Southern Hemisphere Owls

240/3 (dec) - 188/9
Full Time
Match Drawn

Match Report

It seemed apposite that, on the day that the Lions were held to a draw in Auckland, the Stragglers took on and, eventually also drew with the touring Southern Hemisphere OWLS (Older, Wiser, Larger, Stiffer). The Stragglers were invited to bat, and opened with Jonathan Neame and kiwi debutant, Mitch Croft. A steady, half-century opening partnership was given a boost, when Jasper replaced Jonathan (16), and, although Jasper was eventually out-scored by Mitch (102*) on this occasion, we were treated to another instalment of the “Jasper batting show 2017”. Falling just shy of his century on this occasion with 92, Jasper has already scored more runs in a season than any previous Straggler batsman (Toby Cox with 580 in 2000 was the most), and it is still only early July; Jasper now stands on 625 runs at an average of 89. He has scored three centuries this season, and participated in record stands for the 4th and 6th wickets. Having only put on 161 for the second wicket with Mitch, and with some time pressures for OWLS departure, it was all in the declaration, which came on 240 for 3, leaving the OWLS around 35 overs to chase them down.

The OWLS may be getting on a bit, average age approaching 60, and with one member recently called up to the England over-70 squad, but they make up for occasional lack of mobility with years of experience, and an ability to hit the ball along the ground, a skill now lost to most young cricketers. And all the time their opening pair were hitting the chairman along the ground to the boundary, it looked like a stroll in the park. However, the introduction of Graeme Tyndall, appearing between exotic holidays, made the difference. The OWLS were playing ‘retire at 50 and come back, if required’ to give all their batters a chance to shine. And shining they were, with 141 on the board without loss, and the openers putting their feet up in the pavilion. Alex Reese secured an LBW, and then Graeme struck – a fine edge behind, a miraculous (champagne moment?) catch on the boundary by Ben Simpson, another bowled, and then support from the other end, as Wills Falcon and Attwood weighed in. The OWLS were now 182 for 7 with 6 overs left. Graeme now plucked a one-handed diving catch at short extra (another champagne candidate?), but this just brought back a refreshed opener, who was not going to do anything rash. With the draw secured, Graeme had the final word, with his 5th wicket on the final ball (5 for 18), to leave the score at 188 for 9, looking much closer to a Straggler victory than the reality.