122/all out - 123/5
Full Time
35 overs
Won by 5 wickets

Match Report

Stragglers gathered at Elham for a season finale, on the day after the autumn equinox, the nights drawing in and with rain threatening the game in the west of the county on the day before and sweeping down the Channel during the game.  The batting award for 2022 rested on the game and the outcome (see below) turned on 3 runs.  The Chairman lost the toss (again) and the Straggs were sent into the slightly damp field.  Tom Burge and Toby (1 for 12) opened up, with the latter still firing as he had at Street End, ferociously fast and batsmen failing to make contact.  The low bounce worked in Toby’s favour, as a straight one knocked over an opener.  Elham dug in for a while, putting on 53 for the second wicket, and a big total was looking possible, but Hugo (1 for 10), on at first change caused a pause, when he knocked over the other opener’s middle stump, just shy of his half century.  And then Kieran P (3 for 23), bowling the most dangerous ball in cricket (low full toss) induced a couple of return catches to remove both Elham’s leading batsmen for 2022, and the innings stalled.  To the surprise of many, George BW talked himself on for a short spell and took his first Straggler wicket in 11 years, when the Chairman snaffled a catch at mid-off.  Fresh from passing his driving test, Will Pollington (1 for 11) came on for Kieran and picked up an LBW. The last man for Elham had one, very effective shot towards cow corner, and the Chairman ringed the leg side boundary, and then bowled well outside off to see how far the batsman would fetch to leg. Success was finally achieved as George took a fine running catch at deep long on, bringing the innings to an end at 122.  This catch took the total for the season to 74, the most in any season and one more than the 73 taken in the glory season of 2019.  It is always a joy to have Olla Tennant in the field, as he has a ferociously strong arm, but a radar that occasionally lets him down, the ball heading in unexpected directions.

Everything rested on the final innings. Theo went into the game averaging 55, less than half a run ahead of George on 54.57. When George waved the third ball of the innings through to be bowled for 4, it looked as if it was all done and dusted. However, George had played more innings and thus his average only slipped to 48.25.  Unfortunately, the Chairman was not on the top of his statistical game and failed to alert Theo (who had only completed 5 innings before Elham) that he needed to score 22 to take the prize.  Theo had assumed that just outscoring George would be enough, but when bowled for 19, his average had dipped below George to 47.80, again a margin of less than half a run.  Theo and George also very nearly let James Felton in at the last, as James had ended his season at Folkestone with an average of 46.25.

The Straggs were on 25 when Theo fell, followed next ball by Nigel, possibly put off by Toby both umpiring and filming from the bowler’s end. The video may go viral. Surely the Straggs were not going to collapse from here? Will Pollington came to the wicket to join Olla, who was making the most of his enormous reach to block almost everything, addressing the low bounce very effectively. Together they took the total on to 80, Will with great elegance and timing.  Indeed, he seemed to defy the laws of physics with some of his sixes. Olla was finally undone for 19, having found a couple of boundaries towards the end.  Kieran came and went, to leave Hugo (12*) and Will (61*) to see the innings home, the winning six hit by Will back over the bowler’s head, a classy innings on a track offering the bowlers plenty of assistance.


Elham, Canterbury CT4 6YG