Sussex Martlets retain (on the final ball) The Sandy Ross Cup
On what can only be described as a glorious morning for cricket, the two captains met in the middle for the all-important toss. With the sun beaming down on a hard flat East Grinstead wicket, never has a toss been so eagerly awaited by both sets of players. Fortunately, the coin landed favourably for the Sussex Martlets and the easy decision to bat first was taken.
The Martlets got off to a perfect start with the opening pair of Ryan Shortland (47) and Saleem Nadir (36) scoring freely and the ball being retrieved frequently from the vacant boundary. The difficult period of the game began when the Cryptics introduced their two premium spinners (one a right-arm leg spinner and another a left-arm off spinner) and with the balling turning square they started to cause problems for the Martlets batsman. Morgan lapinaamarelle (63) played the anchor role throughout the middle overs with batman 4 (Ben Davies, 3) and 5 (Peter Hartland, 1) causing little damage to the total. Morgan was joined by Jordan Shaw (62) in the middle, too late, overs and the two put on a great partnership. Jordan provided the muscle while Morgan rotated the strike, the pair were dismissed late in the innings and this provided the opportunity for some pinch hiting from Guy Durham (21) to get the Martlets total up to 269.
The Cryptics innings started in a very similar manner with the opening pair putting on a 100+ partnership (Jason Poole 60 and Matt Samson 51) with the opening bowlers troubling the batsmen’s outside/inside edges very infrequently. The innings was sparked to life by some excellent bowling by Fizul Nadir ending with figures of 3 for 35 off 10 and Chris Hartland 0 for 27 off 7, as they restricted the run rate whilst also taking wickets. The game sat for a long period of time with the Cryptics needing a large total of runs with the overs number getting smaller and smaller. Importantly, at this stage the heavens started to open and the game changed in the favour of the chasing team. With a total of 60+ runs needed from 6 overs the Martlets started to squeeze and put pressure on the in form batsman (Joe O’Gorman – not to be confused with our President’s grandson) and tumbling batsman at the other end. The Sussex Martlets needed to defend 9 off the last over and the weather conditions made this incredible hard with Chris slipping and letting a four go off the penultimate ball. This left Jordan defending three from the last ball and with very tense (and wet) fielders the Cryptics were only able to manage two off the last ball with a run out of O’Gorman as he reached his century and the game was drawn but with the Sussex Martlets retaining The Sandy Ross Cup as holders of the trophey.
Overall, it was a beautiful day of Cricket played in wonderful spirit.
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