218/8 (dec) - 219/6
Full Time
Lost by by 4 wickets

Match Report

A late cancellation by Benenden put the bank holiday weekend cricket at risk, but Smarden stepped into the breach, and the Stragglers arrived full of confidence after a run of victories. However, on this occasion the display of catching was woeful, and winning is hard if almost every chance on offer ends up on the grass. A wicket with variable bounce was unwilling to give up easy runs, and required a degree of application. Straggler openers, Archie Hammond and Jack Taylor, came and went, and were followed by a steady stream of batsmen, who had failed to make a mark. The exceptions were James Grant (50) and Will Fenwick (79), who dug in the build something of a defendable score. When Matt declared after a brief cameo in tandem with Benny, the score had ground on to 218 for 8 from 52 overs.

When Dan Pritchard induced an edge in the first over, held smartly at slip by Simon Schilder (in his first outing since 2003), all seemed well. Two more wickets fell in quick succession with the score on 41 (another edge from Dan and a wicket for Jack). However, from then on the ball seemed to be made of soap, and Straggler fielders looked as if they were unable to catch a bus. Benny, awarded his Straggler tie and elevated to full membership of the Club during the tea interval in recognition of his performance at Hollingbourne, was the bowler most aggrieved, and could easily have had at least four more to add to his solitary success (a second catch by Simon – diving one handed at slip, which is not a phrase often seen in Straggler match reports). The Smarden batsmen took full advantage of Straggler generosity, with number 4 going on to an undefeated 120. In the end, the timing of the declaration proved inspirational, as the winning run only came with a frenetic single from the penultimate ball of the match, and 48th of the innings, 219 for 6 sufficient.