Downside Wanderers v Sussex Martlets, Sunday 24th May 2015
Match restricted to 40 a side. Downside Wanderers won by 11 runs.
Downside Wanderers 239 – 7 (Orr 95, Byett 51, Horsham 1-26, F.Talbot 2-36)
Sussex Martlets 228 – 4 (Roper 97, Murray 74, Moran 1-30, Byett 2-29)
Upon arrival of a hard partying and oh so slightly worse for wear Mike Margarson – freshly depleted from a Medics dinner party but otherwise very committed – we departed Skips house at 09:45 with a late substitute player: Felix Talbot replacing Joe Waylett who was suffering a nasty 24hr virus. We arrived at Hurst on time to meet the players from both teams basking in the sun outside the pavilion – we were locked out! How could this be? On further inspection the pitch had not been marked out nor the wicket prepared! A quick flick through the trusty Martlets 2014 Fixture booklet and I was on the phone to Nick Creed. Nick kindly contacted the Hurst Grounds Keeper, who amazingly cut short his Sunday morning bike ride to focus on duties that should have been passed to him by the Hurst staff earlier that week. And so, in stealing victory from the jaws of defeat the pitch was ready, the game was on, and thanks to some last minute charity or perhaps sympathy from Mrs. Talbot – less I forget – so was the Lunch and Tea.
We agreed to move from the all day format to a limited overs game of 40 overs due to the above challenges, then… Skip lost the toss. Downside Wanderers elected to bat first, the game got underway just after 12:15.
Downside Wanderers made a Boycott like start, achieving just over 90 runs before lunch at 20 overs with the loss of 1 wicket. This precise and conservative performance was very much down to the tight bowling of Jamie Hutchins, Michael Murray, Derek Horsham and the variable pace of spinner Ed Blake. Jamie Hutchins, pinned Orr and Acheson down with his pace prior to the death of his left cricket boot towards the end of his second over, the offending item to be replaced fairly swiftly by a visit from Mum with his reserve pair – the youngsters of today affording a spare pair of boots…. Meanwhile Michael Murray performed with reliable accuracy downhill as sooner than expected first change due to Jamie Hutchins wardrobe malfunction (26 for 0 from 6 overs). Derek Horsham bowling uphill as No.2 with next to no warm-up (Skip felt 2 balls notice was more than adequate for an athlete of Derek’s standing) applied the pressure and drew first blood (26 for 1 from 8 overs).
After lunch a refuelled Downside Wanderers started to strike out setting the total at 239 for 7 at 40 overs with the fall of a further 6 wickets. It was a delight to see 13 yr old Felix Talbot make his debut for Martlets (36 for 2 from 4 overs) stopping their opener 5 runs short of his century (bowled caught Hutchins for 95), and taking their Captains wicket with an LBW.
With a quick 10 minute changing room visit Marlets were out to bat. Phil Roper and Michael Murray put in an excellent performance as opening pair. Phil had not played for over 2 years, however with stunning muscle memory he achieved 97 runs, eventually being bowled going for the big hit, so close! Murray checked out in similar fashion at 74 on the 34th over. Thanks to both for a terrific example of cricket in the best Martlets tradition. Fine performances from James Waylett making 27 and Jonathan Hughes who showed early promise but fell to an excellent catch, helped move Martlets towards victory but in the end Martlets batting performance was not enough against an alert field. At the end of a fine match Martlets consumed their 40 overs 12 runs shy of victory when Stuart Ritchie and Jamie Hutchins left the pitch albeit not without giving their best.
We thanked Barry Peay and Nigel Smith for their noble work as umpire and scorer, remarked on some excellent keeping from Jonathan and fielding from the U23’s. Both teams and officials drove to a local watering hole in Hurst to recount a great day of cricket and all are looking forward to next year’s fixture.
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