221/all out - 161/all out
Full Time
Won by 60 runs

Match Report

The final fixture of a cricket season is often full of opportunity for those chasing records, and the game at Stowting certainly had plenty of those. It is also a mix of sadness as another season draws to a close, but full of happy shared memories of great moments of cricketing glory and despair from the summer ending – and all with a lively commentary. This year the game had added poignancy, as the Straggler XI stood at the wicket for a minute’s silence before the game in memory of Peter, Club President, who had passed away during the week. Peter made his Straggler debut at Stowting some 48 years previously. Senior members of the Stowting team also had fond memories of Alastair Gordon, and were delighted to hear that Joe was playing.

The main target of the day for the Straggler batters, was for Jasper to become the first Straggler to reach 1,000 runs in a season. This he duly did, hitting the 30th ball of the day to the boundary to reach the 19 required. Jasper went on the completely dominate the innings, as his first four partners managed 5 between them (and two of them did a “Hugo”, shouldering arms to be bowled), and yet the score had still reached 81 for 4 in the 20th over. The Stowting opening bowlers had kept it very tight, and, for a while it looked as if we would struggle to post a score. Fortunately, Jasper was now joined by Al (21) and Jonathan (23), who shared the load for a while, and scoring moved up a gear, Al hitting consecutive monster sixes over the pavilion. Jasper seemed to be playing on a different track, moved past 100, the first Straggler to score 4 centuries in a season, and was finally dismissed for 151, an almost chanceless innings, to bring a wonderful season with the bat to a close. The innings lasted for two more balls, all out for 221. Jasper had scored more than 68% of the total score, and extras were fourth highest contributor with 9; the less said about most of the other batters, the better. When the score passed 118, the Stragglers had scored 4,000 runs from the bat in a season for the first time in 70 years (4,094 at the end), beating the previous best of 3,781 set in 1996.

There were a number of targets and milestones for Stragglers in the field, some more likely to be achieved than others. Seb Leggett opened the bowling with a wonderful spell, the bat relentlessly beaten, but Seb seems to be falling into the Toby Snape/Nick Wright school of bowling – bowl like the wind with wonderful control, and watch others pick up wickets. At the other end, Will Sackett found his line, and induced a slice to cover to secure his debut Straggler wicket – one target achieved. The Chairman came on at first change, and collected two to draw level with Paul Smallwood on 298 career wickets – another tick. However, he then took a bit of punishment, as Stowting upped the rate and took the chase seriously. At the other end, the Master Brewer, fresh from an unlikely hat-trick playing for the Lords Taverners, had talked himself on, much to the surprise of the rest of the team, and managed to persuade a batter to give up his wicket, caught at point (the catch was the last of the season, 65 in total, one short of the out-field record set in 1982). However, Jonathan has “yipped out” twice in his Straggler career, most recently at Hollingbourne, when he relied on the generosity (blindness even) of an umpire, to bring an over to a close. In his fourth over, the wheels came off again, and the score sheet is a blur of wides, no balls and other misdemeanours. In spite of bowling one ball, which very nearly reached the boundary on the full behind the keeper, he very nearly took another wicket, as a hard hit to mid-on was put down. At 123 for 4, and with 16 overs left, the runs were flowing, and bowling options appeared thin. But, as has often seemed the case in 2017, there was a Straggler ready to step up, and now Joe Gordon bowled the spell of the season. Almost unplayable he tore through the Stowting middle and lower order, with figures of 5 for 9 in five overs, to bring the game to a rapid conclusion – 161 all out. Al picked up two more catches behind the stumps, one with some serious juggling skills involved, and extended the record for keeper dismissals, set earlier in the season, to 22, including a new record of 16 keeper catches in a season.


Stowting Hill, Stowting, Ashford TN25 6BE, UK