After a number of years of weather frustrations, the Straggler fixture at the Kings School Canterbury has opened the season. And it was a rather faltering start by the Stragglers, for whom the absence of winter nets was most obvious. Batsmen gave their wickets away at regular intervals, the fielding ring bore a dismal resemblance to a sieve with large holes, and the bowling was insufficiently tight. Despite the shortcomings, the Stragglers managed to conjure an unlikely victory from a game, in which we had been behind for most of the time. Jasper, George, Theo and Alex Reese all managed to get into double figures, but then got out carelessly; Hugo made it to 20, and it was only a Captain’s innings from Patch (49*), which gave the total some resemblance of respectability, although he was dropped twice. The second of these drops saw the fielder then rushed to hospital with a badly dislocated thumb. Patch put a positive spin on the 168 from 35 overs, by saying that his target at the outset had been 170. I am not sure we believed him.
The Stragglers opened the bowling with a brace of Snapes, and Hugo had early success with a fine glove to keeper, Theo, and a miscue well held by George BW at mid-wicket – 45 for 2. However, the fall of the first wicket brought Matt Barker to the middle and, with a fair degree of bottom hand, he managed to find plenty of gaps. The run rate shot up and at the half way stage, the School were well ahead at 106 for 2, and 18 overs left. Two quick wickets including that of Matt, bowled round his legs by Alex Reese, slowed the charge, but the odds were still in favour of the School. However, with the score on 136, and only needing 3 an over, the wheels came off. Alex picked up another 3, five wickets fell in five overs, and, when the replacement bat for the hospital bound thumb injury edged one through to Theo, the Stragglers found themselves unlikely victors by 10 runs.