Asked to field first on a hot day at the Jubilee Ground, the Martlets rattled through 54 overs before the College declared on 204 for 7. Despite favourable batting conditions, at no point did the College fully cut loose, which is testament to the control of all five Martlets bowlers on show.
Daniel Baptiste, Pevensey’s St Lucian overseas was sharp and short with the new ball, dismissing the school’s opener with a brutish lifter. This was a dramatic contrast with the rigorous and probing inswing of David Christmas, whose six overs cost just four runs at the other end.
Damyn Waddups, Bexhill’s Australian overseas, deserved more than his one wicket from two spells of controlled off-spin. And the legspinners Nick Peters and Dom Heater, occasionally bowling in tandem, were also classier than their figures of one for 40 and one for 41 suggest. Captain Josh Burrows picked up three wickets as the school side accellerated towards their declaration.
S Topping and captain A Connolly were the mainstays of the Brighton College innings with 74 and 73 respectively.
In reply the Martlets were granted only 40 overs, but at no point considered blocking for a draw. Indeed, for large parts of the chase, the victory looked more likely, only for the college to take wickets at exactly the wrong times.
Waddups was the only Martlet to reach his half century, but was dismissed shortly after. Contributions from Jordan Shaw (21), Luke Forster (20), Heater (34), and a late cameo from Baptiste (18 from 11 balls) kept the Martlets in the hunt. Had just one of these innings bloomed fully, the game would surely have been won.
Instead, the equation boiled down to a run a ball for the final four overs, but with wickets still falling regularly. Going into the final over the odds were finally stacked against the Martlets, with 14 runs needed and numbers 10 and 11 at the crease.
Perhaps blocking for the draw would have been the more obvious option, but having come this close, and with an inviting (if well-protected) boundary on the leg side, it seemed a shame not to slog for glory. Alas, Nick Peters could only scramble a single from the first ball of the over and Burrows was last man out, stumped with three balls of the match remaining.
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