Matches

Standard Athletic Club

229/all out - 109/8
Full Time
Match Drawn

Match Report

The season finally stuttered into life at an overcast Belmont after 3 early season cancellations. Standard Athletic Club, arriving fresh from some big runs at Torry Hill, were confident in the chase, and inserted the Stragglers. Such confidence was immediately justified as Les Clack weaved his magic, fooled Bertie Berger and Bart Forster, and had the Stragglers at 6 for 2. At the other end Theo (34) was making easier work of the gentle pace until he too was undone by Les (although there was some chuntering about the Eliot school of umpiring). Much now rested on the shoulders of Ben Bowles, returning for his second Straggler match, and skipper Jasper. A sense of order was restored, with Ben dealing comfortably with the change bowlers and steadily accumulating. Jasper (35) was just getting his range, keeping James Grant fully occupied on the mid wicket boundary, when he pulled a short ball hard to square leg. Robin Groom took off to grab a remarkable catch; the Stragglers were again on the back foot at 113 for 4. Now supported by Kit Dixon Smith (25), Ben moved through the gears, treating one over from SAC skipper with considerable brutality, taking 22 to reach a very classy century. Just when a really big target looked on the cards (and SAC had nearly chased 280 the day before) Ben waltzed down the track to final change bowler, Robin Groom, to be bowled for 109. Under instruction to hit out, the Straggler tail folded meekly, leaving Robin with figures of 4 for 16, and 229 looked merely par.

Ed Prest took a ball or two to turn his radar on, but then combined with Eliot to exert a real squeeze on the openers; runs were going to be hard to come by. Ed was rewarded with a catch at point. The SAC big guns were then swiftly silenced, James Grant run out at the non-strikers end by Eliot’s deflection (always a disappointing way to be dismissed); Jon Riches was snaffled at short mid-wicket off the Chairman; and the hard hitting Ratta, who had done so much damage in Paris in September, bowled by Henry Forster. When Chris Brown top edged a catch to deep gully, the SAC were under the cosh at 58 for 5 in the 20th over, still a lot to do. Anchor was duly dropped in what had become stygian gloom. In almost total darkness, appeals for the light were ignored, but Jasper was unable to unleash his pacemen. Bertie and Benny wheeled with guile but without success; and it was Kit Dixon Smith, who managed to induce a rush of blood, as Tim Madden, who had witnessed carnage at the other end for the whole of the SAC innings, sashayed down the track to be smartly stumped by Theo. The drizzle stopped, the light lifted, and suddenly a game, which had been drifting to a grimly fought draw, was wrenched back into life as Henry returned to demonstrate the value of “full and straight” to take 2 in 2 – 105 for 8, 10 balls left, and in with a sniff. Bart’s final over was hard and fast, but was unable to unsettle Alistair, and SAC held on for the draw.