The Straggler season did not start well in 2022, and that was before a ball had been bowled. The first person to step onto the field of play was Benny Smallwood, unashamedly donning a pair of black ‘Nike Airmax’, footwear The Head at Tonbridge had never been subjected to previously. The Straggs were back, in appropriate cricket footwear and all. Prior to this, however, another ‘Straggs’ moment occurred, when Toby (Captain for the day) tried to negotiate (some might have perceived it as arguing) with the umpires for a relaxation on the leg side wide rules for limited over games. It appears he is yet to recover from his 11 ball over at Hurlingham. Tonbridge won the toss and chose to field with Angus Balfour and Nick Wright opening up for the Stragglers. Despite some tidy spells, Tonbridge looked as if they had taken part in and benefitted from some early season nets; they appeared rather settled at the crease. Thankfully however the Straggs came armed with 4 spinners, of which fittingly in tribute to the late Shane Warne, 3 were leg spinners. James Meddings bowled a fantastic spell to finish with 4 for 47, managing, almost single-handedly, to reduce Tonbridge to 110 for 5. However, in spite the collapse, Tonbridge managed to set a reasonable total of 227 all out just short of their 45 overs. The Stragglers tucked into lunch thinking the majority of their work had bene done.
How wrong they were. The Straggler batting was woeful (and that is being quite positive). A monumental early order collapse, with 4 wickets falling between overs 11 and 14, resulted in the Stragglers achieving the 12th largest losing margin (139) in 75 years. Will Fenwick, looking to defend his batting award, scored a respectable 21 but gave up too soon. James Meddings followed up on his fantastic bowling performance to top score with a monumental 23. Only one other batter got to double figures, with the early collapse matched neatly with another from 81 for 5 to 88 all out. If we are to take one positive from this batting performance, it would be that the only way is up….