It was a day of firsts, at least, in some instances, for some time. We had a full day of sun; a sumptuous cricket tea; Jonah Hutchings and Liam Poulton made their Martlets’ debuts; and, after 42 years of playing competitive cricket, someone was rash (or desperate enough) to entrust the captaincy of a team to Nick Beechey.
After some last minute fluctuation in the playing numbers, the Martlets arrived at the ground with a team of twelve, enabling some of the more senior players to revel in the prospect of a few overs ‘fielding’ from a deckchair.
Buxted Park, having elected to play a 40 overs game, won the toss and chose to bat. The Martlets opened up with the two late replacements, Alex Heasman and Jonah Hutchings. It’s fair to say that, after a mixed few overs, the Newick selection committee will have to continue to wrestle with dilemma as to whether to open the bowling with Sam Carter or Heasman, who is pressing hard on Carter’s reputation. Young Hutchings, who confidently informed the skipper that he bowled ‘heat’, produced a fine spell of controlled bowling, conceding just 17 runs off his first five overs. Despite this, Buxted looked as if they were getting off to a flier, with George Read scoring freely, before Heasman and Luke Nelson combined to bring Read’s innings to an end.
Thereafter, in a testament to some fine bowling and fielding, the Martlets exerted control. Mike Murray bowled his usual selection of honey-coated teasers and Poulton bowled an excellent spell of off spin, mixing up his pace well. Chairman Walker took over from where Murray left off, and in spite of some lusty hitting by a succession of middle order Buxted batsmen, none managed to really establish themselves, save for 15 year old opener Hunter, who scored a measured 66. Murray ended with 3 for 20.
Buxted finished a little light on 199 for 5, with the highlight of the Martlets’ fielding a spectacular diving grab at mid on by Luke Nelson off Murray’s bowling at the death.
The Martlets opened with Michael Loveday and Heasman. Heasman got into his stride quickly and scored a classy 45 (Newick selectors take note please), before falling to one of the more bizarre catches seen on a cricket field. Heasman top edged a skier and mid wicket, having positioned himself nicely under the ball, looked to panic suddenly, moved, fell over and caught the ball lying down, just as it was about to demolish his face. Martlets then had a bit of a wobble, with Loveday, Nelson and Harry Walker falling cheaply. However, Jon Peters, batting at 5, having watched a couple of balls from the non-strikers’ end, and satisfying himself that he had the measure of the both the bowling and the wicket, hit his first ball for six, scaring the living daylights out of the pedestrians enjoying a peaceful stroll along the Park drive. It was then all Martlets, as Peters and Poulton combined in a superb stand of 89. Poulton, having produced some glorious cover drives, fell for 41 and it was left to Peters (59 n.o) and the experience of Joe Akers-Douglas (17 n.o) to see the visitors home.
This was the start of Buxted’s cricket week and they hosted the Martlets superbly at what is a beautiful ground. So many thanks to Buxted Park CC, and to the Martlets players who made the experience of skippering a game of cricket so enjoyable and success seem so easy.
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