I Zingari

204/all out - 183/all out
Full Time
Won by 21 runs

Match Report

With overnight storms and an inch of rain across the county, it was no surprise to find the teams gathered at Torry Hill wondering about a damp track and deciding to postpone the start until noon.  With a strong breeze and the sun finally emerging, managing the pitch would be key to success – nothing less than an old fashioned ‘sticky dog’.  Invited to bat, the Stragglers were soon on the back foot, at 21 for 2, Benny and Tom T flattering to deceive and back in the pavilion.  This brought together long-term batting partners, Theo and Jasper S, to roll back the years (indeed the rolling back went all the way to their early teens, when calling for singles was a haphazard adventure).  The occasional hard chance was offered and spurned, but with Theo imitating KP on one leg with flicks to the led side boundary and Jasper smacking consecutive sixes over cow corner, they built what proved to be the only partnership of consequence of the game.  Coming in for lunch at 138 for 2, a monster score looked possible, but cricket can be a cruel game.  The partnership (worth 119) was brought to an end shortly after lunch as, first, Jasper (75) and then Theo (54) managed to get themselves out as the opening bowler came back, this time bowling into the wind to use the conditions to better advantage. There now followed a stumble (James Felton’s off stump not just being removed but reduced to splinters for good measure), and then a collapse of epic proportions.  Hugo (28) and Inigo (11) had begun to rebuild, when four wickets fell for 6 runs, the Stragglers reduced to 187 for 9.  The comfortable relaxation of a lobster salad for lunch now seemed a long time ago.  Keen to clean up the Stragglers for under two hundred, IZ brought pace back on from both ends, only to find some unexpected resistance from the final pair.  The Chairman completed an unlikely double for the season, reaching 400 career runs with a straight drive off Harry Thomson (having passed 400 career wickets on the same ground a month earlier), and, at the other end, Will Evans resolute.  A partnership of 17, third highest of the innings, took the score to 204.  As Hugo said on the way out for the start of the second innings, this was a defendable score – IZ were not just playing the Straggs, but a difficult wicket as well.

The Straggler bowling unit took the game to IZ and delivered an outstanding performance with 8 maidens and no wides (particularly positive after the ‘wide-fest’ of 2022).  Hugo’s changes brought four wickets in the first over after the change, and IZ batsmen were unable to settle into partnerships, with only two of more than forty.  What proved to be 48 overs available for the chase might not have helped, allowing a sense of security – there was more than enough time.  Jasper W (2 for 32) struck first, and the breakthrough was followed up by Will Evans, who extracted considerable turn and bounce, really hard to get away in an 11 over spell of 2 for 49. Hugo (4 for 32) took full advantage of the challenges posed by the drying wicket, with changes of pace and length causing plenty of problems, while keeping a lid on the run rate.  Even as the Stragglers squeezed, IZ had plenty of batting, with top order batsmen all the way down the card, and skipper Harry Thomson arriving at number ten.  Another bowling change, another wicket – Theo seeming to hang in the air at short extra waiting for the ball to arrive, and then Harry miscuing a drive straight to an anxious Tom Tribe, who did his best to absorb the ball.  181 for 9 and five overs left. Not a problem; Hugo changed his line to find an edge and Inigo did the rest, all out for 183, for a first Straggler victory against IZ.  A wonderful game.


Torry Hill
Milstead, Sittingbourne ME9 0SR, UK