Chairman's Blog

Peter Budden, President of the Shepway Stragglers for 10 years, passed away on September 19th.  As a player, committee member, supporter, scorer, umpire, recruiter and then President, Peter was at the heart of the Club for very nearly five decades; it has been a privilege for me to serve as his Chairman for the last few years; we will all miss his wise counsel and wealth of experience.

Peter made his Straggler debut at Stowting on June 1st 1969, where he opened the batting with John Gibbs, and went on to top score with 44 runs in a low scoring victory.  He played regularly for the next 28 years, and the last record of Peter in whites was in another victory at Brookland in 1997, undefeated on 1*.  He continued in the middle as an umpire (marginally less idiosyncratic than Wyndham), and as a scorer, although he was easily distracted by an audience, and gaps might appear in the score book, as Peter got engrossed in telling a story.  Peter was a recognised raconteur, with a keen sense of dramatic timing, but on one memorable occasion he left his audience bereft of the punch line.  Sitting on a deck chair in the sunshine at Wellesley, Peter had his audience in the palm of his hand, when a dramatic pause just seemed a trifle extended – until it was noticed that Peter had fallen asleep in mid-story.

Peter joined the committee in 1976, when Wyndham was still very much managing the Club, and then went on to succeed Jimmy Cox as Club President in 2007.

Peter strode to the crease 116 times for the Stragglers, scoring 1556 runs at an average of 15.25.  His first half century came in 1970, with 54 at Nonington.  In 1973, he was second in the averages with 182 runs at 26, top scoring with 48 at Rochester, and the following year began the season with 65 at Etchinghill.  After a couple of quiet seasons, Peter went on to top the averages in 1978, with 162 runs at 40.50, and another half century to his name, 56 at Sheldwich.

Perhaps better known as a bowler in his later career, Peter was first mentioned in the season summary of 1972, having “bowled very tidily”, and, indeed, he headed the averages with 16 wickets at 8.88, which suggests a bit more than “tidy”, and included 5 for 24 at Rodmersham.  Peter apparently earned the sobriquet “the beast of Bossingham” (according the John Parry) after one particularly aggressive and effective spell.  However, the record suggest that John may have confused Bossingham with Bethersden, as Peter certainly ran through a Bethersden XI in 1970 returning career best figures of 6 for 19 (Parry was 3 for 15 in the same game).  Peter’s bowling peaked in the early ’80s with 6 for 43 against the Wine Trade in 1982 (a season in which he took 14 wickets at 12.42, second only to Rodney); and had a late flourish in 1990, when he took 7 wickets at an average of 11.

His bowling career saw him bowl 673 overs, of which 116 were maidens, taking 120 wickets at an average of 20.40.  In 1989, Peter became the 8th Straggler to achieve the double of 100 wickets and 1,000 runs.  In his later years in the field, Peter was an early exponent of “terracotta” fielding, but still held on to 27 catches (as did nephew Jim).

Among the many fond tributes to Peter, I have received over the last few days, one stands out, from a fellow student at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, who reported that Peter, having been taken to hospital with acute abdominal pain, diagnosed as an inflamed appendix, was prepared for surgery, and about to be taken into theatre, when his GP rang the hospital to point out that the apparently offending organ had been removed some 14 years earlier. Peter had forgotten.