For the first time in five years the annual Inter-Straggler game (against the Fixture Secretary’s XI) was not to be a gripping, last ball, nail-biter, as the Stragglers, led by Patch Mitchell, cruised to a comfortable 5 wicket victory with plenty of time to spare. Three standout features of the game were the chaotic finale to the FS XI innings, as wickets tumbled and more than one unprepared batter could have been timed out; the extraordinary sequence of dropped catches by the most reliable of fielders (so much so that the Chairman also dropped a catch to be part of such an illustrious group); and Theo’s sublime century for the Stragglers. Indeed it was Theo who set the tone for a really tight Straggler bowling display with his electric one-handed diving catch to remove George BW; his supporting slip cordon were notably immobile as he leapt in front of them. Will Hilton (43) and Jon Riches (visiting from Geneva for 48) dug in and kept the score ticking over, but never dominated, the bowlers very much on the money. Toby gave nothing away with three maidens in a short spell, and eight maidens from the bowling unit in an innings is unusually tidy. When Al joined Jon, it looked as if a couple of dropped caches would really matter, as he went on to score 75, and at 186 for 3, the FS XI looked set for a big score. However, Jon waved at a straight one from Jamie Lavers, and wickets tumbled. Harry Pattinson (12) resisted briefly, and Hugo finished with 10* from 2 balls, but it was all falling apart at the other end, as Will Attwood, Nick Wright and Ed Prest came and went in quick succession. Ben (2 for 16) and Patch (3 for 16) ran through the lower middle order. A declaration at 212 for 8 from 41 overs felt a little light.
The FS XI attack did not manage to keep the same degree of control with the ball, as Theo and Jasper set off to get to the BBQ early. Nick Wright managed to remove Jasper and Ben, and then Ed nicked out Jamie, but at the other end Theo was in a different zone, very much back in the touch which had eluded him early in the season. With increasing confidence and ever greater elegance, particularly after he was put down by possibly the most reliable catcher on the park, he eased his way to 113, a first century since Otterden in 2012, and very nearly saw the innings out, caught on the boundary going for a match-ending six. Toby (19) and Finn (17*) played bit parts in support, and Patch had to rush into his pads to score the winning runs, but it was Theo who had made the difference.