It was the hottest day of the year so far – 30 degrees. With the merciless sun beating down upon us, the placid landscape of Seaford College was turned into a polite version of a spaghetti western, thus setting up opportunity for allusions to good, bad and ugly cricket later in the report; after a short traffic-induced delay, mad frogs and Englishmen went out in the mid-day sun in blatant disregard of the theme.
The home team entered the fray in well-balanced order, inasmuch that they comprised 5 youngsters, spanning U12s to U18s, 5 definitely seniors, spanning eons, and one in the middle (thank you Darryl).
The Frogs openers took their stance and Darryl Rebbetts began to fire them in. The prospect of a couple of hours in the sun wasn’t helped by the lack of a new ball but there was plenty of zip and pace from the opener nonetheless, ably supported at the other end by Martlets debutant (one of seven), Nick Chapple, who bowled with great control in an economical spell in which he was unlucky to remain unrewarded.
The first wicket fell to a fine diving catch by the keeper, Quinny, off Darryl R – the first of four catches behind the stumps in the innings. There then followed a tidy spell by the stalwart, Deggsy Horsham while at the other end, Felix Talbot bowled his left arm seamers to great effect, bagging the wicket of the dangerous-looking, pugnacious number 3, caught behind.
Meanwhile the Frogs’ Antipodean, left handed opener had dug in and survived the danger. Until, after an inspired bowling change decision, Alastair Smith took his wicket with his second ball. This was followed by a lively spell from Alex Margarson, who conceded only 12 runs off 7 overs, also taking one wicket.
At this stage, things were looking quite good: 100 for 5 off 31 overs. Cue Mark Chapple to have a spell. Exhausted by all the bowling change decisions, this spell of bowling was perhaps less inspiring. However, there was still time for one more debutant to come on and bowl: Luke Chapple stuck to the task long enough to bag his first Martlet wicket, caught behind by Quinny.
The Frogs declared on 191.
Now for the Martlets’ reply: it was important that the seniors set an example of control, patience and resilience in the face of a difficult challenge. Alas, then, for the first ball of the innings. Deggsy didn’t quite manage to clear the infield with his lofted cover drive in what was an audacious, and would-be inspiring beginning to the innings.
This brought in Quinny to join Mark Chapple who, still rather tired from decision making earlier on, managed one boundary before succumbing to a straight full toss. Quinny stuck it out for long enough to acquire 10 and Alex Margarson joined Alastair Smith at the crease. This partnership was to be worth 76 runs; Alex raced past his 50 in short order with some much needed and highly effective hitting, before falling lbw to the leg spin of O’Gorman, while Alastair supported ably for his 16.
At this stage, the Martlets were 107 for 5 but with only 7 overs to go. The required run rate for a win was 12 per over. Darryl gave it a go. It was looking quite good, quite briefly. Caught on the long on boundary before he could get going, he returned to the relative cool of the pavilion.
So, once again, time for the sensible, patient approach to close out for a draw, then. Felix Talbot takes the crease; a sighter, a couple of runs and then the blur and whoosh of bat though air as the ball continues blithely on to the stumps.
Now we were 7 wickets down with 6 overs to face. Could we survive?
James Hicks falls to more spin; 8 down and 5 overs to go.
Luke Chapple encounters a Googly from O’Gorman: 9 down and 4 overs to go.
Nick Chapple safely navigates to the penultimate over but now it’s George Hicks, the youngest of the party, to face the craft of O’Gorman’s leg spin.
The ball is too good, and the Frogs win by 75 runs.
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