviour or having opted for an unsual personal grooming option that made one sit up and take notice.
Daniel won the toss and sent out openers Tom Serby and Will Phelps with instructions to aim for "150 or so", although Will didn't take very long to inform Daniel that it was not a 150 pitch . . . which was a strange thing to say given his seemingly effortless batting, highlighted by a square drive that you can picture for yourself if you imagine Harry Potter doing his best David Gower impression. Indeed, when Will started the 10th over by hitting his 9th boundary we were 69/0 and, mathematically at least, exactly on track for the requested target . . .
. . . and we might have made it but for the fact that Will was obliged to retire (for a fantastic 50* off 35 balls), after which our innings rather fell apart. Tom was dismissed for 21 (off 26 balls) and the only other batsmen to make it to double figures were John Young (13 off 24 balls), who played out a dozen dots before then scoring at a run a ball, and Dave Williams (15 off 9 balls) who continued his recent great form before responding too slowly to John's call for a quick single. The 150+ fantasy had long since vanished, and we were losing wickets at the rate of one an over, in particular to our own Nathan (2/30) and Andy (2/13). This at least gave a trivia question for the dinner quiz: how is it possible that Daniel Mortlock came out with two balls remaining after the previous batsman was bowled and finished up on 0* off 0 balls?
Such intriguing conundrums (conundra?) should not, of course, distract from the fact that our total of 127 was decidedly disappointing, and it was probably going to take a top-notch bowling and fielding effort to defend. In short, that's what we got, as Seth Aycock (1/7 off 3 overs), Naveen Chouksey (1/17 off 4 overs), Paul Jordan (2/13 off his first 3 overs) and Daniel Mortlock (1/10 off 4 overs) restricted the TCHT top order to just 19/1 off 7 overs and then 43/4 off 12. All four bowled maybe one bad delivery each and were superbly backed up in the field, despite the fact that the ball (not of our regular type) seemed to be unusually difficult to grasp cleanly. The stars, somewhat surprisingly given that they're not, er, particularly quick off the mark at present, were Tom Serby, Dave Williams and Paul, who all made some superb sharp stops close-in. The other highlight - and most critical moment of the innings - was when Cam Petrie pulled the ball to Will Phelps in the deep, who took the most nonchalant of catches to remove the obvious danger-man for an unfulfilled 18 (off 28 balls).
With TCHT now needing 85 off 48 balls we'd surely won the game, even if their middle order looked much stronger than the earlier batsmen. Still, Remnants first-timer Maha Ramanathan (1/15 with his big turning wrist spin) and Julius Rix (1/10) kept the scoring to the minimum after we decided to finish the game off with fourth overs for veterans Paul (398 Remnants games) and Daniel (343 Remnants games) . . . with mixed results. Paul lost his horizontal hold to concede 18 runs, largely in the form of wides, while also managing to hit 'keeper Marcus Baker in the, er, groinal region, causing a significant delay in proceedings. And then, to add insult to injury, Marcus made a brilliant stop off a thick edge off the final ball of the innings and, with the batsmen still well short of completing an overly-ambitious run, made a perfect throw to Daniel . . . who fumbled the ball one last time (giving him a newfound appreciation for Joss Butler's pressure take to give England the World Cup a week earlier).
Still, such imperfections notwithstanding, it was a great team victory which means that Remnants, after having started the season with just 2 wins from our first 10 matches, have now won 6 of our last 8 games, bringing our year's ledger to a decent 8/18. Even if we're still odds on to end up in the red (for what would be only the seventh time in 40 seasons), it seems pretty clear we'll end the season with respectability at worst.