Playing the final Belmont game of 2011 against Wickham & Stodmarsh, we were on the western edge of the square, many yards from the early season roads that had seen successful chases of over 200. Here was a track offering bounce and turn, and, with a few honourable exceptions, the Straggler batsmen did not cope well. Max Linington, for the second game in succession, held the middle order together for a fine 59. Charlie Munton holed out early for a swift 38, but wickets tumbled around Max, as he remained calm and controlled almost to the last. A final flurry from Jamie Lavers (19) and Archie Hammond (23) took the score to an apparently tame 175, and an early tea.
The W&S openers, who had all the time in the world, seemed in a desperate hurry to be elsewhere, treating the opening attack (Barney Taylor and Jamie) with brutal disdain, reaching 60 in 8 overs. Spin proved their downfall as, first Charlie and then Alex Denoon Duncan, stopped the flow and then induced the errors. 65 without loss became 69 for 3, and then 100 for 6, the last of these being psyched out by the Chairman fielding under the nose of Geordie Hayward (fresh from his 5 Straggler wickets and looking for runs), who scooped a long hop over the close catchers and straight down Archie’s throat. Archie then took full advantage of Nelson, taking 4 for 0, three with the score on 111!. After the flashing start, W&S succumbed in the face of some excellent spin bowling.