Report by Cam Petrie:
Remnants have had a slightly mixed bag against UCLES in recent appearances, but being aware that they had flayed teams on their way to topping the University department league in 2019, it was clear that we would need to be on top of our game to stand a chance.
Winning the toss, Tom Serby (32 off 34 balls) and Kanwar Singh took to the field, and were immediately faced with some zippy bowling that kept scoring relatively tight. Importantly, though, we didn't lose wickets, and at the end of the seventh over we had reached 44 for no loss and the change bowlers saw first Kanwar and the Tom open the shoulders. Kanwar took such a liking to change bowler "Alan" that he started to have a competition with himself to see how far he could hit the ball to the leg side - starting with a few that bounced just inside the boundary, and then landing one in the picnic tables, and another two in the hedge before he was called in to retire for a fabulous 54* off 25-ish balls in the eleventh over.
CJ Barrie (18 off 22 balls) joined Tom, and they kept the scoring ticking over until the thirteenth over when 'Alan' got his revenge and had Tom trapped in front. With the aim of getting something close to 160, Cam Petrie (30 off 15ish balls) went in at four and quickly went on the attack, and he and CJ took us to 140 in the eighteenth over before CJ lofted an easy catch. James Robinson (10* off 7 balls) took two balls to get his eye in and then joined the fun but with Cam being bowled by a savvy slow ball long hop, it was up to Ashwin Venkatesh (6* off 2 balls) to put the icing no the innings and bring us to a strong 158/3 off our 20 six-ball overs.
The need for such a hefty target was quickly proven when the UCLES Tucker-level opener started smearing perfectly respectable balls from Taz Islam (2/27 off 4 overs) and Brajesh Kumar (2/13 off 2 overs) to all parts, and his partner proved to be very effective at rotating him back on strike. In fact, it looked like we were in deep do-do when our not quite new ball was blasted over the straight boundary in the second over and disappeared into the vegetation.
The match completely shifted in the third over, however, when Taz cramped the big hitter and sent the bails flying. Brajesh then took out the next two batsmen in his next over, having one bowled and the other LBW in consecutive balls, and Taz drew a big outside edge that was taken by 'keeper Kanwar Singh, and UCLES had gone from an imposing 32/0, to a stuttering 36/4 by the end of the 5th over.
Huw Davies (0/40 off 4 overs) was brought on and initially stuggled for control, but rediscovered his bowling mojo by the end of his first over. Faruk Kara (3/32 off 4 overs) finally removed the stubborn UCLES opener who had survived the initial carnage, drawing a lofted pull shot that was grasped by the safe hands of Taz at cow, and added a catch to a surprised and seemingly lackadasical Cam at point, and a bowled with his mysteriously leg-breaking off break that beat and castled an UCLES bat that had just carted him for a six and a four.
Ashwin (2/20 off 4 overs) was brought on to wrestle back control and his tight first over was followed up with two lofted catches to James, whom Ash had just brought into short mid-wicket to create chances. At the end of this heady passage of play, Remnants had UCLES at 90/9 in the 12th over.
In the final phases Brajesh pull off the comedy moment of the day - having strained his shoulder while tirelessly running around the boundary and hurling the ball in, he decided to underarm the ball back from the boundary and somehow managed to throw it over his head, over the tall net, and into the trees beyond. We luckily didn't need to opt for the fourth not-new ball.
Although the UCLES run rate was still high, the win was seemingly in the bag, and we were on the cusp or relaxing our guard completely when the UCLES numbers eight and eleven decided to not only stick around but actually go for the win. The number eight in particular managed to mess up Faruk's figures (having been 3/19 off his first 3 overs), (re-)mess up Huw's improving figures, and also pull off a fantastic cut shot six off Qaiser Ahmed (0/11 off 2 overs) who was brought on to try and snuff out resistance. Thankfully we had enough runs to play with and Qaiser, Taz and Ash managed to keep the screws tight and produce enough dot balls to make the win impossible and leave UCLES stranded nine runs short on 150/9.
This was a great team win from Remnants with runs, overs, wickets and/or catches from everyone, but it was actually a close run thing not far adrift from some of our early season losses by less than ten runs. Lessons to be learned from the 60-run last wicket partnership for UCLES, which was driven by a fantastic 45* off 23 balls from the UCLES stubborn number eight.