A frustrating couple of weeks leading up to the Band of Brothers fixture, this year at a dry Belmont with an electric outfield, found Match Manager Patch juggling players between Cricketer Cup and other old school obligations; and the frustration was compounded on the day, when the Stragglers allowed the game slip away at the last. Winning the toss, Patch inserted the BB on the basis that the Straggler bowling might not have quite enough firepower to run through the BB. However, the bowlers stepped up to the mark from the first, with Rufus Pullen, on debut, getting a ball to lift fiercely and catch a glove to give Charlie the first of two slip catches. The second was actually at leg-slip, a position Charlie had decided would see all the action – and he was proved correct as batters flicked turning balls off their legs with regularity, and once into his hands. Wickets fell steadily to Tom Wilkinson (also on debut), Theo and the Chairman to have the BB at 165 for 6 at lunch, the Stragglers just having the edge. A comfortable lunch seemed to fire up the batters, who took on the bowling after the break, with a couple of big sixes pushing the score along, and putting on 81 for the 7thwicket. Patch regained control with another burst from Toby and Rufus, and control was not relinquished again. Rufus took a blinder of a low catch to close the BB innings out, perhaps 20 minutes before a planned declaration, with the total on 257. This would prove to leave the Stragglers a possible 49 overs to chase. Theo (3 for 30) and Tom Wilkinson (4 for 69) had done the damage.
The Stragglers set off on the charge, with Charlie (27) flat batting boundaries back over the bowlers, even giving Finn Hulbert some grief. However, he stepped out once too often to be smartly stumped by another Straggler playing for the opposition – Matt Simpson. Will Hilton joined Al, and kept the score moving along. However, a decision went against Al (29), and then Jonty took on the arm of Finn from the boundary – direct hit, what else? Theo (14) kept up the pace, but was undone. Jonno Ross waved and departed; Patch (16) looked as elegant as ever, and the chase was still very much on, with Will clubbing occasional sixes to cruise past 50. Two quick wickets. Will, now under pressure to up the pace, skied one, out for 85 and the shutters came up. Tom W and the Chairman had 11 overs to block out for the draw (sadly Rufus had been obliged to return for chapel). Half way there, Finn ripping turn from the wicket, and a pad got in the way of the ball – finger raised. A confident chase had just come up short; the game played in great spirit.