The seesaw of results continues in this opening fixture of Buxted CC’s cricket week.
The Martlets this year had the luxury of at least 15 players putting themselves forward for this game, and were able to field eleven batters capable of featuring in a top five, eight bowlers and three wicketkeepers. This level of interest can only be down to the beautiful setting of Buxted Park CC, the quality of the opposition, and the generosity of their hospitality.
This time around it was agreed we would play a timed game. Martlets won the toss and elected to bat on a track which we were informed had seen 600 runs the day before. The sun was shining, and Mitch Heywood was giving a fine demonstration of how to wear trousers rolled up to the knee, with long socks and sandals. All that was missing was a knotted hanky.
Freddie Ferro and Tom Naish opened and got the Martlets off to the finest of starts, putting on 133 together. Both played some sublime shots, to all parts of the ground, and looked like they particularly enjoyed the smattering of short balls from Redding Barnes. Will Sheffield was the only bowler to contain them, with his five overs going for a measly 6 runs. Ferro was first to go, caught at long on having hit 63 off 65 balls. Naish was caught and bowled having taken 80 off 103. There was then a minor wobble as Noah Langham was well caught at midwicket for 14 off 21, Jon Peters played over the top of a straight one having scored 1, and Nick Beechey did similar having scored 7. Sammy Hart was joined at the crease by Alex Osborne. Hart was timing the ball effortlessly from the word go, and so easily and quickly was he scoring that the skipper, fixated on declaring with the just right sort of total on the board and at just the right time, rather embarrassingly failed to notice that Hart had glided to 48 n.o. when the declaration was made, with Martlets on 251 for 5. Oops.
For Buxted, Torin Bosse finished with 2 for 29 off 6, Nick Bosse 2 for 34 off 7, and Noah Farey 1 for 23 off 4.
Martlets opened up with Heywood and Jake Riddell. Heywood bowled a good line and length, tempting Alfie Hunter into edging behind having scored only 1 (query whether his father, standing at the other end, put the kibosh on him by saying, just before the Buxted innings began, “he always scores runs when I’m umpiring”!). Riddell had Toby Leonard caught in a 2 gully/backward point trap for 5, and Buxted were on the back foot at 2 for 6. Luke Forster, who was originally playing for the Martlets side before baling to the opposition, was joined at the crease by Nick Bolton, who came out swinging. Riddell was unfortunate to have Bolton dropped at slip by Beechey (or was it Murray?!) when he had hardly scored. Bolton went on to play some unorthodox but effective shots against Mitchell, scoring 37 off 48 before being caught at mid off by Mitchell off Mike Murray. All the while, Forster was accumulating sensibly. Next man in was Will Sheffield, and the game looked nicely poised after he took Alex Osborne for a huge six over midwicket and crashed three fours. Osborne had his revenge though, getting Sheffield to push one back to be caught and bowled for 22. Barnes came out and hit 21 off 18, before copying Sheffield in the manner of his dismissal. By then, Buxted were 119 for 5 and any hope of getting to 251 had gone with Sheffield and Barnes, but Martlets still needed to take 5 wickets with only 13 overs left in the day and Forster still batting well, shepherding the lower order along. It was left to the introduction of Ben Whelpton to do the damage, taking 4 for 14 off 5.2 overs, and wrapping the game up with one and half overs to go. Forster ended on a well-played 52n.o. from 85 balls. Osborne finished with 3 for 55.
In a well-managed game, every player from both sides had the opportunity to be involved fully, and the fact that Buxted took the Martlets close to a draw kept the game alive to the end. Discussions had in the bar about the possibility of making this fixture an all-day game next year were met with enthusiasm from players on both sides. A venue as lovely as Buxted and a quality opposition such as theirs certainly seems to merit it.
Many thanks go to Ray Fuller for standing for the Martlets and to Andy Hodder for the superbly professional scorecard, scoresheet and wagon wheels, the detail of which made writing this report so easy. And, of course, thanks as ever for to Buxted Park CC for having us.
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