2019 proved to be a season of remarkable Straggler performances – 14 victories equalled the previous best in 1952; 12 centuries scored by Stragglers, the most in a season eclipsing 8 scored in 2017 (and the highest score by an opposing batter all season a modest 90*); 4,588 runs scored from the bat, beating the previous best of 4,094 from 2017; only the second time that four Straggler bowlers had taken 20 or more wickets (the first in 1982); the most outfield catches, 73, beating the previous best of 66, also in 1982; and 10 successful keepers, an unheard of pool of talent, who between then caught or stumped 32 victims, better than the previous best of 28 in 2017. And a season in which the weather played a negligible part, with one cancellation due to rain. We were sad not to play against two very long-standing opponents – Street End and Hollingbourne – as some village sides are struggling to put out as many sides as in the past.
In spite of a handful of cancellations in 2019, cricket offers up so many statistical opportunities, that your correspondent has managed to uncover more than a few:
- 14 victories in a season is equal best with 1952 (with the President equal leading wicket taker), although fewer games were played in 1952
- 12 Straggler centuries scored in a season is the most by some way; the previous best 8 in 2017, and never more than 5 previously
- Centuries were scored on Straggler debut by James Leggett and Tom Tribe
- In scoring 151* against the Band of Brothers, George BW became the 2nd Straggler to score more than 2 centuries in a season; the second to score more than 5 Straggler career centuries and the first to score two 150s
- George now has the third, sixth= and eleventh highest individual Straggler scores
- And his average for the season of 75.43 is the fifth highest
- More than one in three Straggler centuries have been scored in the last decade – over 50
- 4,588 runs scored from the bat is the highest, surpassing the previous best of 4,094 from 2017
- 639 runs scored by Jasper is the second highest in a season (after his 1132 in 2017)
- Jasper became the fifth Straggler to pass 4,000 career runs
- During the tour to Menorca, both Hugo Snape and Ben Simpson reached 1,000 career runs
- George Baker White and Benny Smallwood broke the record for the first wicket with 221 against Standard Athletic Club at Belmont – replacing Founder, Wyndham Fletcher and JLA Barnes’ record from 1957
- 5 Partnership records are now held by Smallwoods – Benny 1st, Jasper and Al 4th, Jasper 6th, and Paul 8th and 10th. Matt held the record for the 4th wicket for 8 years until replaced by his sons
- The Chairman became only the second Straggler to notch up over 50 undefeated innings (now 51) behind Rodney Fletcher on 67
- When Tom Pollington took the second catch in the game at Tenterden, outfield catches for the season reached 67, passing the previous best of 66 in 1982. The season ended with 73 catches
- Stragglers have never had such a pool of talent behind the stumps, with 10 successfully removing batsmen. Jasper lead the pack with 10 victims
- A total of 32 wicket keeper victims beats the previous best of 28
- Nick Wright’s final ball at Tenterden took him to 20 wickets for the season, only the second time that 4 Stragglers have taken 20 or more wickets in a season (Al – 28, Nick T – 26, Hugo – 24, Nick W – 22) – previously in 198Champagne Moment
The Straggler Committee met in October to decide on the award of the champagne moment for 2019. Among the contenders are George BW’s catch to end the first of the two games against Menorca CC on tour, Trent Riddell’s diving catch behind the stumps off Hugo at Wellesley, having moved to leg, and then diving back across his slips, Al’s remarkable switch hit against the BB, only to be caught on the boundary by Finn, Patch’s tumbling catch at long-off against the BB, and George’s sharp catch at cow corner to complete the Straggler dominance of the middle overs of that game, Tom Tribe’s exceptional slip catch against the Junior BB, fingers an inch above the ground, Toby’s remarkable one-handed grab (having decided to wave the very hard hit shot from Olla through for a flat 6) in the Inter-Straggler game, Alex Reese taking off like a ballerina to catch a reverse sweep from Hugo in the same game, and James Pollington reaching his first century at the precise moment that Ben Stokes hit the winning runs at Headingley.
After much discussion, the 2019 Champagne Moment is awarded to Toby Snape for his remarkable one-handed catch at Belmont.