108/8 - 109/2
Full Time
35 overs
Won by 8 wickets

Match Report

In late September sunshine, with buzzards circling the ground, the Straggler season drew to a close with a comfortable win at Elham. Arriving to find a damp, soft and slow wicket, it was something of a surprise that, on losing the toss, the Stragglers were invited to bowl. Conditions seemed to favour the bowlers and so it transpired. Nick Wright hurtled in from one end and made the classic Straggler error of relying on his slip cordon (a gentle chance went to ground) or on the ball carrying through to the keeper – a number fell short as the ball held up in the surface. At the other end, first Hugo (4 for 10) and then the Chairman (2 for 1) chose a more direct route, which did not trouble any fielders. And runs were hard to score. At the end of the 12th over, Elham had gently subsided to 22 for 5. However, another drop (by the Chairman off the metronomic Ed Wright) allowed Elham to build a partnership and head towards something of a target. Toby rotated the bowlers (9 used) and brought himself on to serve up some very loopy spin, which proved successful in ending the partnership (75 for 6), with a sharp catch at mid-wicket by Jasper. Jasper then induced a top edge, which Theo accepted having run round the batsman. Kieran turned the ball square in both directions without success, and Harry Churchill, looking to complete a hat-trick, having finished at Hurlingham in May with 2 in 2, was denied an end of season flourish. Finally, Hugo came back with an over of left arm spin, to take a very hard-hit return catch. A question was raised about whether Hugo’s Straggler wickets taken while bowling left-arm (now 4) should be recorded in a separate column. Elham ended on 108 for 8 after 35 overs.

The Straggler innings opened with an unusual partnership, the top two career run scorers marching out together – Nigel and Jasper. The latter began the game requiring a modest 32 to overtake Nige at the top of the list. Nige had been in pole position since late May 2009, and it looked as if Jasper would replace him without Nige moving the target. However, when Jasper reached 29, Nige emerged from his defensive slumber to hit a couple back over the bowler’s head – target for Jasper now 38. Unfortunately, Nige then skied one, and was followed shortly thereafter by Theo, leaving Jasper to move to the top of the career run scorers with a single recorded for posterity by Harry.  George (38*) was now in with Jasper (65*) and any fear that the wobble would become a collapse was allayed, the target reached in the 21st over, victory by 8 wickets.  Final games of the season are often replete with jeopardy, as those leading the batting and bowling for the season look over their shoulders at those who would capture the crown. However, in 2023, the leading contenders (George with the bat and Hugo with the ball) put their feet very firmly on the prize. George ends the season as leading run scorer and top of the averages with 336 runs at 67.20; Hugo tops the bowling averages with 13 wickets at a miserly 7.69, his figures reminiscent of the glory days of Straggler bowling some half a century or more ago.


Elham, Canterbury CT4 6YG