The Stragglers were delighted to welcome Tarbarrow to Highland Court for a return fixture on a bright and blustery afternoon, with the wind blowing straight down the North Sea and then down the strip. Some of the Tarbarrow players, comfortable with finding cricket grounds in west country forests, were confused by the orchards surrounding the ground, and went in for a little off-roading through the apples. Unusually for 2019, the Stragglers were invited to field first. Nige, one of the founding warriors of the Terracotta Army, was playing his first game for a while, dominating the leg side protection, and letting little past. Behind the stumps, “juggling George” held a fiercely lifting ball from Toby, which the opener could not avoid, on the second or third attempt. Later in the innings, George palmed one through to Jasper at slip, before taking a sharp inside edge cleanly. With Toby (1 for 10) and Hugo (1 for 24) giving nothing away, each talking a wicket, and then Hugo managing to trim a finger nail to flick a drive on to the stumps to remove the non-striker backing up (who had scored 90 in 2018), Tarbarrow were on the back foot at 23 for 3. It did not get any easier, as Harry Wright, making a very welcome return to Straggler cricket, and Theo sustained the pressure, Harry ending his spell with figures of 3 for 7 from seven overs. Tarbarrow had crept to 82 for 6 from 26 overs, in spite of bowlers struggling with the wind, an electric outfield, and a couple of catches going to ground; runs were hard to come by. Henry Carr took full advantage of the life offered with a drop, and found the Chairman to his liking, moving to his half century before being undone by a sharp Simpson yorker (Ben having shaved a dozen yards from his run-up mid-over). The declaration came at 183 for 6 from 43 overs.
Straggler openers Jasper and George had got to September each averaging over 75 and keen to secure the batting award. George did not do his chances any good, when he waved one through to hit the top of off (Henry Wright failed to play an identical shot a couple of overs later). Jasper (23) looked more comfortable, crunching a handful of boundaries through the field, although he was offered a number of reprieves as he offered the slips plenty of practice. However, he was undone with one that rolled back on his stumps – now both were averaging under 70 and letting Will Hilton into the frame. Ben (38) and Theo (19) found the boundary with confidence and power, but were gone with the score only on 109 for 5. It was left to Harry Wright (55*) and Toby “the finisher” Snape (36*) to see the Stragglers home with four overs to spare, both playing shots of real class. It should be noted that it has taken the Stragglers to September to chase down a total. And thank you to Hugo, Nige and Ange for hosting the teams to a BBQ lamb at Hockley Sole after the game.
|St Lawrence & Highland Court|