On a summer’s evening trailed as balmy but which turned grey and even a little drizzly, a team which resembled the remnants of Phil’s barrel (after most of the good apples had declared themselves unavailable) renewed battle with the real Remnants for the second time this season.
Rob Gill is always a man in a hurry and, having lost the toss, he eagerly led the many young novices in his team out in to the field, where they were followed by some stragglers brimming with age and questionable decisions to rescind their premature retirements. But one should never underestimate the desire to achieve approbation from one’s Fuhrer and with that remote aspiration in their hearts his team threw themselves into the fray.
The Phillies opened their attack with young gun Ben Cross and Charlie Pearson (who is more of a maturing cannon these days), and it was he who caught the edge of one of the opener’s bats with a beauty which nestled safely on the forearm, wrist, stomach and eventually in the hands of Stomper Harris (who, just to confuse matters, was at first slip). Oh how Charlie wished he had signed up for Stomper’s catching masterclass when he later shelled a dolly off the perspiring Amith who had replaced him after his opening burst. Nevertheless, Amith did manage to take two wickets through outfield catches, one of which was remarkable not so much for its difficulty as for the skipper’s decision to execute a swallow dive which would not have looked out of place in the ballet Swan Lake. In fact, he could easily have run a little faster and caught it with both feet on the ground.
In the middle overs of the innings Messrs White, Hegarty and Middleton were given the opportunity to show glimpses of their glory days, although these were interspersed with more flagrant exhibitions of what the passage of time had wrought upon them, and so the Remnants score began to mount. This combined with the 16 extras leaked by the Phillies meant that, by the time George Doel’s speedy bowling picked up another batsman clean bowled (and Ben and Charlie returned for the final two overs), a highly respectable 20 over score of 152 runs had been posted and the gauntlet was laid down.
The Remnants’ opening bowlers were both reasonably rapid and, sadly, debutant Harry Forber succumbed to his very first ball in the Phillies’ colours. But his partner, Alex Carew, steadied the ship with George until the opposition brought their chief weapon in to play – the extended digit of a Philanderers’ umpire. First George was dispatched by White’s raised finger before Alex’s promising innings of 24 was brought to a premature end by a Harris decision and the team’s fortunes lay in the hands of their captain and young Ben Cross. Cricket often looks like a rather different game when Rob is at the crease and, although he was occasionally troubled (particularly by the very slow bowlers), he duly peppered the boundaries with fours and sixes including one enormous hit which sent the Fuhrer in to apoplexy when it missed his BMW by a few inches. Whilst Rob was at the crease victory looked assured but, when he departed for a finely struck 66, there was still much to be done.
Phil and scorer Nick Redmayne had for some time been getting excited at the prospect of “a bit of Charlie” but when young Mr Pearson departed, after contributing only 3 more runs to the total, he left the scurrying greyhounds of Ben and Amith at the crease to pick up singles which weren’t really there and turn ones in to twos and twos in to threes. The Fuhrer was thrilled at the performance of this pair whilst next man Harris looked aghast at the prospect of having to run between the wickets with one of them. One senses his innings would have been brief but violent but we never found out for, with more than an over to spare, victory was achieved and the Remnants vanquished once more.
With deep satisfaction the Fuhrer pronounced that Mr Gill’s Philanderers’ captaincy had been almost entirely satisfactory save for one glaring omission – “I can’t believe you allowed Middleton to bowl 4 overs.”
The imperious Gill awaiting the next opportunity to create carnage
Huge concentration beyond the boundary rope