2010 generated enough statistics to send the most enthusiastic ‘stato’ delirious, some of which appear on the previous blog. Three early games were lost to the weather or unenthusiastic opposition, but from mid-June the Club enjoyed an exceptional run. The weather remained fair, many fixtures were over-subscribed, most sides victorious, and we even managed an inter-Straggler fixture at Belmont, when much of the county disappeared in a monsoon. The next generation of Stragglers came strongly to the fore, with centuries from Theo Allport and Jasper Smallwood, and hat-tricks from Theo and Toby Russell Vick, and many other performances of note. Fifteen players made their Straggler debuts, many playing in a number of fixtures. Rarely have Match Managers been so well served with ability, enthusiasm, and such regular availability, as can be seen in the averages with more batsmen and bowlers completing the requisite innings or overs than of late.
The batting, occasionally porous in recent years, produced 5 centurions – Theo and Jasper, James Grant, Patrick Mitchell and Jonathan Neame. There were a number of serious contenders for the batting award, which went to the wire, and won spectacularly by Jonathan with his unbeaten century at Hollingbourne.
The bowling on the whole lacked ferocious pace, but kept the opposition guessing, and for the first time in 5 seasons, there were more than 2 contenders for the award. Honourable mentions go to Barney Taylor, Jonathan Riches and many others who returned excellent figures, and of course, Jonathan Neame again, with the best season’s bowling figures for more than 30 years.
Fielding and catching, never points of Straggler excellence, were much improved, with memorable catches at Bishopsbourne (James Grant), Belmont (Jake Ward) and Elham (James Prest).
As well as a century and hat-trick before the end of May, Theo established himself as a very accomplished keeper, standing up to most, and always in control.