A phone call from the opposition on the Thursday before a game is rarely good news, and so it proved, when Otterden rang to cancel. However, the wonders of an inter-connected world (and a bit of semaphore) meant that by 7pm an alternative opposition had been found in Sissinghurst. The move, however, exposed a selection error made by our great leader, the Master Brewer. Jonathan had inadvertently included James Boyd Moss on his team sheet instead of Rory Boyd, who had actually applied to play. James, now resident in Kenya, must be somewhat bemused to have received a flurry of messages about the change of venue, while poor Rory had not, and so turned up at Otterden to find the ground deserted. The committee met in emergency session to determine the level of fine to be imposed on Jonathan (still being bid up), and to ask for the publication of the apology to Rory on social media. Back at Sissinghurst, the Stragglers were in the field, and it was a fielding display dominated by catches, wonderful grabs and woeful drops. Jasper took the first, a regulation edge off Hugo. Hugo is used to seeing such nicks waved through the cordon to the boundary, but this time Jasper hung on with great aplomb. Harry Churchill made one of the most difficult of catches, running backwards looking over his shoulder, look easy. Jonathan, having shelled a dolly at mid-on, both hands around the ball and still letting it slip away, then spent an age underneath a skier, while his team mates bet furiously on the ball, only to see it taken comfortably. Hugo, who spent much of the game under the helmets of assorted batters, then took a smart smack close to the wicket. However, interspersed between the successes were at least 8 drops, one or two quite hard, but most should have been held. In spite of the regular let-offs, the Sissinghurst batters never really got momentum, with Hugo (1 for 10) and the Chairman conceding a miserly 32 in the opening 12 overs. Will Fenwick (1 for 56) then came on to take a hard return catch, but, for the rest of his spell, found himself bowling exclusively at the one batsman who had really found his range. At the other end Jasper (3 for 24) bowled an over of rank long-hops and then found his length, and benefitted from catches well held; and Oscar Pullen on debut bowled with great control, finishing with 3 for 18. After 40 overs, Sissinghurst had reached 168 for 9.
The Stragglers opened with another Smallwood combination, Al and Matt, who got off to a brisk start before Matt (17) was undone by the change bowler. Occasional Straggler, Ricky Churchill, in spite of participating in a partnership of 11, was beaten for pace first ball, and Al was joined by Will Hilton. Their principal objective was not to lose a wicket and so keep Jonathan safely in the pavilion. In this they were successful, Al moving to his third Straggler century (110*), with few alarms, and some shots of great power. Will (35*) showed due respect to young Hector Powell, aged 11, who had been undefeated with the bat, and now bowled an excellent line. The target, however, had not been enough, and an 8 wicket victory was concluded in the 28th over. Many thanks to Sissinghurst in agreeing to be last minute opposition, for a great fun game of cricket, and with whom we hope to repeat the fixture.