276/3 - 132/all out
Full Time
40 overs
Won by 144 runs

Match Report

At the end of a week which had seen south Lincolnshire washed into the North Sea, the Stragglers arrived at a blustery, cool but sunny Hythe to resume a fixture which dates back to the very early days of the Club – more on that later.  2019 has seen the Straggler dominant when batting first, so Al elected to bat.  The wicket had a tinge of green and occasional variable bounce, and batters required a degree of circumspection not always on display – where was Benny when we needed a Test Match opener?  Ben Simpson (23) opened with Hamish and fell to a perfect ball clipping the top of off, but this only brought Jasper to the crease; Jasper had clearly received some coaching from Benny, as he went on to play a very unusually careful innings; I doubt he has ever scored so many singles.  The bowling was not tight enough, but it was never easy to let loose.  In spite of that and with careful batting, when Hamish ran himself out for 102 in 31st over, the score stood at 200 for 2, and he and Jasper had put on 154 for the second wicket. Jasper was so content to continue dawdling that it seemed likely that he would miss out on his ton, even with Inigo pushing him to run harder between the wickets.  In doing so, Inigo managed to run himself out for a stylish 15.  Finally in the 37th over, Jasper got a bowler whose full bungers could be lobbed over the short leg-side boundary and his century became certain, undefeated on 106 at the end.  Indeed, Matt also joined in the leg side 6 hitting, with the Stragglers comfortably placed at the close on 276 for 3.  Had it not been an overs game, a declaration would have been on order.

The Hythe line-up looked as if it might be fragile in the lower order, but we had to get there first.  Al was blessed with four opening bowlers, and he used them (Rufus, Nick W, Seb and Tom Burge) to good effect (run rate behind the pace, each bowling with pace and control), but a breakthrough was a long time coming.  Eventually it was another runout, with a young batter, who had looked very sound in defence, taking on the rocket arm of Nick W and failing by a distance.  This brought in the second of the Hythe Aussie pros, and briefly the run rate accelerated.  By drinks, Al had seen enough of his seamers, and made a double change to bring himself on with the Chairman at the other end.  And inspirational captaincy it proved. Al was able to extract extravagant movement from the wicket, leaving batters bemused, and took 2 in his first over, giving himself the chance of a hat-trick, which, if successful, would have followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Club President, Paul Smallwood, who took at hat-trick at Hythe in the early ‘50s.  The hat-trick ball was kept out. However, the door had been opened, and two overs later the Chairman removed the last of the Aussies (caught behind by Jasper off the bottom edge), and the middle order evaporated. 125 for 3 became 132 all out in quick time, Al and the Chairman competing for a “five for”.  With Al on 4 for 22, the Chairman failed to take the catch which would have given him 5, and in doing so took posession of the “Lark Catching Cup” from Ben, and then, to rub salt into the wound, proceeded to knock over the last wicket (4 for 8) to leave Al one short for the second time this season.  Victory by 144 runs is only the third best of the season.


Hythe Cricket & Squash Club, Ladies Walk, Hythe CT21 6AX, United Kingdom