Remnants vs. Grantchester

18:00, Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Fitzwilliam College

Remnants (117/7 in 20 6-ball overs)
lost to
Grantchester (120/4 in 16.3 6-ball overs)
by 6 wickets.

People playing cricket.

Report by Daniel Mortlock:

Remnants was, this evening, defeated comfortably by a strong Grantchester side, a result remarkable only for the fact that the outcome of the match had already been decided at 12:54pm. For it was at this exact moment that, in response to a message announcing an illness-enforced drop-out, Hari Kukreja (who turned out a few times for Remnants last year, but plays more regularly for the University first XI) posted on WhatsApp: "Sorry just finished my last exam but see you have got a replacement. GCC we're [sic] short on players so am now playing for them and will look forward to seeing you at the game". There was some hope that perhaps "GCC" stood for something other than "Grantchester Cricket Club", or perhaps was a typo - and Hari did indeed follow up with a correction . . . but it was only that "we're" of course meant "were". It thus seemed all but preordained that we'd have one more entry on the long list of Remnants players personally responsible for a club defeat.

Faruk Kara (genetics), John Moore (none), Daniel Mortlock (a pillar) and Tom Serby (half-half) compare their different approaches to sun protection.

Still, Hari had no real influence for the first hour of the game, being restricted to some occasional ground-fielding; and after 13 (six-ball) overs we were on 85/3, within sight a potentially-competitive total of 130-140. Pleasingly, our scoring up to this point had been very much a team effort, with some five batters making it to double figures. James wondered if this might be a club record, which seemed plausible to some of us . . .

. . . at which point we pause to think about this properly. Given that we play short-format games, mostly with just 120 (or fewer) balls per innings, it's perhaps inevitable that in any given innings only a few batters will ever get enough time in the middle to make it to double figures. Perhaps it's a bit far-fetched to think five is the all-time maximum - and, sure enough, the actual record is seven - but five does seem likely to be rather rare. So, take a breath and think seriously: how many times, in the club's 1160-odd games, have five or more Remnants batters scored at least 10 runs in an innings?

Five or six? Maybe a dozen?

Okay, final answer, now please . . .

Yes, that's right: there have been five or more double figure scores in a Remnants innings . . . 130 times.

Julius Rix makes it to double figures.

Of the five such efforts today, by far the best innings was by top-scorer Qaiser Ahmed (28 off 23 balls), who played a number of perfectly-timed flicks and punches that scooted across the fast outfield to the boundary. That said the most remarkable batting achievement was by Tom Serby (16 off 21 balls), who perhaps became the first Remnant to be run out twice in one innings: going for a quick single there was a direct hit which everyone at the ground, including Tom himself, had Tom short of his ground, only for the umpire alone to disagree; but a later calling mix-up was even more clear-cut. James Robinson (18 off 15 balls), Julius Rix (22 off 23 balls) made good contributions as well, although both were ended by Hari, run out (another direct hit) and bowled, respectively. Even though Julius's dismissal was off a dodgy full toss that was close to "no ball" territory, Hari's 3-over spell of 1/5 completely curtailed our scoring. In the end we made just 32 runs and lost 4 wickets from the last 42 balls of our innings, a surely fatal deceleration that left us with a sub-par total of 117/7 to defend.

Joe White, briefly up to the task.

We were, tantalisingly, briefly up to the task: Joe White (0/30) started with an over of superb out-swing that (yawn) saw a slips cordon in place, conceding just a single run came off a thick edge; and then Daniel Mortlock (1/23) started just as well, so that Grantchester's total was 2/0 after 11 balls . . . only for a crap leg-side full toss - calmly knocked to the boundary - to break the spell. And that was kind of the story for the next hour: we did plenty good, but there was always a four ball or a wide or an overthrow or a mis-field just around the corner. Pete Ames (2/19) provided a brief ray of hope when he took a wicket off his first ball (thanks to a superb low catch by 'keeper Marcus Baker); and Faruk Kara (1/16) had one of the Grantchester batters so comprehensively stumped by Marcus that it was recorded as a run out by their scorer.

Whatever the mode of dismissal, this appeared to be a tactical error as it brought Hari back out onto the ground, now with bat in hand. We decided our best chance of getting him out was to go with our least conventional bowler, which tonight was John Moore - a rather ironic match-up given that the reason Hari had been freed up to play for the opposition was that John had been so quick to snap up the spare spot in our eleven earlier in the day. For a brief moment it seemed the plan had worked: Hari toe-ended an attempted pull, which arced out towards Daniel at cow corner . . . but the shot had been so badly mis-timed that the ball fell agonisingly short. John got a second chance an over later, but it was too late, as Hari had quickly learned to wait for the ball, leading to five consecutive boundaries and unfairly harsh figures of 0/28 for John. The winning runs were duly hit with more than 3 overs to spare - although a subsequent inspection of the scorebook revealed that our wides hadn't been properly recorded, implying that Grantchester had actually passed our total even earlier - leaving Hari with his predicted player of the match performance: 32* off 18 balls; 1/5 from 3 overs; and a run out.