Result: Guards CC won by 8 wickets. Stragglers of Asia CC 209-6 (Cavanagh J 71; Harris 56; Hopkins 2-37; Thompson 2-34); Guards CC 210-2 (Tracey 103*; Hogarth-Jones 70; Dasgupta 1-39; Calder 1-28).
With some excitement Stragglers and guests assembled at Burton Court, many years having passed since the club last enjoyed a fixture there. The ground did not disappoint – and the weather was superb.
Stragglers won the toss and elected to bat. The Guards opening bowlers started well and sadly Asher went early to a superb slip catch. Harris and Cavanagh (J) played watchfully to start with, and then a bit more expansively, to make it first to the drinks break and then to lunch. Cavanagh went not long after lunch, the pair having put on 149 at 5 runs an over, Cavanagh going for 71 and Harris a little later for an excellent 56. Thereafter wickets fell too regularly for the Stragglers to capitalise on the decent start, and scoring dried up somewhat; highlights included two sumptuous boundaries from Razvi, and – unfortunately – another superb slip catch to send back Cavanagh (M). Unusually ‘Extras’ was third-highest scorer, with a welcome half century. Stragglers declared a shade past the halfway mark with a light-looking 209-6.
Stragglers got off to a good start with the ball, keeping things very tight in the short spell before tea, and restricting Guards to only a little above two runs an over. Guests Abol and Rodnight bowled particularly well. As a sign of what was to come, chances and luck eluded the Stragglers, bowlers toiling nobly – not least Whyte and Rodnight – but fortune never quite going the Stragglers’ way. Bowlers were rotated in an attempt to ‘make something happen’ – it worked once in Calder’s short spell, with a good grab by Whyte; and then very nearly again from Asher’s first ball – but alas mostly in vain. Dasgupta deserved his late wicket – “oh what might have been” – but by then it was too late and the Guards No 3 bat had clearly found his range.
In sum – despite the result – a super game of cricket in a great setting on a beautiful summer’s day in central London. Our Guards opposition were a very decent bunch, high of morale and enjoying excellent support, with many family and friends in attendance. Unsurprisingly Stragglers were very well hosted throughout, and enjoyed a very welcome beer after the game in front of the pavilion. Here’s hoping for a better result for Stragglers next year!