In 1789 King George III despatched a cricket touring party to enhance cross channel goodwill and improve social relations in France, then teetering on the edge of revolution under Louis XVI. They never made it beyond Dover, as they were met there by His Majesty’s Ambassador to the Court at Versailles, the Duke of Dorset, retreating in haste from the bloodshed of Paris and the horrors of the revolution. Or so he said, as he was really on his way to play cricket at Barham. The tourists, wisely, decided to return home, and the French took the blame for the first cancellation of an international fixture.
The French revolutions on Sunday at Bishopsbourne were provided by the spin of Jonathan Riches, revelling in the grip afforded by grass, as opposed to Parisian astro-turf. Coming on after the Master Brewer had appealed himself hoarse in a long opening spell, Jonathan immediately enticed a false shot. Supported by some exceptional boundary catching by Jamie Lavers, James Grant and the said Brewer, and a stunnng return catch held in the midriff, Jonathan went on to take 7 for 25 in a 10 over spell. The only respite for Bishopsbourne was a one over spell of left arm spin from Hugo Snape (unable to run in or bowl with the right), which did not hold up victory for long.
In setting the target earlier in the afternoon, Nigel Snape was one of four batsemen who fell just short of half centuries, but, on his way to 37, he completed his 5,000th run for the Stragglers.