301-7 off 47
played 244-9 off 43
Whilst I will not follow Brother Boucher’s example and bulk this report out with a well suited but clearly googled Philip Larkin poem, Torry Hill really did look beautiful as the Band of Brothers lined up to play the Shepway Stragglers on the 30th of June. Some last minute changes had left the Brethren short a seamer but spirits were high despite losing the toss and being asked to field first. The start could not have been better as Hulbert immediately produce a beauty to remove Theo Allport with the very first ball of the match, well caught by Hereward Leathart who is proving an able recuit in the wicketkeeping department. The deck however was true and Jasper Smallwood and George Baker-White recovered well, both hitting a number of boundaries despite good opening spells from Hulbert and Sam Middleton (candidate). Hulbert was well rewarded by taking the outside edge of Smallwood, who was as ever looking dangerous, very well pouched by McLean at second slip. Middleton was less lucky and saw Baker-White dropped at Gully in the 30s.
After the Smallwood wicket it proved a difficult spell for the Brethren, McLean bowled well without reward and Collingwood eeked out an economical spell despite being offered no assistance from the pitch. He was rewarded as McLean took another catch on the boundary and Regan luckily picked up a wicket before lunch with yet another unspinning offbreak, at which the Stragglers were well set, 174-4 with Baker-White 89*.
An excellent feast was laid on as usual. A feature of which that is worth noting is how well mingled the two teams were at the interval, indeed most of us have been playing cricket with or against each other since our teens. Many of the Brethren regretted double desserts when taking the field again after lunch and Baker-White moved to a well-made century in quick time. Despite wickets falling at regular intervals at the other end he was still undefeated on 150 when the Stragglers declared shortly after passing 300 despite an excellent fielding display from the Brethren, Loxbar and Radcliffe in particular throwing themselves around the surface with abandon. The mood was still confident in the BB dressing room at the changeover, the pitch was true and the outfield fast so a chase was entirely possible. Simpson and Boucher got off to a good aggressive start before the latter edged to the keeper and tea was taken with BB 53-1 after Pask had hit a couple of lusty blows into the trees. After a second wonderful meal of the day, the BB resumed, knowing only positive cricket would get them to their target. Simpson and Pask pushed ahead before the former top edged a pull to depart for a useful 33 sparked a middle order collapse as Radcliffe, Collingwood and Loxbar were all lured into false shots from the Stragglers leg spinner. Pask too eventually tried one arduous shot too many to fall for 78 and the lower order followed suit displaying a heroic, but arguably foolish refusal to play for the draw. Luckily for the BB the last man was candidate Middleton- who showed the skipper he was an least half the order too low at number 11 thus he saw off the last dozen overs with Hulbert with few dramas, finishing with the best 8 not out of the season to support Finn’s fine, match saving unbeaten 58.