Sussex Martlets 195 – 4; Mark Semmence 129
Junior Martlets 157; Andrew Hartridge 80, Tom Gibbs 4 – 13, Rupert Thacker 2 – 8
This match was going to be Sandy Ross’ 147th and final appearance as a player at Arundel Castle. As always, it was also Vice Presidents’ Day and this ensured many of his oldest Martlet friends were present. Sandy was very much in all our thoughts throughout the day.
Nothing would have pleased Sandy more than his son Will opening the batting, his godson Tom Gibbs opening the bowling, and his place as captain being taken by President of the MCC elect, Johnny Barclay.
After an unpromising start – traffic chaos on the A27 necessitating a twenty minute delay to proceedings – the Seniors weathered some accurate opening overs and the loss of two early wickets. However, the usual excellent Castle lunch was enough to inspire Mark Semmence into giving a masterclass in one-legged batting, having ignored medical advice to take a month off for his injuries in favour of a ten day holiday prior to this innings.
The Juniors’ totals of 157 owed a lot to Andrew Hartridge (son of Charlie, the Martlets’ long serving secretary), who scored an excellent 80. The first Junior wicket was one that Sandy would have enjoyed above all others: ct. Ross (at short-leg), b. Gibbs. This reversal of the previous order of things was noted by David Gibbs, who recalled taking three catches at short-leg off Sandy for the Martlets vs Old Ardinians in 1976. (The OAs were bowled out for 83 with Sandy taking seven for 25, and the Martlets won by six wickets).
With Rupert Thacker and Johnny Barclay taking two wickets each, the Juniors found themselves unable to give Andrew Hartridge the support he needed to force a win.
Tom Gibbs, who opened the bowling for Chigwell 1st XI aged sixteen this summer, completed a storybook ending to this bitter sweet occasion, taking 4-13 off 6.5 overs and winning the Man of the Match Award.
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