The visit of the Parisians of Standard Athletic Club to Belmont in May has become an early season highlight, a match played in memory of Toby Cox for the ‘Toby Jug Trophy’. As ever the match was played in the finest spirit of the game, and, on a glorious afternoon, went to the final ball to separate the sides. Inserted by SAC, the Straggler opening pair of Andrew Cox and Will Hilton were circumspect in addressing the wiles of Les Clack, and were just beginning to up the pace, when Les removed Will. Finn Hulbert joined Andrew for a brisk 86 run partnership, which included, for Andrew, an unexpected number of threes, which encouraged him to look for a more direct route. However, the introduction of Jonathan Riches, who tore through the middle order in an over, reduced the Stragglers to 150 for 5. The restoration of calm was required, and Andrew delivered, reaching what was, by his standards, a steady and resolute century. All out for 199, the Stragglers had not posted the imposing total expected of such a talented line up, Jonathan had taken 7 for 46, and SAC were in the hunt.
The Straggler opening burst from Eliot Forster and Finn, immediately put SAC behind the pace, with a miserly 19 runs coming from the first 13 overs, but without a wicket falling. Gradually the pace quickened, and with Russell and Tapp coming on at first change both claiming scalps, the gauntlet was thrown down by Jonathan Riches and James Grant. 86 for 4 became 126 in quick time; the pressure was on. Bart Forster chipped in with an acrobatic catch, and then had James caught on the boundary. The target was still within reach, and Jonathan had a hard running partner. Singles were becoming twos. However, taking on the arm of Will Hilton proved their undoing, and another wicket fell. Two overs left; 167 for 7 and Jonathan still depositing the Chairman back over his head for very long sixes. A slight miscue and Jonathan was gone, held by Finn, heels hard by the rope. Now all Finn had to do was clean up the final pair in the final over. Ball four and the perfect yorker rattled the base of the stumps. An appeal audible in Faversham when the final ball crunched into the toe of the already bruised number 11, and Barry’s finger slowly raised. Remarkable victory, which had been slipping away.
|Standard Athletic Club|