Chairman's Blog

CJ (John) Burley was a larger than life member of the Club from the mid-‘60s.  He made his debut for the Stragglers in June 1965 with a brief innings against the West Kent Countrymen, and for the next eight seasons was a stalwart of the Club, turning out in at least ten games in each season.  Regularly mentioned in the season summaries as providing ‘good support’ and being ‘consistent’, John scored three half-centuries (66 against Brookland in a rain-affected match in 1966; 63 in 1967 when opening the innings at Milstead, a village club with whom John had a long relationship; and 52 against Sheldwich in 1969).  John scored 1208 runs in 81 innings at an average of 16.78 in his Straggler career, 41st in the all-time run scoring list.

John finished third in the batting averages four times in those eight seasons, the best result being an average of 24 in 1969.  His final full season with the Stragglers in 1972 found him at third place once more.  Following his move to the Channel Islands, he only made a handful of additional appearances, with the final game in 1985, in which he failed to trouble the scorer.

John was also successful with the ball, often as a support act to two of the most successful Straggler bowlers of all time, Peter Canney and Rodney Fletcher, as well as the current President.  In his first Straggler season, John took 7 for 134, and the following five seasons followed a similar pattern (with a notable 2 for 5 at Etchinghill in 1969).  However, in 1971 John dominated the bowling in what proved to be a wonderful season.  He took 7 for 36 at Nonington in a game which the Stragglers lost by one run, 5 for 48 at Milstead and 4 for 17 at Torry Hill. He bowled 100 overs to top the averages with 24 wickets for 254, an average of 10.58.

John ended his Straggler bowling career having sent down 355 overs, of which 74 were maidens, and taking 63 wickets for 1180, at an average of 18.73.  John stands at 32nd place in the all-time wicket takers.

However, it was his outfield catching for which John was most regularly mentioned.  38 career catches in 81 games almost certainly tops the list of catches per game.  John took 8 catches in 1970 and followed that with 9 in 1971, which remains at 4th= for a season.  There was even a comment in the 1971 season summary that “there was an impression that several got away”.  What might have been….

Although John spent most of the last forty years in exile in the Channel Islands, he continued to be a generous and enthusiastic supporter of the Club.  His final outing for the Stragglers was as guest speaker at the 70th anniversary dinner at the brewery in 2017, at which he took his audience back through years of Straggler success and failure with a plethora of anecdotes and the Straggler alphabet.  We were particularly sad that John was unable to travel from Alderney to Jersey in September this year to support the Stragglers on tour as he had intended.