After days of rain Sussex Martlets were fortunate that their match against Cryptics was able to go ahead and they were thankful to Andy Hayes and East Grinstead CC.
After struggling to get a team together team captain Ben Davies was finally able to field a full team made up of some promising youngsters, a few hopefuls, and a real old timer. The game marked a first for the Davies, with father and sons all playing together, with Ben being joined by brother Richard and farther John.
On what turned out to be a lovely sunny morning Cryptics won the toss and chose to bat. Ben true to his ethos had Martlets open the bowling with two colts Ned Rowland and Ben Stewart and they both picked up an early wicket to leave Cryptics on 21-2. Stewart was struggling controlling the swing and Martlets then turned to Evan Grimwood and Josh Watson. They even tried a short spell from Richard Davies whose mixture of full tosses and long hops, causing more danger to those outside the boundary with an array of sixes, almost had the desired effect when he got Hamish Nolan, on 87, to spoon an easy chance back to the bowler, but Davies in his excitement dropped the chance. Unfortunately, that was where the success before lunch with the score on 156 for 2.
With a pre-lunch scoring rate more than 6 an over and two well set batsman Ben Davies needed to do something to stem the flow and after lunch he turned to his father John for a couple of overs of very gentle off spin. In combination with Evan Grimwood, they managed to turn the tide and after a couple of missed chances the partnership of 169 was broken when Evan Grimwwod had Hamish Nolan caught by Ben Davies for a well-made 105. He followed this next over with the wicket Wilson for 64 caught behind by Harry Grimwood. John Davies had Mike Nolan caught by his son Ben Davies for 24 and what had started as a short spell ended up being 9 overs, the longest spell he had bowled in over 30 years, from which he took 1-43. Evan Grimwood finished with figures of 2-63, Ned Rowland 1-42 and Ben Stewart 1-14. Jamie Smith finished off the innings when he had Connor Nolan stumped for 3 and Cryptics declared on 251-6.
Conditions changed dramatically at the end of Cryptica innings and after a break for rain and an early tea Martlets started their innings chasing a target of 252 in just under two and a half hours. In still steady drizzle they made the worst possible start losing both Ratcliffe and Jamie Smith for 0 in the second over, without a run from the bat, bowled by Rufus Nolan. A steady procession of wickets fell without Martlets ever looking like challenging the total. In worsening drizzle Harry Grimwwod was caught in the gully off Wilson for 9 and Luke Nelson was LBW to Whyte for the top score of 24. The main remaining hope Ben Davies was then inexplicably bowled by a full toss from Connor Nolan for 14 and brother Richard after hitting one massive 6 was also bowled by Whyte for 13. Whyte then accounted for the next three batsman, Ben Stewart for 11, Josh Watson for 4, Ned Rowland for 3, leaving Martlets on 97-9 with 11 overs left.
With the drizzle having abated and no prospect of winning the game Evan Grimwood and last man John Davies set about trying to save the game. Having batted comfortably through 10 overs Evan Grimwood was brilliantly caught at short gully of Connor Nolan for 20 off the first ball of the final over leaving John Davies undefeated on 2. Thus the Martlets finished on 107 eventually losing by 144 and fFor Cryptics Whyte finished with bowling figures of 5 for 36.
After the previous days weather everyone was thankful to have been able to play a game of cricket that ended in a very tense finish.
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