208/All out - 152/All out
Full Time
Won by 56 runs

Match Report

A Spitfire circling the ground for an hour or so on a lovely summer afternoon welcomed the Stragglers to Egerton, who had a young team on show, albeit with some very mature muscle in support.  The Straggs had three winners of the Peter Budden Shepway Stragglers award from Wellesley House in the side, James Felton (2019), George (2021) and Xandy Long (2022).

The Straggs won the toss and elected to bat on what always looks like a track full of runs, but often flatters to deceive. George BW and Will Fenwick began at a lively pace, with the middle order settling down in the sun for a snooze on the boundary.  The bowlers, however, aided by some movement off the wicket had other ideas; Will was caught behind having offered a fine edge, and the innings paused for breath. James Felton joined George, and batted with very un-Straggler like patience, as he went about building an innings. It looked like a partnership made in heaven.  Just as the tempo was heading north of 6 an over, George (38) copied Will and was gone. This brought debutant George Long to the crease, sadly only for a very watchful eight, including one lovely cover drive for four. Jasper, missing out on the opportunity to reach 5,000 career runs and overtake the Master Brewer in a single innings, offered a simple chance to Steve Wellard at mid-off, and was followed shortly thereafter by Xandy Long, the innings a modest 117 for 5, and beginning to look like the batting performance of 2021 (the stewards enquiry into Jonathan’s captaincy is ongoing).  Ben joined James at the crease, and some momentum was generated, only for James to be undone by a second change bowler for an excellent 61, his first Straggler half-century, which included two long sixes on to the football ground. Egerton now introduced the Club’s leading wicket taker, Paul Hope, no longer bowling with the pace of youth, but with more than enough guile to deal with Ben, bamboozled round his legs for 22, and then Jonathan (36) and Nick Wright (9) caught just short of the boundary in consecutive balls to leave the Straggs 208 all out ten minutes before tea, and some way short of the target set in the pre-match inspirational chat from our great leader.

Steve Wellard has caused Straggler bowlers to reconsider their career choices in previous fixtures at Egerton. There was a time when he averaged over 200 against us.  It was with some trepidation that Jonathan threw the ball to Nick W and Ed Mayall to open the bowling.  Steve began by taking 12 from the first over, and there was no doubt that, had he remained at the crease, the target would have been a walk in the park. Steve’s partners, the other opener his son, were not quite so prolific, and even gave their wickets away on occasion (Ed with 2 for 26 from 8 overs), but all the time Steve was at the crease, damage was being done. It took a bold double change to make the difference, as Ben removed Steve (47) with one that swung in a mile and up the hill, while Xandy Long took pace right off with his leg spin. Struggling a little with length, Xandy bowled some real jaffas that had the new batters nicely confused. The next change at the top end added 52 years to the age of the attack, as the Chairman and Ben settled in to dislodge the remaining batters. Ben dealt with the hard-hitting middle order (4 for 17), while the Chairman fooled a few into unwarranted and careless aggression (3 for 13). Both bowlers benefitted from quite special catches by the Long brothers, George taking a circuitous route to settle under a steepling catch at mid-wicket, while Xandy followed this up with an almost miraculous one handed grab above his head at mid-on. Even as the wickets fell, the overs were being whittled away, and a final throw of the dice was required to deliver a result. The ball was thrown to James, who hurtled in with great energy, and, with only 8 balls remaining, found the edge of a very obdurate Paul Hope to settle matters, Egerton all out for 152, the Straggs victorious by 56 runs.


Rock Hill Rd, Egerton, Ashford TN27 9DW, UK