Report by Cam Petrie:
Although it didn't beat the record 38.7 degrees C recorded at the Cambridge Botanic Gardens on Thursday, the 33 degrees C hit today made it pretty clear that it would be sensible to bat first; but that possibility was scuppered when captain Cam Petrie called tails and Remnants were asked to bowl on a steamy Wednesday evening. Our oppo today was comprised of a brace of early twenties and late teens players as well as two young teens and one older player to keep them all in check.
Things started well, with Tom Hinch (1/10 of 4 overs) and Seth Aycock (0/23 off 4 overs) keeping things tight, and Tom bowling one of the openers in the third over. That was about it in terms of wickets until the twentieth over, as the Coton numbers two and three took advantage of our seemingly endless dropped catches - mostly off the unfortunate Alec Armstrong (0/33 off 4 overs), who was subsequently monstered over the cow corner boundary. Saad Shoukat (0/26 off 4 overs) managed to draw some lovely cuts and Faruk (0/25 off 2 overs) lost his vertical hold and was also monstered into a familiar part of the park. And, although he bowled a lot of dots, Richie Young (0/16 off 2 overs) also saw two balls sail into the evening sky and over the boundary. Eventually the Coton bats both retired, and their replacements were a lot less successful at scoring when Tom and Seth came on to finish off, though this didn't stop one of them attempting reverse sweeps and all sorts of huge swings that connected with nothing but air.
Our scorer Russel Woolf noted that 141 was simultaneously difficult to chase, but also completely chasable, as demonstrated by Cam (23 off 25 balls) and James Crozier (23 off 21 balls and playing his final innings for Remnants before moving away) combining with sundries to get us to 33 off three overs (and way ahead of the required rate), and 64 off eight overs (and still above the required rate). Unfortunately, James then missed a straight one and Cam went back to the flighted ball and was trapped so squared up in front of the stumps that he may as well have walked before umpire Faruk's finger went up.
We stuttered for a bit as Saad (13 off 9 balls) kept the score ticking before holing out, and Rahul Jhawar (who had unfortunately been overlooked as a bowling option by the captain earlier on) and Seth both fell quickly. This procession left us on all too quickly on 85/5 and saw an increasingly mouthy Coton side start to show an irritating level of disrespect about their opposition.
Thankfully Marcus Baker (34 off 28 balls) and Tom (8 off 14 balls) demonstrated the errror of such attitudes and kept our score ticking over. The best over of the afternoon (at least for us) came from the "too cool for school" reverse sweeper who started trying to bowl spin, but after a huge six and a four from Marcus then opted for fast and loose and went for two more fours, a two and a one to round out his 21-run 14th over. Marcus unfortunately holed out in the 15th over with us on 115/6, leaving Richie (17 off 14 balls) and Tom to keep us on track in the lovely but not exactly bright dusk light.
We looked to be falling a bit short until 9 runs each off the 17th and 18th overs (including a welcome six to deep square leg from Richie), left us needing 7 runs off the final 12 balls. Getting to this point, things had been both tight and tense, and Richie's stress levels were not helped by umpire Cam's decision to hold the counting stones and signal that the ball was going over the stumps or down leg with a raised index finger after several close LBW shouts.
Needing less than a run a ball, the win seemed pretty straightforward, but just one run off an excellent 19th over meant that we needed exactly six runs from the 20th. Things were set for a proper nail-biter when two singles left us needing 4 for the win off the last 3 balls, but we only needed one of these, as Tom missed a drive, and fortunately for us (but unfortunately for the soon to be inconsolable young Coton keeper), the ball shot through and went all the way to the boundary.
Although we felt sorry for the fact that the young 'keeper's miss had been our gain, we were quietly happy that we had pretty much bossed what could have been a difficult chase and demonstrated the importance of respecting wiley cricketers able to make the most of the loose ball, whether it comes as runs off the bat or as extras (which actually came out second top score on 25!). Roll on Remnants.