Martlets smash their way to first ever victory over Aldridge Academy
Sussex Martlets 311-4 dec (49 overs); C Borsoi 85*, A Wankhade 68, M Campopiano 64
Aldridge Academy 176 (50.5 overs); C Barnett 70; J Burrows 4-23; B Davies 3-33
The Amex Stadium, home of Brighton & Hove Albion, lies about a quarter of a mile east of the Aldridge Academy cricket pitch. For a few overs during the Martlets innings on Thursday, the football arena looked within range.
The wicket had flattened out, an early declaration was on the cards and the Aldridge Academy bowlers had begun to tire a little. Add into this mix a Martlets middle order straining at the leash and the result was explosive.
The hitting began before lunch when Apoorv Wankhade (68) started to launch, losing a ball onto the Lewes to Brighton train line with a flat six and picking off the spinners with consummate ease. Given that Wankhade, the Lindfield overseas, has twice been picked up in the IPL auction and has two first-class centuries, the ground was never going to be big enough for him.
Earlier, Peter Lamb (24) and Harry Rollings (20) had seen off the new ball, including a very slippery opening spell from Steven Harman, an occasional Martlet, and several balls from the other end that spat off a length, one of which struck Rollings in the jaw. Although the openers’ innings weren’t the most violent of the day, by seeing off the worst of the conditions they set a superb platform for what followed. When Wankhade fell on the stroke of lunch, top-edging another scything shot, the Martlets were dangerously positioned on 161 for 3.
Marcus Campopiano, fresh from his 94 at Ardingly on Tuesday, took only a few balls to get himself in, then started peppering the boundary with delicious ease before he was caught for a brutal 68 off 41 balls. That brought Jordan Shaw to the crease, batting against the schoolboys he usually helps coach. There was, obviously, plenty of chatter in the field — swiftly silenced by Shaw’s nine-ball 28 not out, including three sixes, one of which, off the returning Harman, was also lost over the boundary netting and onto the railway line. It may even have finished in Brighton train station.
Meanwhile at the other end, Chris Borsoi began to open his shoulders, changing gear from his earlier watchfulness and slapping a succession of his own boundaries to finish unbeaten and highly impressive on 85 — the mainstay of the innings.
The Martlets declared on 311 for 4 off only 49 overs. It had taken just 91 balls to go from 150 to 311.
The early declaration meant the visitors were faced up to a potential 57 overs in the field, with — truth be told — not a vast number of bowling options. The chase was big, but it was on.
However, disciplined opening spells from Ben Davies (15-4-33-3) and skipper Josh Burrows (12.5-2-23-4) accounted for both openers and put the Academy on the back foot almost immediately. Had three catches not gone down in the field, the damage would surely have been even greater.
The third-wicket partnership between Chris Barnett (70) and Steven Harman (49) was worth 104 and was only broken when Shaw got in Harman’s ear about reaching 50, prompting the batsman to play a fatal rash shot. Shaw will no doubt explain that it was all part of his coaching strategy.
Thereafter the Academy batsmen seemed caught in two minds about whether to hit or block, and the chase came unstuck as a result.
Tom Malcolm (10-0-70-0) deserved better with his offspin; James Cruickshank looked dangerous for two overs before tweaking a hamstring and having to come off; Wankhade (9-2-30-2) was effective with the older ball; and Davies returned with two wickets in his second spell.
Borsoi took one wicket in two maiden overs, and the final wicket fell to the skipper, bowling the No 8 batsman behind his legs to end the match. The Academy were all out for 176 in 50.5 overs, with six overs left to bowl.
There will probably be few more comprehensive Martlets wins this year, with victory made all the sweeter given that the Academy are a strong team. They have more than proved so in the past four years, beating the Martlets on every previous occasion.
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