Cuckfield Savaged by Malik
On a scorching hot day the game effectively hung on a toss of the coin. Without so much as an apology or blush, Neil Bushell elected to bat, sending the opposition out to field in an inferno. The format of the game was 35 overs with batsmen retiring when they reached 40, only returning if the rest of the batsmen were out.
With Neil putting himself in at number 11, the General sat there with the innocence of a baby, resplendent in shorts and T-Shirt, swirling the ice cubes of his chilled drink around in his glass, rocking back in a comfy garden chair in the shade of the pavilion, where there was a slight breeze.
Our opening pair of Jeremy Bushell and Mike Loveday soon had Midge Martin our scorer busy with Jeremy scoring freely whilst Mike faced the more accurate bowling of Jull. Under the unrelenting sun, the bowlers and fielders soon looked rankled. Maybe it was the fact that Jeremy had not even been born when a couple of the Cuckfield players had reached retirement age or maybe it was the sound of the ice cubes tinkling in our Great Generals glass.
However in the 6th over with the score on 31 Mike missed a straight one and retreated to the oasis of the pavilion to be replaced by Alan Newman. This pair took the score to 76 before Al was trapped LBW for 32. Jeremy then retired on 41 leaving Guy Keeling and our “super sub” Malik to take up the onslaught. At this stage we were scoring at about 10 an over. You could be forgiven for thinking that the heat out on the plastic pitch created the incentive for batsmen to reach the retirement target of 40 quickly so that they could retire to the shade of the pavilion, but Guy had an altogether far more cunning plan. He decided to get himself stumped whilst standing in his crease! Guy gracefully accepted the decision and strolled quickly back to the cold drinks cabinet. Undeterred, Malik reached his 40 with Phil Savage joining him shortly after allowing John Goodacre to come in to thump an entertaining 38 off 16 balls.
Phillip Rimmer not to be outdone by Guy, succumbed to his 5th ball- thereby allowing Evette Burton and Andrew Cantrell to face the last few overs and put on another 29 runs taking us to a total of 262 for 5 off our 35 overs. The General, totally relaxed and cool as a cucumber, had not stirred from his seat. The Cuckfield players came off the pitch and could be heard declining their skippers offer to allow them to open their innings!
This was always going to be a tough ask for the Cuckfield batsmen none of whom, save for the opening batsman Jull, reached more than 30 runs. In fact Jull scored a total of 86 following the dismissal of the rest of the team, allowing him to return to smash a volley of 4’s across the ground.
Keeling, Cantrell and Rimmer each took 2 wickets for averages of about 10 but it was Malik who was the pick of the Martlets bowlers taking 3 for 36 off his 7 overs. Great variety and accuracy and an ability to read the batsman proved too classy for the Cuckfield players who managed to reach a creditable 202 in 33.5 overs. A special mention is warranted for a fantastic display of wicket keeping from Phil Savage who kept his concentration in the heat. Not an easy feat with our bowling on a variable bounce wicket.
Another good days cricket played in good spirit with a number of us enjoying a Thai meal in the pub in the village afterwards. Neil, I’ll send you the 20 quid I owe you for the meal in the post. Honest.
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