Report by Olly Rex:
Remnants arrived to a glorious scene at Fitz: blue skies; 30-degree heat; and a flat, hard wicket (plus two opposition spectators, one of whom was a parrot). It was no surprise that almost everyone told skipper Chris Badger they were a batsman, nor that he chose to bat.
Openers CJ Barrie and Seb Hammersley made hay early on against some friendly, short-pitched bowling. While Seb eventually fell for 37, CJ went on to hit an excellent 64, scoring all around the wicket. Debutant Matt Andrews then blasted a quickfire 41, and we looked on track for 200+. Instead, the Warriors' opening bowler returned with a string of straight yorkers that removed the set batsmen and dried up the runs. It was a tough outcome for the middle order of James Robinson (6), Tom Serby (1), Marcus Baker (3*) and Simon Godsill (run out for 0). They had waited patiently for a bat, only to be faced with the unenviable task of slogging from ball one against tight bowling. We finished 172/6 – a very good score but, given the platform we'd had, slightly underwhelming.
Our start with the ball put us firmly in charge. Qaiser Ahmed (2/22) bowled with pace and movement, taking two early wickets, one bowled and the other LBW. At the other end Olly Rex (2/24, with far less pace and no real movement) also took two wickets, both from tough catches at mid-on which CJ made look easy. When Neil Grover (1/29) had another batsman out caught, this time by the skipper at short third-man, the opposition were staring at a heavy defeat. Although they stemmed the flow of wickets, they struggled to score. In the end they needed 80 off the last 4 (8-ball) overs, surely an impossible task . . .
. . . or not. The opposition's opening bowler made us pay for dropping him early on, smashing a succession of huge boundaries to reach fifty and bring the game to life. Despite some gamesmanship (a couple of harsh wide calls and an attempt to claim the batsmen had crossed after CJ (1/14) took a wicket clean bowled), it was great batting that brought them back into the contest. When Qaiser returned to bowl the final over, the Warriors needed 15 to win. At this point the fielders could barely see the ball, but the batsman obviously had no such difficulties. He smashed a four and a massive six which, together with another "wide", put the game beyond doubt.
It was a great finish to an excellent game, which had been settled by a fantastic knock, although it was frustrating to add another loss to our season's ledger, especially given we'd only once failed to defend such a high total in an evening game.