Dave Norman spent yet another miserable morning going out to check the state of his ground while being pestered non-stop with text messages like "Still okay to play?" and "Usual boring question?" His reward for all this was a place in the Remnants eleven for only the third time all year, albeit with the pressure of having to negate some of the top-level Fathers And Sons players (who, as always, included a few of our own, Faruk and Rob turning their back on Remnants today).
We fielded first in what ended up being beautiful conditions, and it soon became clear that the batting line-up we faced was stronger than the bowling we had to offer. Openers Naveen Chouksey (1/24) and Atta Rehman (1/20) both caused their share of trouble, but they were punished harshly for their loose balls, a theme that continued throughout the innings. Daniel Mortlock (1/34) and Paul Jordan (1/31) were also made to contemplate the ease with which perfectly respectable deliveries were flicked to (or over) the leg-side boundary - although it was with a bit too much ease in some cases when the ball went straight through the boundary fielder. We were faced with some of the hardest hitting we've seen this year, but part of cricket is taking a bruise or two for the team. We dropped - or, in the case of one sub-orbital skier, opted not to go for - a number of catches, but we also took a few, Daniel (twice) and Julius Rix holding onto mis-hit drives and then John Moore taking a spectacular diving catch at gully in the last over of the innings. This actually completed a team hat trick after a run out and a good stumping by Samuel Serby and meant that Andy Owen (a superb 3/13) found himself on a personal hat-trick for the final ball of the innings . . . although nothing came of it as the batsmen ran yet another two.
Our chase never quite got going, even if we were up above a run a ball for most of it. Tom Serby (10 off 13 balls) looked rather out of sorts before a pretty decent cut was held at point, and then our other opener, Julius Rix, looked to have been even more brilliantly dismissed when the square-leg fielder dived full length to catch the ball one-handed . . . only to jam the ball into the turf as he completed the dive. There was some wailing and gnashing of teeth from the FAS fielders, and Julius had made it most of the way back to the pavilion before he realised his good fortune. Our luck continued in the next few overs as we got 6 or 7 runs in overthrows (which, to the delight of the crowd, went through our own Faruk), until it suddenly flipped very much the other way. Joe Howarth, who'd raced to 16 off 10 balls, was made to face up to the seventh ball of an over when the umpires belied their educational backgrounds by failing to count to six; needless to say he was dismissed, a big pull going straight to the one fielder on the leg-side boundary.
From there it was a steady parade of wickets. Andy Owen (11 off 17 balls) threatened briefly; Dave Norman (5 off 4 balls) had his season's average reduced from infinity to a mere 167.00; Naveen Chouksey (9 off 10 balls) hit the ball well but robbed himself of runs with some of his now trademark eccentric running; and John Moore (9 off 14 balls) was looking good until he failed to jam down on an excellent yorker. That left it to Paul Jordan (1* off 5 balls) and Julius (who carried his bat for 38* off 42 balls) to make sure that we at least batted out our overs, which they did, albeit surrounded by a rather cheeky Test-style field of slips and short legs.