The Sussex Martlets gathered at Arundel Castle on the hottest day of the year so far for their annual fixture against Christ’s Hospital.
The Martlets committee decided last year that the Club should play two schools each year at Arundel Castle, as schools would only get an invite once every decade. This change was made to recognise, in a modern context, our founders’ vision to bring first class cricket to the senior schools of Sussex. Christ’s Hospital were one of the first beneficiaries of this policy after their last game at Arundel was rained off.
Will Freeman who first played in this fixture for the Martlets is now captain of the Christ’s Hospital 1st XI. Will won the toss for Christ’s Hospital and invited the Martlets to bat first. Opening with Michael Loveday and Sam Cooper, Michael was unlucky to fall second over, but joined by Simon Warrender, a solid century partnership was built until both Sam and Simon were out.
Martlets 2017 overseas player Jano Muller took to the crease and aided by a succession of batters, with Chairman Stuart Ritchie’s cameo of 11 and Paul Lack’s 2 not out, advanced to 83 before falling leg before wicket. In Paul’s case, this maintained his recent record of not being dismissed for the Martlets. The Martlets innings closed on 222 all out from 51.3 overs, taking the decision out of the Chairman’s hands as to when to declare.
Pressure was what was going to be needed if the Martlets were to win. In setting a tight field, Jano Muller opened from the Castle end and Gregory Iago opened from the Park end. 10 overs bowled and 30 runs conceded was the ideal start for the Martlets, as was Jano taking the edge of Ben Kinnear to a sharp catch above his head by Sam Cooper in the eleventh over. Will Freeman did not survive long this time, batting at 3 as he needed an early train for a visit the next day to a university, falling leg before wicket to Gregory Iago.
Tea was approaching and the Chairman turned to his spinners, Rebecca Silk making her Martlets debut from the Castle end and Paul Lack from the Park end. With no breakthrough, tea was taken with all basking in the glorious sunshine.
Play resumed and 20 overs was called at 5:30 pm with Christ’s Hospital on 104 for 2 after 31 overs, needing just under 6 runs an over for victory with 8 wickets in hand. In the next over, Rebecca Silk trapped Gus Freeman leg before wicket. A change from the Park end had Nathan Cooper (lent to the Martlets by Christ’s Hospital) bowling and in his first over took the wicket of Thomas Carter. Nathan wryly observed that was how he bowled Thomas out in the nets the previous Monday. Nathan’s five over spell resulted in figures of 29 for 1.
Rebecca Silk continued from the Castle end and from her bowling, an ambitious run by opener Albert Burgess, but declined, resulted in his run out by an excellent throw from mid-wicket by Nathan Cooper. Albert perished for an excellent 63.
Even though Christ’s Hopsital were achieving the run rate, the pressure was building with accurate bowling from Rebecca Silk who ran through the lower order with four more dismissals, two leg before wicket and two bowled. Jano Muller and Simon Warrender combined for an excellent stumping of Christ’s Hospital’s keeper Eric Swin-Ward, which was probably the last sign of resistance. Rebecca Silk’s final figures were a 5-fer at Arundel Castle, or as recorded by the scorers, 72 for 5 off 17.5 overs.
In the week TMS’s Henry Blofeld announced his retirement, Blowers as he is better known, would have been pleased to see a Spitfire circulating overhead the Arundel ground, no doubt from the nearby Goodwood Estate. And he would have extolled the virtues of cricket being played by successive generations of one family as Christ Hospital’s eleventh man Ambrose Thwaites is the grandson of the great cricketer and Martlet, the late Ian Thwaites, our highest run scorer for the Club in 1962.
Speeches of appreciation were made at lunch by the Chairman and by Will Freeman, thanks being gratefully given to Arundel Castle Cricket Club and after the game, drinks were taken at the Pavilion Bar by both sides where the benefits of Junior Martlets cricket were extolled to the boys and girls from Christ’s Hospital.
Cricket was undoubtedly the winner as is so often the case when the Sussex Martlets play Christ’s Hospital. Particular thanks go to Howard Holdsworth, David Messenger and Trevor Jesty who brought the team from Christ’s Hospital to Arundel Castle.
The Sussex Martlets
Howard Holdsworth wrote to say: “Very many thanks for … such a lovely occasion last Wednesday. The loss taught them many valuable lessons for playing against adults, as can be witnessed from their defeating the Old Boys on Sunday and a very strong MCC side today by 7 wickets with the captain Will Freeman scoring a chanceless hundred.”
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