Report by Daniel Mortlock:
As George Bush once said, "Fool me once, shame on . . . er, shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again." Turns out FAS can: having last year, made the strategic error of agreeing to the Marines' request that we play two twenty/20s in place of a long-format game, we not only fell into the same trap again today, but went one step further by going for a pair of "hundreds". Perhaps the reduced amount of cricket wasn't such a bad thing - by this stage we had more injured players at the ground than fully fit - but it meant a futher descent into a bizarre sort of psuedo-cricket, defined in particular by the lack of value anyone put on wickets.
Not that you'd have known that from our top order: captain Rufus Dennis (20 off 25 balls) and Tom Reynolds (10 off 14 balls) both played nicely, but scored at less than a run a ball, and with the score at 31/0 after 7 "sets" we were in danger of failing to post a competitive score. We did then get the necessary injection of energy as Felix Barras (34 off 23 balls) and David Harrop (34 off 17 balls) finally managed the sorts of big hits expected in this format. But a late flurry of wickets meant that our final total, of 121/6, was decidedly under par.
When David Harrop (2/15) and Daniel Mortlock (3/23) got early wickets it would ordinarily been both a source of personal pride and good for the team - but neither was true here: the dismissals, both bowled, followed the sorts of swipes that no top order batter would have tried in a longer game; and in terms of the game it just meant us bowling at a different pair of batsmen. The pair in question were the father and son combination of Harrison and Jez Parsons, who looked set to win the games themselves, racing to 53/2 after just 6 "sets", meaning just 69 runs were needed off the remaining 70 balls.
But then Harrison, followed by Jez, were both somewhat arbitrarily retired, after which we got the one genuinely interesting period of play for the whole day. The new RMCC batters struggled with a combination of top bowling (particularly from Dilshan de Silva, 0/15, and Harry Houlder 1/16) and great fielding. The star here was, again, David Harrop: he took two catches, one of which was diving forward to intercept a flat drive that could easily have hit him in the face; and then he single-handedly won the game in the final over when he made an amazing stop to a flat drive that leapt up off the bounce - this not only prevented a boundary, but ensured that the reinstated Harrison was kept off strike.
FAS thus finally won a short-format game for the first time in a dozen attempts.
Report by Daniel Mortlock: