Tour to Oporto

108/All out - 109/8
Full Time
Won by one wicket

Match Report

Stragglers emerged from a late-night flight to Porto and an even later night on the town, to find themselves in the glorious setting of the Oporto Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club. An early warm up swim at the beach lacked immediate access to the sea, as the coastal fog rolled in, and lifeguards were keen to prevent Straggs swimming to the Azores. Back at the Club there was leisurely preparation for the warm-up T20, with numbers made up by three of the club regulars, two of whom were called Junaid (J Khan and JB). Jasper and Ben opened the batting for the ‘FS XI’, bristling with intent.  Ben almost immediately launched Seb L into the tennis courts, one of what was assumed would be many sixes. However, as so often seems to be the case, the ‘retire at 30 and come back later’ rule interferes with a batsman’s sense of perspective, and only one reached 30 in the whole afternoon, retired and returned. And it was neither Ben, who chipped the ball to Junaid Kahn for 16, nor Jasper (18), caught somewhat miraculously by Nick Wright, one handed on the boundary after the ball had passed over his head. Benny (17) digging in, was joined by another first-time tourist, Jonno Ross. The opening bowlers, Nick W and Seb, had been replaced by Charlie M (pace off) and Junaid K (pace very much on), and Jonno now began a personal tussle with JK, a regular in the Portuguese national side, and which would continue over both innings. Jonno faced an over of extreme pace, the first ball flying over his head, the second closer to his chin, the next edged through a leaky cordon to the boundary, and the final balls blocked with great aplomb; cricket wasn’t that hard. However, Jonno, satisfied with seeing off an international bowler, had underestimated the guile of Patch ‘the finisher’ Clews, who replaced JK and bowled Jonno with his first ball. The innings never really recovered, as Munton, Tribe (new tourist) and Clews kept taking wickets, and the innings subsided to a very modest 108 without using all the overs (unforgiveable in a limited overs game), as Patch M found a fine edge to have Toby caught behind.

As with the first innings, the openers for the ‘B’ team came out firing hard, Tom Tribe (15) to the fore. However, having smacked Toby for three smart boundaries, he went down the trick shot route and lobbed the ball gently to Benny behind the wicket. The third Oporto player, Gunawardena, fell to Ben’s trap, hitting the ball straight to deep cover, where Ben had very obviously just posted Nick Wright. Charlie (25) was unkind to the Chairman briefly, but then left his leg stump exposed. At the other end, George was batting with typical circumspection, while the innings began to disintegrate around him. Jonno re-joined battle with JK, to see his third ball launched towards the club house, only to find a flying Jasper underneath, taking on some nasty grass burns with the slide.  Stability of sorts was restored by Patch M (16), but just as victory was approaching, the ‘30 and retire’ rule kicked in to remove George temporarily.  JB (3 for 12) now produced a spell, which looked as if it might cause a surprise, sending Al, Patch C and then Patch M back to the pavilion in short order.  George had barely sat down before he was out in the middle again. Everything now rested on Seb keeping George on strike and keeping JB at bay; this he achieved and George (38*) duly struck the winning runs to avoid an upset with victory by one wicket. Looking at the score card in the bar an in the cold light of day, the Straggs had failed to use the full allocation of overs and lost 16 wickets for a modest 217 runs. Catching could not be faulted (as long as we ignore the hologram of Patch C).  Bowlers enjoyed the matting wicket, but the batsmen clearly had work to do. Another night on the town was the obvious solution to sharpen focus for the important fixture on following morning!  Twenty-nine bottles of wine at dinner was a good start.


Oporto Cricket & Lawn Tennis Club
Rua do Campo Alegre 532, 4150-170 Porto, Portugal