Once more a Straggler season faced the loss of a current Straggler, with the very sad passing of Roger Berkeley in February. Roger was a batsman of grace and style, and achieved an unusual double of scoring centuries at Wellesley House both for and against the Stragglers. He has been greatly missed.
The 2011 season built on the successes of 2010, and for the first half of the season, the Stragglers carried all before them, winning eight of the first nine matches, only denied a tie at Provender by a last ball no-ball, and only dismissed for the first time in August. No target was out of reach, and no batting line up impenetrable. Ten victories in the season is the most since 1990, and 6 consecutive successes and 9 undefeated was the best start to a season since 1952. Three of the highest successful chases were made, with scores in excess of 230 chased down, being the 9th, 12th and 15th highest on record.
The batting strength is amply demonstrated by the 3,495 runs scored from the bat, only once bettered previously, in 1996. Five centuries were scored, 2 by Charlie Munton and a remarkable first for the Stragglers as father and son, Chris and Harry Pattinson each scored a ton in the same season. Jasper Smallwood prospered mightily with the bat, and would have topped the averages in any other season.
The bowling lacked the consistency of the batting, rather over reliant on the ageing and increasingly portly third change pair of the Chairman and Simon Allport. Outfield catching was exceptional for a second successive season, with any number of memorable moments, and only really failing twice at Benenden and Provender. Simon’s 12 for the season equalled the best, and the total of 64 has only been exceeded once in 1982. Once again the Stragglers were blessed with a superfluity of able keepers, with Blair Hart, Theo Allport and Al Smallwood to the fore.
Straggler Milestones and Other Stats
2011 has generated another flush of records, firsts and other achievements, indicative of the high level of support and good quality cricket. Ten victories are the most since 1990, and has only been bettered three times (1952, 1982 and 1990), and being undefeated until the end of July, with 8 victories) is the best start to a season, also since 1952. In the field 64 catches were taken, the second highest total, only out done by the 66 in 1982. Of these, Simon Allport, took 12, equalling Andrew Cox’s record of 1999.
Three Straggler batsmen passed 1,000 career runs in 2011; Chris Pattinson at Elham, Hamish Morrison at Wellesley House, and Simon Allport at Bishopsbourne. Charlie Munton topped the averages with the third highest season’s average and the fifth highest season’s aggregate; Jasper Smallwood deserves an honourable mention as the ninth highest average at 64.20. This is the first season in which the two leading batsmen have averaged over 60. In any other season Jasper would have led the field. It is also the first time that centuries have been scored by father and son in the same season, Chris & Harry Pattinson.
Simon Allport became the 17th Straggler to claim his one hundredth wicket at Belmont against The Grannies, and becomes only the second Straggler to achieve the double in the same season (the other being RSG Wood in 1972), and only the eleventh ever. Mark Baker White (at Belmont) and Nick Tapp (at Wellesley House) took their tally past 150 victims.
As ever there are a number of contenders for the Champagne moment (or moments) of 2011, including a couple of umpiring decisions of note! Among the more memorable are Mark Baker White’s first ball at Wellesley House (double bounce and then nearly having his head removed by the return shot), the Chairman’s croquet fielding at Torry Hill, Toby Snape’s triggering of Mark at Belmont, Charlie Munton’s remarkable direct hit for a run out at Provender, Archie Hammond’s 4 for 0 against Wickham & Stodmarsh, Bertie Berger’s catch over his shoulder at Otterden, and any number of moments at Hollingbourne – the President triggering the Master Brewer, Al ‘Dilshan’ Smallwood’s final shot of the season, and Jonathan retrieving the ball (again) from the field behind long on.
However, the award for the 2011 Champagne Moment goes to Toby Snape for his courageous umpiring under fire in the Fixture Secretary’s match against the Stragglers.