Matches

Standard Athletic Club

206/all out - 142/8
Full Time
Match Drawn

Match Report

Matt Smallwood managed to reduce the average age of the Stragglers selected to face Standard Athletic Club at Belmont (by 20 years), but then had to deal with the intemperance of youth, as the young guns in the upper order misfired badly. Jonathan Neame, elder statesman at the on-strikers end, watched an accelerating procession of the ‘yoof’ depart the crease, failing to cope with the green top, and leaving the Stragglers in disarray at 25 for 4. Fortunately Finn Hulbert (82) stopped the rot, and with Jonathan (35), restored order for a while. However, with both Jonathan and Finn falling to straight ones, the Stragglers were still well behind the pace at 148 for 7 and then 161 for 9. When the Chairman joined Matt at the wicket, urgent preparations were being made for an early tea. However, a May spent watching the IPL proved invaluable, as, much to the surprise of SAC, watching Stragglers and not least the protagonist himself, the last wicket added 45 in a flurry of on drives and a scoop to fine leg. 206 represented a challenging target on a damp wicket.

The short sighted in the crowd might have been forgiven the thought that the Stragglers had employed the South African opening attack of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, as Finn and Ed Prest ripped into the SAC upper order. Finn was kept at bay but conceded almost nothing; Ed was almost as mean, and plucked out the openers, one held by a startled Jonathan at second slip. Jonathan Riches remained a potent threat, and his catch at the wicket off a no ball might have proved costly. However, Eliot Forster sneaked one through the defences of James Grant, and the screw was duly tightened further. No longer chasing a win, SAC and Jonathan dug in; Finn was recalled but was unable to repeat the final ball heroics of 2013. Theo, bowling the final over, removed Jonathan with 2 balls and 2 wickets remaining. Impossible? No, but unlikely, and so it proved, as Robin Groom managed to keep him out and salvage a draw.