Apparently lightening does not strike the same place twice – well it does at Hollingbourne, where the Stragglers completed a second consecutive 97 run victory. Hollingbourne is a lovely place to play cricket, the Stragglers have been made wonderfully welcome there for many years, and the game has become a seasonal highlight. 2018 was no exception, and Stragglers have got into a habit of scoring centuries at Hollingbourne. This time Hugo, with 114*, scored his first century in any cricket and the first Snape Straggler hundred (with due recognition for Toby, left stranded on 98* at Otterden a couple of years ago). Straggler openers, Dom Barnes and Patch Mitchell, were wary against an accurate attack, pushing the scoring along comfortably enough until Patch (17) was undone by a jaffa, which took a fine edge. Hugo joined Dom, dug in as the score stuck in the 70s for 6 overs, the rate stalling, but they were both still there when some easier bowling was introduced. The innings was just gaining momentum, when Dom skied one, out for 68, and a partnership of 96. Skipper George BW, for whom Hollingbourne has been a happy hunting ground with centuries in 2016 and ’17, started well, and then completely failed to read the slowest of slow balls, played all round it, and was bowled for 20. Hugo continued to despatch bad balls towards the pavilion, allowing the new batters to hit out from the start. Jamie Adams hit two long sixes, slightly miscued another into what looked like acres of space; he had not allowed for the pace and huge hands of Richie Palmer, who never looked as if he was going to get to the ball, but flung himself to hang on one handed and inch from the turf. It is not often that the opposition are allowed into contention for the champagne moment, but this extraordinary catch warrants consideration. Harry Pattinson now joined Hugo and smashed 18 from a handful of balls to take the score to 269 for 5.
Rufus Pullen has bowled with great pace and accuracy for the Stragglers in 2018, and has the happy knack of picking up wickets in his first over; he did so again today. Seb Leggett at the other end induced an edge on to the stumps, Hollingbourne wobbling at 10 for 2. Order was restored for a while, but a dual change brought another clatter, Louis GW having an edge smartly picked up down the leg side by George BW, and then Jamie getting two yorkers on the money in an over – 64 for 5. The score got stuck in the 60s for 7 overs, but the new batters began to pick up the pace, and with some big hitters to come, the target was still within reach. Jamie struck again (3 for 23), but, at the other end the Chairman was being deposited into the field by Richie Palmer with regularity (there was a plan to post Seb over the boundary with his feet off the ground). In the end there were not quite enough batters to come, and Harry Pattinson secured the final wicket, all out for 172.