Band of Brothers

255/all out - 194/all out
Full Time
Lost by 61 runs

Match Report

On a day of high cricketing drama at Lords, when the dismissal of Johnny Bairstow (the casual gardener) caused furore in the Long Room, the Stragglers managed to bring an explosive BB innings under control and then appear to be cruising to victory, only for the wheels to fall off spectacularly on the home stretch.

The BB won the toss and elected to bat. Nick Wright and Sef Rahman for the Stragglers opened up with good pace and direction, exerting a few moments of pressure, but the BB openers (Hammond in particular for 77) then opened their shoulders and for the first hour it seemed as if BB were looking for a lunchtime declaration. It took skipper Alex to make the breakthrough (as he did in 2022) with the score on 105 in the 16th over, and the Straggs were back in it. Alex removed the other opener (2 for 37), but then twisted his back and was obliged to rest at slip for the remainder of the innings. Angus Balfour came on to bowl with lovely pace and shape, but it was the replacement spinner, Will Fenwick, who kept the ball in the air and of interest to Ben Salter and Gus Harman (3 catches) on the deep leg side boundary. The run rate slowed sharply, and lunch was taken with the BB on 167 for 5 from 29 overs, perhaps with their noses marginally in front. Another wicket for Will immediately after lunch kept the Stragglers in the hunt, but a hard-hitting 7th wicket partnership of 66 was beginning to take the game away, when Will took his fifth (5 for 75), his second five-for at Belmont of the season. And the Chairman finally managed to locate his radar and picked off the (powerful) tail with sharp catches at short extra (Will) and behind the stumps (Theo) to end with 3 for 46.  For the first time in the fixture, the Stragglers had bowled out the BB, with 255 a little short of what might have been hoped for on winning the toss.

On paper the Stragglers had an enormously powerful top 7, and George’s two crisply struck drives in the opening over looked to be in complete control. To the surprise of many, three big guns fell in quick succession as the Stragglers slumped to 36 for 3 in the 6th over. However, cometh the hour cometh the man (or two batsmen in this case).  Theo and Charlie dug in, and began to impose themselves on the bowling, both batting with some style.  Tea was taken with the score on 111 for 3, and a possible 28 overs remaining, the Stragglers looking comfortable. On 54, Charlie launched a huge shot into low earth orbit, only to miss the angle to achieve escape velocity by a whisker, and BB skipper, Piers Richardson, took a huge catch with his heels an inch from the boundary. The fourth wicket partnership of 123 had taken a modest 17 overs, still leaving plenty of time. However, Ben Regan was now on a roll, and picked up key wickets of Angus and Theo (for 96).  Theo’s only previous chance on offer had been a really sharp catch from a no ball.  The tail were left to find the final 70 runs. The collapse from 185 for 4 to 194 all out was something of a procession, with Ben picking up a hat-trick (which was not noticed in the flurry of wickets as it spanned two overs) and finishing with 7 for 59. The Straggler innings came to a less than glorious close at 194, none on the final four batsman contributing, and defeat by 61 runs. It should be noted that fielding on both sides was of the highest calibre; I suspect that it is many years since Stragglers have taken 8 outfield catches (although George had to be woken up from a snooze in the covers to pick up his).


Stalisfield Rd, Faversham ME13 0HJ, UK