Matches

Standard Athletic Club

262/2 dec - 86/all out
Full Time
Won by 176 runs

Match Report

The Stragglers of 2019 seem unable to chase a target, but given the chance to pile on runs, the attack is up to the task or running through the opposition.  For the third time in the season, a big Straggler score proved very defendable, with a substantial margin of victory and a record partnership for the first wicket.  The May bank holiday fixture with Standard Athletic Club Paris is of significance to both Clubs, played in memory of Toby and Jimmy Cox, and we were delighted to be joined by Libby and Andrew.

Winning the toss, Jasper sent George and Benny in to build a platform, and some platform it turned out to be.  While Benny batted with Boycottian insouciance, unperturbed by the pace of the ball or the state of the match, and barely breaking into a trot between the wickets, George survived his nemesis ball (first ball of the match) and cruised to another big century (140 when finally caught in the 34th over – the 9th highest score by a Straggler and his 5th).  Together they put on a commanding 221 for the first wicket, and in doing so passed the previous best of 207, dating from 1957 held by the founder, Wyndham Fletcher and JLA Barnes.  This now means that 5 partnership records involve a Smallwood once again (1st (Benny), 4th (Jasper and Al), 6th (Jasper), 8th and 10th (both Paul).  The 7th wicket best had involved Matt for a decade or so, but he gave up that crown in 2018. Benny continued to bat as if it were a timeless test, ending undefeated on 73, while the Master Brewer busied himself at the other end for 27. The declaration at 262 for 2 when Jonty was out, looked more than enough.

Stragglers are currently blessed with a superfluity of keepers, but when one has retired to become a leg-spinner (Al) and two more have been at the crease for two and a half hours, the fourth choice keeper (Jasper) was obliged to don the gloves – and then proceeded to pick up 5 victims. However, it didn’t look so positive after the first couple of balls of the SAC innings.  Ed has had a few radar issues in the past, and today his first ball sailed over batsman and keeper, only bouncing a couple of times before being collected by Hugo running round from fine leg.  It was almost certainly picked up by the Manston radar as a drone risk.  Having wound down his gun sight by 45 degrees, Ed then produced the magic ball, unplayable length and perfect movement off the seam to clip the top of off to send back a key SAC batter.  Hugo then pitched in, struggling a little with the uphill run-up, he bowled just short enough to have the batsman waving at the ball at head height – edged through to Jasper.  In his following over, Hugo encouraged SAC skipper, Alastair Thomas to pull, which was miscued to Nick W at mid-wicket.  Ed then followed up with two more jaffas catching edges through to Jasper.  At 16 for 5 in the 5th over, the contest was over; time for some typical SAC lower order attritional batting.  With the exception of a sparkling 48 from Sahil Lohda, the inspirational use of a varied bowling attack by Jasper never really opened the door for resistance.  Stan Weir, great nephew of Straggler veteran John Burley, was making his debut as a batsman; the opening partnership had prevented Stan getting to the wicket, but now he was given a chance to run in at the wilting SAC middle order.  With a run-up a mass of whirling arms and legs, reminiscent of a young Bob Willis, Stan did what all good Straggler debutants are supposed to do – took a wicket in his first over. At the other end Nick Wright was taking the brunt of Sahil’s square and late cuts through a very porous ring, but produced the prefect yorker to remove his partner.  It must be said that substance to the ring was provided by the Stragglers very own Paul Collingwood (Matt, who stood in to allow the opening batters time on the boundary with their feet up).  Al then bowled a “Gatting” ball, pitching it a foot outside leg and clipping the top of off, with the batsman having left what he assumed was almost a leg-side wide.  Brief last wicket resistance was brought to an end by another well-flighted ball from Al, and SAC were gone for 86, a Straggler victory by 176 runs (the 4th largest margin when batting first).

Ground

Belmont