The Sussex Martlets gathered at Christ’s Hospital to find themselves one light in number only to be saved by a masterstroke in selection by our opponents having called 12 to play in their side. It followed that the youngest member of their team, Will Freeman, aged 14 years, made his 1st XI debut but for the Martlets – and as events turned out: how lucky were we! The Martlets were augmented by our Indian contingent, with our newly proposed candidate Paddy Jadeja and, from Delhi in the UK on a two week holiday, Paras Gupta and Nikhal Grover.
With the weather set fair to improving – glorous sunshine arrived mid afternoon – meant it was time for the toss which your skipper duly won and elected to bat. In this game, tradition dictates the Martlets always bat first and the Christ’s Hospital captain most kindly said he would have bowled.
Michael Corrigan, Chichester Priory overseas, and Joe Waylett opened the batting and made a solid start putting on 46 runs before Corrigan was out for 17 runs caught from a ball which popped slightly. Nikhal Grover came to the crease and once settled set about the bowling increasingly hitting boundaries. At the other end, Waylett continued to progress until a pull to mid-wicket found the fielder and he was out caught for 62 runs. Michael Loveday, stalwart of this fixture, came to crease briefly – and returned to the pavilion after the ball caught the shoulder of the bat and went to hand in the slips. Paddy Jadeja was next in and and scored 64 runs in a classical style. Grover continued until caught on 71 runs to be followed by his compatriat Paras Gupta who scored 20 runs and was not out with Jadeja on 64 runs when the skipper declared on 255 runs from 48 overs.
In an interesting discourse on differring cricket culture, Gupta and Grover could not understand why your skipper had declared so early and instead had not pressed on for his side to score more runs. The traditions of the Sussex Martlets and schools cricket were duly imparted. After a short break, the Martlets took to the field with Charles Davies opening from the school end and Grover from the other end. Grover took the first wicket in his second over taking the batsman’s edge to Joe Akers-Douglas standing back as our wicketkeeper. Confusion on the part of the school was to follow with two wickets falling to run outs – from excellent fielding first by Grover and then Waylett. Davies made a further breakthrough at the end of his first spell. Michael Corrigan bowled well for his wicket but Joe Waylett proved a good university education helps with his off spin taking two wickets in as many overs.
At this point, Will Freeman, who had fielded with great skill and enthusism, was thrown the ball and the opportunity of taking the wicket of one of his elders! In the last of his four overs, with his last ball, Will bowled his off spin on a perfect line drawing the batsman, Harrison-Fisher, a senior member of his boarding house, into a forward defensive for the ball to turn back past the bat to take the top off middle stump. Great joy was had by both Will and all the Martlets.
Two wickets were required for a win and Davies and Waylett returned to the attack. It was Davies however in successive overs who took the required wickets, Barnard-Masterson on 51 runs just after he scored his half century and Taylor-Edwards on 30 runs, with in-swinging balls to give the Martlets victory in the penultimate over. Christ’s Hospital scored 183 runs from 45 overs.
In the final analysis, at the Bax Castle, cricket was the winner and Christ’s Hospital were as always generous hosts and a competitive schools side.
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