Loughton has the last laugh
Band of Brothers 217-8 (57 overs); Fred Hulbert 76; Nick Peters 4-37
Sussex Martlets 218-6 (34 overs); Hector Loughton 100*; T Russell-Vick 3-44
Hector Loughton’s century and the classy leg spin of Nick Peters secured victory for the Sussex Martlets over Band of Brothers at Torry Hill.
Chasing 218 to win, the Martlets had the advantage of facing only ten Band of Brothers players (which became nine when one fielder had to leave early). To level the playing field, however, the Band of Brothers declaration meant that the Martlets would face almost 20 overs fewer than the home side.
Quick runs in the chase were therefore vital and Loughton provided them, reaching his century from 98 balls with 17 boundaries, including a six. Chanceless it was not, but by the time Loughton was dropped in the deep, the result was almost assured. The St James batsman was supported by Tom Malcolm (23), Phil Roper (26) and George Read (21), with the winning runs coming deep into the last 20 overs.
In truth, the Martlets has not expected to be chasing that many runs, given that Band of Brothers, after winning the toss, had staggered to 65 for five after 30 overs. Their struggles owed mainly to the excellence of Peters’ leg spin. Peters’ first six overs were all maidens and in his first spell he picked up three top-order wickets, all with sharply turning leg-breaks.
None of the Band of Brothers batsmen could work out how to deal with the St James bowler although frankly, aided by a dry track, a large number of his deliveries would have confounded any batsman in the world. The runs only started to come when Peters was removed from the attack by skipper Josh Burrows, who feared that, had he allowed the leg-spinner to continue, the Martlets would not have had much to chase.
This decision backfired when the Band of Brothers lower middle order came out swinging after lunch. Fred Hulbert (76) and skipper Finn Hulbert (47 from 30 balls) began making up for lost time and boosted the innings to 217 before finally declaring after 57 overs. Peters finished with four for 37, which would have been far more flattering had he bowled to a more defensive field in his second spell.
Ben Davies picked up three for 70 from 15 overs, first with the new ball, then at the death. Scott Kojack, the Acton offspinner, took the other wicket.
Having let Band of Brothers off the hook (albeit intentionally), the Martlets needed an innings of substance. Fortunately they found it in Loughton.
For many of the players, this was the final match of the season. If so it was a highly satisfactory way to end the summer.
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