267/3 dec - 153/5
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Match Drawn

Match Report

With some lovely late spring sunshine, the Milstead ground looked a picture, and Stragglers were able to dispense with layers of woollen wear so essential for the previously weekend.  The game began in a very similar manner, with Straggs batting and batting well, even better it turned out than the week before.  George had taken Jasper’s spot at the top of the order, accompanied by Will Fenwick opening once more.  Apart from an early run of maidens, they were soon into their stride, with George leading the way.  A glorious lofted 6 into the pond at the uphill end of the ground (and the slope is substantial) was interspersed with some sublime cover drives.  Having reached his half century, he paused for breath, and jogged a few gentle singles.  Will was a few runs behind but finding the boundary with greater frequency as his innings flourished.  They passed the century partnership of the previous weekend, and were only parted on 196 when George, on 118, having previously brought up his 8th Straggler ton with another ball in the pond, caught the finest of edges, when the opening bowler returned to the fray.  A minor clatter of wickets followed, as Harry P and the Master Brewer came and went in a hurry.  Will upped the tempo, also reaching his century, and now batting for the declaration (while Jasper was circumspect in his search for red ink).  A couple of big hits landing close to the boundary brought back memories of Ben’s impalement in a Bergerac fountain; the opposition skipper tried to do something similar with a bollard – not pretty. The declaration at 267 for 3 (Will on 131*) seemed to give the bowlers plenty of time.

Milstead had called in a ringer from Sheldwich, one James Creed, who had many happy memories of despatching Stragglers of previous generations around the park.  Looking back through the records, your correspondent found a teenage James making his debut against the Stragglers in 1983, scoring his first century (151) in 1987, and another (122) in 1992.  Remarkably, that innings was ended by one J Neame, then merely an under-brewer.  Over nearly two decades James plundered more than 700 runs from Straggler bowling, averaging a fraction under 60.  However, this was not to be James’ day, as, in the first over, he played slightly early at a ball from Toby and, nudging the ball on to his pads, was caught by a diving Jasper. Toby followed this significant breakthrough with two more, the second of which was a remarkable two-handed diving catch by Al at second slip (already a leading contender for champagne moment and worthy of the IPL).  28 for 3 in the 7th over – surely the game was in the bag, and just needed to be tidied up in short order.  Cricket can be a funny game, however, and further wickets proved hard to come by.  In spite of accurate and mean spells from Jamie Adams, Seb and Harry P, with plenty of ‘play and misses’, edges were not found, balls hit in the air did not fall to fielders, and the batsmen stuck to their task.  Chasing down the target was no longer an option, determined resistance the order of the day, even with Al and Will tossing the ball high.  The drinks break after 25 overs brought a breakthrough for Al, as a ball was skied to George, 94 for 4.  Toby (4 for 20) removed the principal source of resistance just after he had reached a cautious half century (126 for 5 in the 37th).  But, in spite of increasingly rapid bowler rotation, the Milstead resistance proved more than sufficient, ending on 153 for 5 after 45 overs for a resilient draw.


Milstead, Sittingbourne ME9 0RX, UK