Sussex Martlets v Junior Martlets played at Arundel Castle
Sussex Martlets 235-4 dec. (D. Rebbetts 126*, M. Murray 58*) tied with the Junior Martlets 235 all out (B. Candfield 65*, M. Murray 3-29, H. Cope 3-51)
After a period of unreliable weather, we were all relieved to find that Arundel came up with another nigh on perfect day for cricket. As always getting there had its moments and Captain Murray found himself stuck in traffic at Lancing. This necessitated him texting the batting order ahead, so the score-cards could be printed. The Chairman was deputed to do the toss, which he duly lost. Some chairmen lose their jobs when results go against them, but you can always rely in this match on the opposition allowing their elders (and sometimes betters) to bat first – particularly if the wicket is green, which it was.
Meanwhile the teams were emerging from the highways and byways of Sussex as were numerous Vice Presidents to boot. A number had been on last year’s cricket and golf tour to Dublin. From the golfing party, Mark Bowden was present, dressed either as an undertaker or possibly as a Channel 5 cricket commentator. Either way, his services were not in fact required, much as his presence was greatly appreciated along with his father, former Chairman of Sussex Cricket in the Community Trust, of which the Sussex Martlets are Vice Presidents.
It is always good to see Trubby arriving on time even if hiding (as always) behind dark glasses. In fact it turned out that it was Nick Seager who needed them more. It was sobering to find that it was overwork to blame rather than over indulgence. Either way, both he and that other notorious school bully, Andrew Hartridge were summarily dismissed for 8 between them. From a score of 69-4 the day was rescued by a fine century by Darryl Rebbetts, aided and abetted by the ever youthful and now present Michael Murray.
The Juniors bowled their overs at an excellent rate and Michael was in generous mood, declaring at 235 after 54 overs at 3.15. This declaration had two effects. Firstly the closest of close finishes, and secondly, the necessity for the older VPs present to be dispatched home a little earlier to avoid any need for coronary care.
With twenty overs to go, the Juniors needed 105 with 5 wickets in hand. Betting expert Andrew Hartridge was offering excellent odds on what was to be the final result. Time for a secret weapon if ever there was one, and the weapon deployed (if no secret) was the captain himself, Michael Murray. Taking a wicket in his first over to end a partnership of 51, he bowled the final five overs from the Pavilion end.
It looked as if the Juniors were going to clinch it nonetheless, but in the end two critical run-outs cost them the game – their first and last wickets. The first had been the work of Henry Cope to dismiss J Ludlow, scorer of some 900 runs in the Hurstpierpoint XI this year. The final wicket/run-out was effected on the last ball of the final over with the scores tied, by the ice-cool Paul Walker, who scooped up a push for a single and returned it to Michael Murray at the bowler’s end.
One can only sympathise with Juniors’ Manager, John Bettridge. So close, but so far. If he had not lost his star player Garton, to the England Under 17s, maybe this would have been the year. Nonetheless, it was an excellent batting performance by the Juniors. B. Candfield, coming in at number 8, made a chanceless 65* so nearly won it for them.
We were delighted to have amongst us at lunch this year’s county beneficiary, Sussex and England’s Mike Yardy. That made three ex Sussex captains present on the day, Hubert Doggart and Johnny Barclay being the other two.
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