Report by John Bettridge
The College ground at Hurstpierpoint made a wonderful setting for this first foray into the short form of the game between the wandering clubs of the three counties. The first success of the day was the weather; the second was Felix Talbot arriving early by train from Chichester, despite the rail strike!
The initial game was between The Junior Martlets and The Junior Band of Brothers. The latter won the toss and elected to bat.
Junior Band of Brothers (145-6; A Moen 66, H Forster 59; J Gander 2-18, T Heath 2-26) beat Junior Martlets (137-5; A Kumar 53, H Moorat 28, T Heath 27) by eight runs
The features of the Junior BB’s innings were the very accurate opening spell by 14-year-old Josh Gander with his two early wickets; the second of which cut back to bowl the number four round his legs. This was followed by a fine stand between Moen and Forster, which was eventually broken by Tom Heath’s seam bowling. Lex Wills, behind the stumps, put in a tidy performance too. In fact he only conceded one bye in the whole day. Tight bowling and quick wickets at the end restricted the total to 145.
The Junior Martlets innings began with an early stumble when Greg Iago was bowled with the score on eight but Ash Kumar, the captain, and Harry Moorat established a firm base with some fine shots to put on over 80 for the second wicket. Moorat then got too far under one from the off spinner to be caught. Kumar progressed towards his fifty in company with Tom Heath, who helped on the scoring rate at just the right moment. We needed 23 off the last three overs but sadly both were out in the last two overs and we were stranded eight runs short at the end. It was, however, a tremendous game of ebb and flow. Unfortunately Luke Heath aggravated an old injury attempting a big hit at the finish.
Junior Band of Brothers (171-6; A Moen 67*, S Memary 30, C Auster 26; O Henetson-Brown 3-21) beat Hampshire Hoggets (143-5; L Doran 46, M Taylor 24, O Henetson-Brown 24; S Memary 2 for 11) by 28 runs
After lunch the second match between the Hampshire Hoggets and the Junior Band of Brothers took place, followed by the final game in this round-robin format
Junior Martlets 100-9 (Toby Shepperson 42; O Henetson-Brown 3-21, R Armstrong 2-3, W Wyatt 2-13) lost to Hampshire Hoggets (102-2; H Robson 46*, L Doran 34) by eight wickets
The final game was between the Junior Martlets and the Hampshire Hoggets.
A shaky and rather slow start saw the Junior Martlets at 16 for two after five overs with the two important potential run-scorers back in the pavilion. Greg Iago tried to move things forward but after scoring 15 attempted to lift one far away only to hear the rattle of timber. Enter Toby Shepperson; his 42 gave real backbone to the overall performance but sadly the overs ran out and so did the partners, leaving the Junior Martlets with a total that was always going to be hard to defend, particularly as injury had depleted the bowling attack.
The Hoggets were clearly men in a hurry from the outset and attacking batting from H Robson and L Doran all too rapidly ate into the slender target. In fact final destruction came after only 13 overs as the sun began to set.
The day was an experiment, which all agreed was well worth repeating. I hope it becomes a regular feature of the junior fixture lists of the three famous wandering clubs for it did just what sport should do: bring people together.
There are many who deserve thanks for making the day work. The Hurst ground staff had made what is a beautiful place to play cricket look at its best. The caterers too gave us “The Sussex Cream Tea”. The scorers and umpires had a long day of vital work and the players enjoyed themselves. What else do you need?!
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