Report by Dave Williams:
The new season is always a time of optimism: our cricketing hopes unfurl delicately like the season's lime-green baby leaves. And this match was the first where any of us might reasonably think of a "post-Covid” era . . . With such thoughts and some desultory fielding drills stinging our hands into something warmer than freezing, the might of the Remnants cricket machine 2021 kicked into life.
Captain Cameron Petrie won the toss and elected to bowl. Sushant Achawal (2/20) opened elegantly, backed by the stinging northerly from the Windsor Road end. The bold new cherry repeatedly beat the bat and carried with weight into the hands of the impressively lively Seb Hammersley behind the stumps. The evening and entire season boded well when, during the third over, a mistimed pull off the splice lofted gently to square leg, where John Young was waiting . . . When hands are as cold as tonight and fielding is as unpractised as the last two years, the unspoken odds calculator in our minds screams "He'll never catch that one" - but he did: cue much rejoicing and high-elbowing. Pending the only late arrival (Naveen Chouksey), Temoor Khan stepped up to the oche from the Huntingdon Road end. Amid much rotator cuff whirring Temoor pinged down some good uns and some not so good, at a variety of speeds, with the nett outcome of 1/28 from his 3 (eight-ball) overs, including another wonderful John Young snaffle as the ball looped over his head. By this time Fen Ditton's "Matt" was running between the wickets faster, X-Men style, than I have ever seen, turning ones into twos and run-outs, "Chris" departing in this way. Naveen's well-directed three overs went for 28. John Moore's ballsy three overs of surprise pace-off loops and bombs cost only 30, beating the bat and getting a bowled; fear of embarrassment/failure against hyper-slow ones seems to induce the outcome most feared. Cam's single over went for 14, while John Young's 8-ball cameo/curio had an admittedly higher-than-usual number of bounces per delivery (including a no ball for this) but was still admirably tidy (14 runs). Cameron's high-energy captaincy was motivating and creative, stationing fielders closer to the bat than is usual for us, covering wider arcs and with good results. Duncan "Jelly" Astill at short cover made some memorably athletic stops hurling himself sideways, but our fielding everywhere was alert and sharp.
Under the conditions, 142 was probably more than anticipated, but still gettable. Read on - you know what happened but not how . . .
Cameron and Jelly opened with impressive and aggressive intent. Fen Ditton are by any standards a young and athletic team, so to pierce the field we had to hit the ball hard. If I was going to quibble with Cam and Jelly's Plan A - smash it down the ground - I would have to point out that Fitz has conspicuously asymmetrical boundaries: always 75 or so yards hitting straight, and tonight about the same hitting towards the pavilion, but about 40 yards to the Eachard Road side. In other words, tactically it might have been more productive to cut or pull to the short boundary. Easier said than done (see later). By the eighth over Jelly had gone for 24 but the pair had put on 76, so commendably only slightly under the asking rate; Cam followed shortly for 34. James Robinson came and went for his 4. Seb was busy until the end but it was getting clearer we needed a run surge; both Temoor and the sun were presently out; he (Temoor) had a swing but couldn't do it (out for 2 going for a six). My preconceived plan was to carve to the tiny offside boundary by stepping outside leg - it would have been OK but I picked out the sweeper three times. Needing 16 off the final over I tried to pull one outside off to leg; it felt good but it simply sailed upwards off the top edge and was caught. Simon Godsill was at the other end while Seb (33*) tried to finish off, but it was not to be.
Good energy from the team and upbeat feel to the match. Good try y'all.