Goodwood v Sussex Martlets Match restricted to 30 overs. Martlets won by 18 runs.
Sussex Martlets 140 (Rydon 43, J Ashworth 32, Heaven 3-6, Mayne 2-31)
Goodwood 122-4 (Hayworth 46, Clifton 21, Bamford 1-17)
Instinct and observation said no, but the rain radar said yes … so the Goodwood game went ahead despite plenty of misgivings and mizzly conditions in which skipper Mike Murray negotiated the toss and was persuaded to bat in a game reduced at 3pm to 30 overs. Goodwood skipper James Mayne’s canny ruse nearly paid off as the Martlets struggled to 34-4 after 12 overs of tight bowling despite a soapy wet ball from Chichester Priory Park-by-Saturday and Goodwood-by-Sunday seamers Matt Geffen and Johnny Heaven. This flurry of early wickets brought dressing room panic as match-manager John Ashworth hurried to pad-up after an enforced return from umpiring duties. Narrowly surviving the time-out rule, he and Will Rydon shored up the middle order in a perky partnership of 45 with the farmer’s cultivated hitting balancing Ashworth’s more workmanlike swipes, which included an absurd but crowd-pleasing double-hit reverse sweep. Rydon eventually fell for a top-scoring 43 after which Ashworth continued to 32 before Murray showed us all how to really bat. His lower order partnership with Chichester Priory Park’s Aussie overseas player Dan Weigl also making it look very simple closed the Martlets innings on 140.
Steadily clearing skies above the cedar trees overlooked tea in the thatched pavilion as the players watched the Sunday workers erecting the pop-up village that becomes the Festival of Speed a month hence. We were delighted to welcome Chairman Stuart Ritchie and his son Matthew. The former assumed opposition umpiring duties as the latter made new friends amongst promising cricketing stars of the future.
As light aircraft circled before landing at the nearly aerodrome, Murray marshalled his refuelled fighters with great precision. Priory Park captain and opening batsman Mark Bamford turned into an opening seam bowler for his Martlets debut and treated us to 6 overs of miserly, unplayable hoops. Surgeon Chris Pring made some early incisions but had sadly forgotten to take his own warm-up medicine and pulled a calf-muscle forcing Rydon to complete his over. Gary ‘Donk’ Austerberry, Murray, Weigl and Frankie Ashworth continued and were particularly effective in restricting Goodwood’s ambition on what was by now a very fair batting surface and drying outfield. John Hayworth promised with 46 and Alex Clifton 21, but Tim (father of Tom) O’Dell’s self-sacrifice came too late for Heaven’s breezy 19 to make a real difference and Goodwood fell short by 18 at 122-4.
By now the sky was completely clear and beers were shared at this exquisite ground to celebrate the Martlet’s first victory of 2015. Richard Geffen’s return as Goodwood Chairman and head-groundsman has made a significant improvement to playing conditions, along with the availability of Golf at Goodwood ground-care machinery. An enhanced partnership with Chichester Priory Park and the Earl of March’s commitment of investment towards pavilion refurbishment mean that this remains a treasured and developing fixture. Finally, we gave thanks to scorer Yolanda Hinton and umpire KC Lee as we drank a toast to cricket, comradeship … and the rain radar.
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