In spite of a torrent of Covid-19 cancellations in 2020, cricket offers up so many statistical opportunities, that your correspondent has managed to uncover more than a few:
- Although 15 games were lost to Covid-19 (a record for cancellations), no games were lost to the weather, the first time since 2011 that rain had not intervened.
- 9 games played is not actually the fewest in a season. In 2007 with a slimmer card, only 8 games were played and 8 lost to the weather or cancellation; and, in 2015, 9 games were played and 10 failed to take place.
- The tie at Nonington was the 8th tie in the history of the Club (in 1,190 matches played), but more extraordinary is the fact that for the first time ever, not one game was drawn.
- And in spite of regular reference to the Lark catching cup in match reports, Stragglers clung on to over 4 catches per game, only the third time in club history.
- In his final innings of the season, Jonathan Neame moved into 2nd place in the all-time list of runs scored, with 4,856, overtaking Club founder, Wyndham Fletcher (4,842). Confident in pole position with 5,315 runs, Nigel opted to take the season off.
- Lower down the order, there was some Allport/Smallwood inter-generational shuffling. Al (1,802 runs) overtook Simon (1,790), but the honour of the senior Stragglers was restored by Matt (2,351), who went back past Theo (2,348).
- Matt becomes the 9th Straggler to walk to the middle 150 times with the bat.
- In a second successful season George BW ended within 20 of 2,000 career runs and moved into the top 5 career averages (46.05).
- Will Hilton’s undefeated century at Folkestone took him to the top of the career averages (58.58) replacing long-term chart topper, Giles (56.35). Jasper increased his average to 53.95 but slipped into third place.
- At the other end of the top ten, Joffy’s return to the middle saw him slip one place to number 11 (42.59).
- With a season average of 9.09, Toby joins a very select group of modern bowlers with a single figure average – the Master Brewer in 2010 and Theo in 2013.
- When the Chairman brought the Munton onslaught at Belmont to an end, courtesy of an excellent catch by Jasper, he became the third Straggler to take 350 wickets, overtaking Alistair Gordon on 349, and now stands on 363. The challenge of passing the top two, Rodney Fletcher (925) and Peter Canney (507) is likely to prove a hurdle too far.
In the field
- Theo becomes the 4th Straggler keeper to snare 50 victims and will move ahead of Charlie Barlow with his next catch or stumping. Only Al Smallwood (67) and Bobby Barclay (79) will then be ahead of himChampagne Moment
The Straggler Committee met in October to decide on the award of the champagne moment for 2020. Among the contenders George BW for his catches at Stowting; Toby Snape’s opening over in the first inter-Straggler game, when he removed both Al and George with sharp deliveries aimed at their heads; James Stabb for his sensational first ball yorker to the Master Brewer in the second Inter-Straggler game; Will Fenwick for his back-pedalling catch in the first of these, and for his honourable sacrifice of his wicket to allow Jasper to prosper in spite of an appalling call; and Ben Simpson’s series of catches at Belmont and then Street End to end the season as a full-time acrobat.
After much discussion, the 2020 Champagne Moment is awarded to the Stabb family, James, Will and Ed, for a series of exceptional contributions to the second Inter-Straggler game. There were a number of votes for James’ removal of the Master Brewer with his first ball, but the consensus view was that the award should be shared – it is rare indeed to find three members of a family producing combined figures of 8 for 58, and for the brothers to bowl each other in turn.