Report by Craig Talbot
Downside Wanderers (262-7d; W Hammond 76*, W Orr 42; P Walker 3-48) lost to Sussex Martlets (264-8; J Heaven 158*, S.Gardiner 32) by two wickets
One week prior to the fixture we had a full side which included three u16/u15 Portsmouth Grammar School Boys (including my son Felix Talbot) chomping at the bit to gain some senior experience. However, organisation was not their strength, having realised too late that on the day of the match they were scheduled to complete a key section of their Duke of Edinburgh!
I am incredibly grateful therefore to John Ashworth, Paul Walker and James Hicks for helping me to secure a full side, utilising many of their contacts at last minute. This effort included John Ashworth’s notable work in securing Johnny Heaven, releasing him from his Goodwood duties same day. Which brings me on to the meat of the match report..
Martlets won the toss, I decided to do the sporting thing and put Downside into bat given that they had travelled from far and wide and were one player short.
Downside arranged their batting order and, being one player short, recruited George Hicks, the Prebendal U12, into their squad. Young Hicks, when asked where he likes batting, was keen to promote himself to “open if at all possible, skipper”. It is great to see the confidence in the young ones! George ended up batted No.11, scoring 1* – but he did go on to bowl, securing the wicket of Stuart Ritchie (caught and bowled), and his father James Hicks (bowled), lest James ever forgets.
Downside got off to a confident start with the opening pair racking up 72 runs before falling to the spin of Paul Walker and the seam of Johnny Heaven. Downside declared their innings closed after 51 overs, on 262 for 7 having played for just over 3 hours. I was starting feel the heat of my decision to put Downside into bat first! As was Heaven who bowled 17 overs. Walker, Ashworth and Mark Chapple put very economic bowling performances taking 4 wickets between them with Walker and spin bowling generally collecting the winning tally of the day.
The Martlets batting performance was a middle-order masterclass. The opening partnership of Ashworth and Benison fell for 8, Mark Chapple steadied the ship with 22 in a unfamiliar Boycott like style, then up stepped Heaven, who struck 158 runs off 86 balls, without being dismissed, leaving the skipper to score the winning boundary, securing victory by two wickets.
A great contribution from all, but mastered by one person on the day – man of the match Johnny Heaven!
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