Result Summary


The 2015 season proved to be one of endless frustration, as too many enthusiastic Straggler teams were denied the chance of glory by a combination of some very unkind weather, and both early and late season cancellations. In almost every game we had XI players, and occasionally some more on stand-by. In 68 years there has only been one season with fewer fixtures played – 8 in 2007, a really wet summer, against the 9 in 2015. By the end of July only 6 games played of 12 in the card, and so it continued with rain regularly falling on match days following a week of sunshine, and some disappointing opposition cancellations. The big disappointment, of course, is for those irregulars, who we see only a few times a season, and who have not had a chance to shine in 2015.

And there was a lot of shining on the field in 2015, when the Stragglers did make it to the middle, with the quality of the cricket of the highest order, as some of the more obscure stats will reveal. The Stragglers have never taken so many wickets per game played, nearly always bowling the opposition out. Of the 25 bowlers who took a wicket, 21 averaged less than 20! The averages read like a list from the ‘50s. And at nearly 4.7 catches per game, the bowlers have never been so well supported – only once previously have Straggler fielders held on to more than 4 catches per game, and usually the success rate languished at fewer than 3.

In the late summer the Club bade farewell to Chris Garfit, who played regularly from 1970 to 1981, scoring 807 runs in 79 innings for the Stragglers. His bowling was less frequent than occasional, managing just 2 overs and 5 balls to take 1 for 10. Chris took 16 outfield catches, and 6 behind the stumps along with a brace of stumpings.

2015 has generated rather fewer statistics than in the recent past, inevitable with so few games played. Finn Hulbert tops both batting and bowling averages, only the 8th time that both awards have gone to one Straggler; and Finn has now completed enough innings to enter the career averages list – at number 10 with an average of 40.40. Jasper has moved up to 6th in the list, averaging 44.85.

Ben Bowles now tops the “also batted” list with an average of 126, albeit from only 3 innings. Justin Hubbard has taken his career average up to 54.25, and now just needs a couple more completed innings to join the all time list.

As noted in the introductory paragraphs, Straggler bowlers were rampant in 2015, with an extraordinary list of success. Among the highlights, Jasper became the 39th Straggler to take 50 wickets for the Club. At the other end of the career list is Alastair Gordon, who, in dismissing son Joe, took his 349th wicket, only denied number 350 by some curmudgeonly umpiring.

In spite of the cohort of terracotta warriors in the field, Straggler fielding was electric. Jack Taylor and Hugo Snape each took 6 catches, most of which were in the slips. Slip catches are almost unheard of in Straggler annals, any sort of thick edge usually being among the safest of shots. And there were plenty of other exceptional catches, among them some of the contenders for Champagne moment.

With only 9 games played, there are fewer contenders for the Champagne moment (or moments) of 2015:

Hugo’s extraordinary slip-catch at Wellesley, plucking a deliberate shot over the cordon from the air, much to the bewilderment of the batsman; Tim Martin’s commitment to the cause at Thriplow, returning to the fray after a visit to hospital to have stiches across the bridge of his nose to staunch the flow of blood; Charlie McLeod’s exceptional leg side catch at Provender; Finn’s wonderful one-handed catch to remove Ben at Belmont; the Gordons keeping dismissals in the family, also at Belmont; and Hugo’s dismissal of Toby first ball in the same game.

Champagne Moment

After a long discussion about a number of really exceptional catches and other memorable moments during the 2015 season, the 2015 Champagne Moment(s) are awarded jointly to Alastair and Joe Gordon for their reciprocal wicket taking in the Fixture Secretary’s XI fixture at Belmont. Seeing Alastair run in and drop the ball on a length took some of the crowd, misty eyed at the recollection, back 45 years; and with Joe the third generation Gordon to play Straggler cricket, we have the youngest member of the Kent Cricket Academy. To have father and son dismiss each other was beyond the scriptwriters imaginings.