Not one, but two match reports for your delectation today.
The first comes from Jeff Beaumont, who answered his club's call in more ways than one, first ignoring his injury to help make up the eleven and then recording the evening's events (possibly by dictating his report into a tape recorder in a thuck Kiwi uccent):
It is one of the mysteries of team management that, the moment you leave the country, there is a sudden and inexplicable shortage of players to fulfil a fixture in your absence. For the match against Tektronix at Girton College, Daniel Mortlock's increasingly anxious emails did in fact render a full and unusually youthful Remnants side, albeit with President Geoff Hales adding some gravitas in one of his occasional "un-retirements" to cover a late absentee.
Captain Julius "Caesar" Rix led the troops out to field for the first spell of 15 8-ball overs. Surveying the vast and fast-looking outfield, it was expected that we would be chasing a lot of leather but, as it turned out, some tight and accurate bowling meant that a muscular-looking Tektronix side wasn't really able to take advantage.
First cab off the rank was Naveen Chouksey (2/14), steaming in from the College end. After a few dot balls and a streaky four, the Tektronix batsman popped one up towards a rampant Geoff Hales at shortish mid-wicket, who rose like a prime wild Alaskan salmon in mating season to hurl himself forward and take an absolute ripper. Our most senior player, leading from the front, set the tone for the rest innings.
It nearly got even better, as the batsman cut the first ball of Ferdi Rex's over low and hard to point, but alas, yours truly was unable to repeat the President's feat and shelled it. Seeing this, Naveen decided to cut out the middle man and comprehensively cleaned up another victim with a yorker on middle-and-leg first ball of his second over. Ferdi (1/17) then came back to draw an edge wide of gully, taken on the run by Kirin Sakhamuri.
This continued for the rest of the Tektronix innings, with their batsmen unable to cut loose and Remnants picking up wickets on a regular basis. Kirin Sakhamuri (2/7) punctuated an accurate bowling performance by pinging the top of off stump twice, Olly Rex (second of a triumvate of Rexes, Maximus making the third), took another bowling slow, curly ones, and Ollie Hastings's tidy spell of 1/15 ensured Tektronix were successfully strangled to 82/8 off their 15 overs.
Tom Collett and Carl Sequeira opened the Remnants reply against some impressive bowling, both Tektronix men able to get plenty of movement in the air and generating some impressive pace. Carl eventually succumbed, bowled for 2 (off 11 balls), and the merciless Caesar sent your scribe into battle, despite not having held a bat for more than a year. Unveiling the full repertoire of wild slashes, hacks, and massive degrees of tin-arse, the score rattled along quickly to a retirement (31* off 17 balls), presumably on the grounds of crimes against cricket. At this point, young Ferdi Rex (16* off 20 balls) strode in and showed how it ought to be done, with an array of beautiful and effective strokes to guide us home. Tom, meanwhile, took advantage of a mid-innings change of bat to guide the innings along, and in fact carried a bat (not necessarily his bat) for an unbeaten 24* (off 33 balls).
Tektronix's 82 was chased down in 11.7 overs with a minimum of fuss, although the last few overs were played out in stygian gloom thanks to the deepening cloud cover. In all, a very satisfying victory in a match perhaps closer than the scorecard would suggest. The only possible down side was that, despite enjoying himself immensely, Geoff Hales confirmed his retirement - again.
Until next time, I suspect! (Which will most likely be next week - ed.)
The second description of proceedings come from the keyboard of Olly Rex:
The beginning of today's match was a little atypical. A good quarter of an hour before proceedings were supposed to kick off (and about half an hour before generally speaking they actually do) more than half the members of both sides were already present at the Girton College ground, engaging in energetic catching practice to prepare for the game. Admittedly after another ten minutes both sides had lost a little of their initial enthusiasm for repeatedly attempting to catch balls hit vaguely in their direction, but this was no matter as first-time captain Julius Rix had headed out for the toss: the match about to begin.
Given that the game was at Girton, which for those who don't know is reached by heading away from civilisation indefinitely until you chance upon a cricket pitch, it was creditable that even X of the original XI had made it. In any case it proved irrelevant as a certain Mr Hales was hanging around and filled in to give us a full compliment.
It took only one over for Geoff to prove that he was much more than a mere "fill-in" as he took a good catch at midwicket off Naveen's bowling to give us an early breakthrough. With Ferdi Rex, the other opening bowler, finding swing and Naveen consistently hitting a good line and length at pace we continued to cause problems for the batsmen. With runs proving hard to come by, except through edges, pressure was building. Soon Naveen (2/14) picked up another wicket with a leg-stump yorker and Ferdi (1/17) chipped in as Kiran finally managed to hold on to one of the disproportionate number of balls that had ended up flying towards him in the gully.
Since he had the ball in his hand already it seemed only logical for Kiran to bowl next and he offered no let up for the batsmen, bowling accurately and with good pace. Indeed it was only when Olly Rex's left arm "spin" was introduced that the pressure relented and, predictably, he bowled a batsman who got a little over-excited. Kiran was picking up wickets too, finishing with 2/7 off his fantastic spell, and though Olly's "special ball" (or right arm dross) went for four he returned figures of 1/13.
With three Rexes in the team Julius Rix was always going to cause the scorers problems, but his bowling proved just as troublesome as he took 1/9, well supported by Ollie Hastings who was unlucky to go wicketless. We had bowled well in reducing the opposition to just 82/8 off 15 8-ball overs, especially since a few catches went down in the outfield. Just this once, we were hoping in spite of the old adage we could win without catching all that well.
The Tektronix opening bowler was quick and managed to do something no one else had done thus far, namely getting the ball to bounce, and there was no shame in debutant Carl Sequira's dismissal at his hand. Tom Collett went about his business at his own pace, which some of our players might have translated as "slowly", but which in reality was fine as such a target didn't really require any extravagant strokeplay. Apparently oblivious to this, Jeff Beaumont, playing his first match in an injury-hit season, smacked 31* off just 17 balls, putting an end to any lingering doubts about our run rate. His innings included a number of firsts: he hit the game's first six, was the first batsman to retire having hit thirty runs and . . . well that's all, but it was certainly a first-rate knock.
At this stage Ferdi Rex joined Tom at the crease and they batted sensibly, putting away the bad balls and defending the good ones, to take us home to a comfortable victory with more than 3 eight-ball overs to spare. Tom (24* off 32 balls) had anchored our innings well and Ferdi (16* off 20 balls) had played his part perfectly (except for the fact that by remaining undismissed he ensured that his brother Max had to remain padded right until the end). And so we left the field content with a good victory in an enjoyable game.