Sussex Martlets V Broadhalfpenny Down Brigands CC at Broadhalfpenny Down, Hambeldon.
7th August 2022
Brigands 114 all-out, 37 overs (F O`Meara 2-2, P Walker 47-5)
Martlets 119-6, 23.1 overs, (E McCarthy 50 )
The hosts were celebrating 250 years since the inaugural First-Class cricket match (between Hampshire and an All England team) was played at this historic, iconic and beautiful ground.
Such was the demand, understandably, to be involved in this fixture, that a 13 man squad arrived in good time on (another) roasting hot day. The summer of 2022 has provided the finest cricket conditions in living memory.
This match was (at least for the skipper) a standout afternoon in this joyful summer of cricket.
Having, as usual, lost the toss, Walker`s heroes were invited to field. A late call up for young Aaron Goode behind the stumps was a stroke of luck for the visitors. AG was superb. At just 14, he had impressed the selectors when performing heroics for Chichester U18s and with the vocal encouragement of his new teammates, did so again.
Will Wingfield-Digby opened proceedings in some style. His miserly 5 over spell cost only 16 runs and incredibly no wickets. At the other end even better was to come. Fergus O`Meara – 5 overs, 2 maidens, 2 wicket maidens, 2 wickets for 2 runs. Incredible. But he was in danger of ruining the game!
On came Loughton and Lamb….another wicket and only 15 more runs – those 2 had to go too.
Once the skipper came on and the runs predictably flowed, we knew we`d still be here for tea. Rydon and Arris were also in great form. A caught and bowled for Will the highlight of his steller spell.
Arran deserved a wicket and was only denied one by a howler of a drop by Walker. By then the skipper had (somehow) got 3 wickets. Could his day-dreaming of a 5-for have contributed to the shelling of that gift?
The unfortunate Arris`s reward was to be asked (as the lucky 13 rotated) to leave the action and enjoy an ice-cream! This he duly did and by all accounts enjoyed it very much.
Tom Drake-Brockman bowled the penultimate over with a similar degree of skill to his overall fielding, ie brilliantly. The Aussie (Chichester`s overseas) was used to the heat and was revelling in the history.
Sadly for Tom, and the Brigands, there was only to be one more over. Walker, miraculously taking 2 wickets to make his dream come true.
Everyone`s dreams were realised minutes later when we tucked into one of the finest cricket teas ever.
A modest total, but an unpredictable wicket and a weighty volume of food took it`s toll. After a bright start Arris and Jamie O`Meara departed. Then Tom couldn’t resist a full toss and was gone. Patrick Jackson seemed to enjoy his 5 minutes in the spotlight, but decided the view from the boundary was more appealing (and safer).
Mudders and Ed McCarthy steadied the ship with bravery and no little panache. The scorebook records that Mike added 4 runs. But the reality was that his 34 minutes in the middle enabled Ed to score a well-deserved (and crucial) 50.
Peter Lamb and Hector finished off to quell some mild panic as the skipper strove to divide 13 by 1. A 6 from Lamby and the game was ours.
Post-match beers, supper and speeches, at the world famous Bat and Ball, topped off a truly memorable day.
Many thanks to all involved , especially Nick Harris and all at Brigands for such outstanding hospitality and Bryan Tomlin for umpiring with his usual excellence and good humour.
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