Rebbetts and Blackwell share superb double-century partnership
Sussex Martlets 311-3 dec (42 overs); H Blackwell 137*, D Rebbetts 117*
Eton Ramblers 188 (39.2 overs); A Hammond 87
The Martlets season is only ten games old, but it may already have witnessed the biggest partnership of the summer. Henry Blackwell (137*) and Darryl Rebbetts (117*) would very likely have taken their combined total past the triple-century mark had they not been interrupted by a declaration.
That captain Michael Murray could call the innings closed so soon was testament to the speed and aggression with which both batsmen made their unbeaten centuries. The declaration contained more than a hint of mercy.
The pair had come together at the fall of the third wicket, with the score on less than 50 after an earlier flashing contribution from Tom Malcolm (23). By lunch, Blackwell had raced to his century and Rebbetts was less than ten runs behind him. The onslaught continued after the break, with at least two boundaries in most overs, many of them — although by no means all — struck to the small edge along one side of the pitch.
Conditions were favourable: a hard wicket, fast outfield, and a Ramblers attack shorn of its opening bowler, who only arrived in time for their batting innings. A number of tough chances were also dropped (or refused completely) as the pair settled into their work, both hitting the ball immensely hard.
Blackwell was particularly strong down and the ground and through the covers, keeping the ball on the turf almost always (his innings contained 24 boundaries but not a single six), in the manner of a man who knows he has been gifted a rich opportunity to cash in. Rebbetts was more expansive, seizing on anything short and striking four sixes in his 21 boundaries, one onto the roof of the nets alongside the ground; another clean over them.
Spare a thought too, for Rob Glaysher, the next man in, whose pad-rash must have felt particularly acute on such a fine day to be a batsman.
Glaysher (1-28) was instead offered the chance to open the bowling and duly cleaned up the Ramblers opener with a beauty. At the other end, Josh Burrows (2-28) accounted for Nos 3 and 4, the former inexplicably shouldering arms to a straight one, the latter well held at slip by Rydon.
After tea, the introduction of legspinner Ryan Trotter (1-34) and slow left-armer Joe O’Gorman (2-33) brought no real let-up of the Martlets pressure, aided by the daunting total of runs required. Match manager John Ashworth (2-40) was introduced into the attack and quickly picked up two wickets. The second of these was ably caught behind by stand-in Martlets wicket-keeper Derek Horsham, who performed superbly for a man who has not taken the gloves for 20 years.
The game was finally put to bed when Murray (2-12) brought himself into the attack and finally enticed a rash shot from Archie Hammond, the Ramblers opener whose highly correct innings of 87 had prevented his team from collapsing altogether.
Trotter returned to snatch the final wicket, well held at midwicket by Glaysher to complete victory, over a Ramblers side who deserve enormous credit for not letting their heads drop at any point during a very tough day at the office.
Go back to all fixtures in 2019
For detailed information on each venue, please visit our Venues page