The Martlets travelled to the beautiful Saffrons to face Eastbourne with no less than FIVE debutants. Winning the toss, captain D.Heater elected to bat on what looked like a good Premier League batting surface. Early signs suggested that this was in fact the case, with openers Naish and Hunter making a terrific start before the former fell for a well made 29, which included some delightful pull shots that made light work of the small boundaries. When Hunter fell for 39, the Martlets had a solid foundation of 79-2 on which debutants G.Moore (63*) and Wheatley (130* from 69) built on with a fine mix of class and ball striking. The pair put on a massive unbeaten partnership of 197, which included a rapid hundred from Wheatley, (a sight that many within Sussex cricketing circles have come across before), and a well made support act 63 from Guy Moore. This meant that the Martlets set Eastbourne a mammoth total of 272 at the halfway stage.
The hosts would not have felt disheartened at the halfway stage, with the sun still shining, and the track looking no worse than it did before the first innings. Also considering the short square boundaries, a solid chase would see Eastbourne somewhere near the total if they could muster it. Despite getting off to the worst possible start, with Khullar (1-22) removing captain Smith within the first over, Eastbourne rallied quickly, with Ferro (50) and Backhouse (134) putting on 142 for the second wicket. This kept the hosts in with a really good shot, with plenty of wickets in the shed, including plenty of batsmen with real pedigree. However, regular wickets fell, with the Buxted Park trio of Hunter and the two Heaters taking 4 wickets between them. This middle overs effort was also aided by a good accurate spells of bowling from Young Martlet of the Season, Ben Whelpton and another debutant, Ollie Moore. Despite some clean hitting from the Eastbourne lower middle order, including Meacher (37 with 4 sixes), good death bowling spells by H.Walker, I.Heater and A.Hunter meant that the Martlets won by the tight margin of 9 runs, topping off an enjoyable day against good opposition.
Many thanks to Eastbourne CC and the Saffrons ground staff for hosting us. Here’s to next season’s fixture!
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