For a second consecutive summer the Stragglers are undefeated into July. However, not playing many matches tends to remove opportunities for defeat!! In spite of two rain interruptions at Belmont against The Turks, a second match was finally completed – in a very tight draw. Electing to bat (or obliging the Turks to field in the rain) openers Theo Allport and Jasper Smallwood clearly imagined that it would be called off at any moment, and set about plundering the attack at will. When they both fell in the 8th over, with the score on 52, rain still seemed to be the likely victor. Perseverance, however, paid off, and the gathering crowd (now into 2 figures) were entertained by a partnership of 170 between the elegance and old school style of Giles Brealy (69) and some quite murderous clubbing from Al Smallwood (90). Declaration for a late tea (with most of the cake already consumed in the rain breaks) at 225 for 4, left a challenging and very gettable target. The new ‘cover’ had proved its worth, keeping most of the rain off what was proving to be a belting track.
The Turks were up with the pace from the off., with most of the damage being done by Tom Spurling, who saw off a number of Straggler bowlers with a total lack of respect. At 135 for 2, of which Tom had a modest 104, in the 17th over and another 13 in prospect, a Turkish victory was very much on the cards. However, an inspirational bowling change by skipper Stabb, saw the Allports combine to lure Tom down the track and have him smartly stumped. The momentum flagged and Simon tormented the lower order. The final overs were nail biting stuff as runs continued and wickets fell, the target just kept in sight. However, the ninth wicket fell with the first ball of the final over and in strode seven year old debutant, Luke Beaumont, who, in spite of an ill-fitting helmet and a ring of close fielders, managed to keep 4 balls out and dink one behind the keeper. Closing on 205 for 9, the Turks had done well in the end to salvage a draw in a game that had seen 430 runs in 57 overs, with advantage swinging back and forth. And in the final over Simon managed to sneak in with 5 for 38.