Cricket is a wonderful game of changing fortunes, and the game at Nonington demonstrated this in spades as both sides had periods of dominance, coming down to a nail-biting finish eventuating in a final ball tie. The Stragglers did not begin well with the bat, 7 for 2 in the third over, but this brought occasional Straggler, Jeremy Godden (51), to the crease with Archie (73). Together they steadied the ship, and in a stand of 123, put the Stragglers in a strong position to post a big total. Their departure in quick succession lead to a brief flurry of middle order wickets before some late order hitting from Josh Baker (19*) and Freddie Bond (17*) saw the Stragglers post 208 for 8 from 35 overs, a fair but not insurmountable target. Honours even at the half-way stage.
The Chairman and Stan Weir (2 for 9) opened up for the Stragglers, Stan immediately effective with a long hop smacked to Archie at point, and a wonderful bouncer scooped to Josh Baker at mid-wicket. The Chairman followed up with a rare leg cutter shaving the edge of the Nonington skipper’s bat, well held by Aaron Cook behind the stumps, and Freddie holding a smart one-handed catch at mid-off. At 28 for 4, it looked as if the hard work had been done, and the Stragglers could cruise to a comfortable victory, more so as wickets continued to fall (Seb Apps with 2 and skipper Louis with 1) – 109 for 7 in the 22nd over seemed like game over. However, Dan Dawkins batting at the top of the order was biding his time; he timed his acceleration to perfection, increasingly farming the strike and finding the gaps across a very fast outfield. Now he had a partner to stay with him, Dan upped the tempo, the run rate was dragged back, a catch put down and the partnership blossomed to 94. With 21 runs to win from the last three overs, three wickets in hand and Dan well past his century, the game was surely in the bag. Josh Gallagher, on debut, spun one a little more, Dan miscued very slightly to be caught on the boundary by Josh Baker for a masterful 132, leaving 16 runs required from 11 balls, back in the balance at a stroke. Ten runs scored from the penultimate over, 6 needed from the last. Archie managed to lure number 10 out to be stumped (now nine down), two scrambled singles, 4 needed from the last ball, surely the Stragglers could keep it tight now. Final ball, fielders spread enough to prevent a boundary, but bowled slightly wide (and called such) the ball slipped past the keeper, batsman running furiously, one then two, turn for the third and winning run, but no, Stan had the ball, hurled to Archie at the bowler’s end to run out Rajan for 26 – 208 all out, scores level, match tied. Great finish.