Report by Daniel Mortlock:
This Urdu exclaimation of "joy, triumph, applause or encouragement" was the defining sound of tonight's game . . . although, sadly, it was uttered exclusively by our opponents, Temoor Khan's Cambridge Centaurs - and with good cause, as they were on top of the game from start to finish. Despite nominally being just a pick-up team of friends from Cambourne, most of whom TK insisted "don't really play cricket", the Centaurs seemed to have endless reserves of big-hitting batters and sharp bowlers. Indeed, such were their riches that regular Remnants match-winners TK and Qaiser Ahmed weren't required to bowl and faced just one delivery - a dot - between them. By the end TK decided he was more needed off the field than on, as only he could properly operate the fancy PlayCricket scoring app that they were using. TK's final act here was to record yet another dot ball that confirmed the Centaurs' 52-run victory and hence ended Remnants' recent run of six consecutive (external) wins.
That said, we actually started pretty well: after 6 (six-ball) overs we'd kept the Centaurs to 33/1, and many of those runs came from the numerous mis-hits induced by Taz Islam (1/22) and Daniel Mortlock (1/21), both of whom got lots of movement off the pitch. Our early wicket was from just such a delivery, although the bulk of the credit is due to wicket-keeper Andy Owen, who made a great take standing up and then spotted that the batter's back foot was in the air. Andy subsequently completed two more conventional stumpings, off Quentin Harmer (2/36) and Anand Kairamkonda (2/18). Both their other wickets also came about through good support in the field: Anand stayed cool under a high ball; and Saurav Dutta, playing his first cricket match since 2017, snaffled an edge at wide slip as if he'd never been away.
Reading the above might suggest that we're the ones who should have been shouting enthusiastic encouragements after every ball, but this new paragraph will necessarily be longer than the one above. The main problem was that, other than the above, our fielding was pretty dismal: there were lots of mis-fields as people tried to throw the ball prior to picking it up, there were overthrows when nobody was backing up (or even looking); there were numerous attempts at foot-fielding (some of which were successful, to be fair); there was the usual brace of dropped catches that barely merits a mention these days, although we've now started to add flourishes like allowing an extra run while administering self-admonishment rather than returning the ball. It was hence just as well that Paul Jordan (2/36) didn't need any fielding help for his wickets, although he drifted leg-side a little too often, half of the runs he conceded coming from three enormous spectator-endangering swipes.
The spectators also provided the vital role of providing updates on the football - the second half of the England-Germany game from the Euros was happening at the same time as the first innings of our game. The first half had been scoreless and pretty dismal - some of us had watched through the window of The Waterman on Chesterton Corner before coming to the game - but the second was eventful enough to stop our game three times: once for Stirling's goal; once for Kane's follow-up; and then for the scarcely believeable news that full-time had arrived without an own goal or red card, and that England had held on to win 2-0.
Perhaps that result gave us a sense of "job done" for the evening, as we were strangely becalmed with the bat, and never looked like threatening the target. Andy Bell (15 off 18 balls), James Robinson (8 off 6 balls), Anand Kairamkonda (10 off 17 balls), Saurav Dutta (10 off 10 balls) and Tas Islam (8 off 9 balls) all got starts, but scores in the teens (or below) don't win matches. Particularly gallingly, Anand and Saurav fell to exactly the same sort of catches that were dropped off their bowling an hour earlier. By this stage we were 84/7 with 4 overs left - there was more danger of us being bowled out than reaching our target. Tom Serby (21* off 37 balls) and Andy Owen (11* off 16 balls) saved us from that indignity, although Andy suffered the even greater one of a bowler dropping his pace for fear (possibly induced by Andy's face mask) of injuring him.