Remnants vs. Philanderers

17:45, Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Fitzwilliam College

Remnants (122/2 in 14 8-ball overs)
lost to
Philanderers (123/5 in 12 8-ball overs)
by 5 wickets.

Report by Dave Williams:

I once had 20 seconds talking to Mike Brearley as a result of buying his The Art of Captaincy and getting him to sign my copy. In my eyes he achieved svengali status by both winding up Ian Botham at Headingley in 1981 and going on to practise the dark arts of psychoanalysis. However, as one hard-boiled Yorkshire Leagues captain is supposed to have said, "There were nowt in t'book about collecting match fees." Indeed, the travails of the friendly evening cricket captain are probably unimaginable by those in the higher echelons of the game - except for Michael Atherton, bless him.

Dave Williams and John Young try and up the rate.

Captain Cam Petrie won the toss and elected to bat. Who, from the ragbag of beens (has-, could-have-, never- and baked) would get the nod? Chris Badger is clearly a runner bean and a class act. A sprightly 14 off the first over bode well. John Young at the other end is more circumspect and this evening was finding it difficult to find rhythm. The second over off the opening bowler was a maiden; the two batters were acting out the cricketing equivalent of 1960s' "boom and bust". After some acceleration via lusty thumps to the short legside boundary, Chris was sharply stumped in the ninth over for a fine 40 (off 40 balls). At this point we had 73 on the board, and were hoping for some scoring-rate uptick. "Help the Aged" supporters were no doubt delighted at the positive discrimination in favour of your respondent but perhaps normal people were thinking "What the bloody hell is Cameron playing at?" After a fair few wafts against the swinging ball (that's my excuse) I managed to crossbat some over to leg before swishing across a straight one for my 25 (off 29 balls) the antepenultimate delivery. The energetic Seb Hammersley cameo'd his 1* (off 1), and John was 22* (off 42 balls) at the end. We seemed featherlight at 122, of which a mammoth 36 were extras - a prudent decision by Cam and his counterpart in the relatively short evenings to not re-bowl wides and no balls (which hence counted as two runs, somewhat explaining the total sundries).

John Moore and Dave Williams: if you're name's not on the list then you're not coming in.

Taz Islam opened from the Huntingdon Road end and kept things tight for 5 off the first over, although going for 19 off his second. Tonight the ball followed Chris everywhere, which reflects the first rule of friendly cricket's captaincy book: put your athletic fielders where they will do the most heavy lifting. So it was that the last ball of Taz's second top-edged down to Chris at squareish third man on the boundary, which he caught, with much high-elbowing and general relief. Naveen Chouksey's two at the other end were tight enough for 17 off them, and a bowled: there no finer sight in the modern game than a pace bowler sending the hand sanitiser bottle cartwheeling over the turf.

Naveen Chouksey sends one down.

Remnants captaincy dilemma #27: does the captain have the cojones to draw on the disconcertingly wide range of Remnants super-slows? The answer this evening - and most evenings too, in truth, gentle reader - is yes; for Quentin Harmer was the next on the roster. The Philanderers at the wicket were young and athletic. Would it go horribly wrong? The opposite; red mist, the slow bowler's friend, had descended on the batter for Seb's smart stumping, and Taz had caught a mistimed drive. The spray bottle most in need at Quentin's end was, following the ball's descent from the high heavens, de-icer. Quentin's final over got some long handle, but his spell of 3/23 cheered us all up. We felt like we had a chance. Body language was good; we were applying some pressure in the field. I even managed to stop some and earned a commendatory "Solid" (I think he was giving me a compliment) from Cam.

Andy Bell: all dressed up and no place to go . . .

Mike Foulkes's three overs of military slow-medium for 26 were wicketless and tidy enough, but would John Moore's ballistic bombardment blow up in our or their faces? The experienced Philanderers' 6 and 7 made easy work of it; John's single over was, alas, ushered for 20. Taz's final one (of his three overs, 1/32) couldn't bring the miracle we needed. Spare a thought for Cam, who didn't bowl or bat.

With two overs to go we found ourselves high-elbowing our congenial opponents - do check out their web-site - and were presaging an imminent return to near-normality by, courtesy of Dave Norman, downing welcome al fresco beers.