203/all out - 206/3
Full Time
40 Overs
Won by 7 wickets

Match Report

Hollingbourne is always an exciting fixture with Stragglers lining up to compete for the various awards in the last game of the season. With the weather variable and rain always threatening skipper, Nick Tapp, duly lost the toss and the Stragglers were put into the field. The opening attack of Neame (still in the running for the bowling despite having only taken 3 wickets all season) and Theo Allport constrained an experienced Hollingbourne opening pair for about 3 overs before they opened their shoulders and began to let rip. At 110 for 1 off 15 overs the Stragglers were looking to chase more than 300, and heads had gone done. Inspired leadership, or lack of choice, introduced Al Smallwood to the attack bowling off spin and he bowled a tight spell from one end, whilst Simon Allport grew increasingly frustrated as lofted balls streaked past fielders just out of reach, and stumpings went begging. Runs flowed at an unstoppable rate, and the Chairman came on as the last hope, and had immediate success with a craftily disguised slower ball. Al then achieved, through a very agile piece of fielding, a run out that most of us would only dream of even in our younger years. In spite these successes the Stragglers were still under the cosh – 192 for 3 off 30 overs – 10 overs to go! However, the Chairman proved unplayable, wickets tumbled and Jonathan’s grip on the bowling award faded. Another brilliant run out between Andrew Cloke and Theo, and the Chairman struck again – 202 for 8. Jonathan was brought back with 2 overs to go. Appeal! LBW – 202 for 9. The last man had little chance against the rampant Tapp. 203 all out, with the Chairman taking a career best of 6 for 31 – confirmation that the purchase of a new pair of bowling boots earlier in the season are a fantastic investment, as there is no chance now that they will be hung up anytime soon.

Matthew Roberts and Theo Allport put on 78 for the first wicket with Matthew striking the ball well to all parts. Theo fell to be replaced by Andrew, who immediately found his tempo, finding the gaps and making Matthew run hard (lucky he has just completed a marathon!) On 81 Matthew got a toe crunching leg stump yorker that was too good. Impatient to be part of the action, Neame arrived to finish it off. However, he had not allowed for a late charge from the President to claim the Champagne Moment, and not even Jonathan’s forward lunge could save him from Bottie’s finger. Andrew was now the senior pro, as he was joined by Al and advised him that there no need to hurry. With 10 to win off 7 overs, there was more cautious advice – “don’t do anything silly”. Al duly danced down the track to smack 4 back over the bowler’s head, then a nudge for two. Al eyed the field… dilscoop…4, and a great win to end a terrific season.


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