What a beautiful setting for a game of cricket Lancing College is. However, on arrival, we learnt that cricket may not enjoy the status of a favoured sport at the school. We heard that the 1st team were not particularly strong, don’t play any declaration cricket, and on Saturdays only play 30 or 35 over games. Having been been bowled out for 90 by MCC the day before, they were a little low on confidence. Still, they had 13 students in the squad that day, and so skip decided that his bowlers should be set the task of taking 12 wickets, only after which we discovered that the game had to end at 6pm (HM’s orders).
There was no toss, so as to allow Martlets to bat first and to try to curate a good game (and give the Chairman a chance to get there). The track was listless, with the ball stopping in the surface. Martlet debutant Sammy Hart, opening with Freddie Ferro, looked good for his 18 before he offered up a catch. Luke Forster quickly followed suit. Freddie Ferro kicked on to score an attractive 42, before falling to the first really decent ball of the day – one that pitched middle, seamed and took off. All the while Tom Naish was steadily compiling runs. Nick Beechey came in and scratched around, before lunch was taken at 1.30pm. Degsy being Degsy had a ‘short’ appointment in Lewes he had to attend and so left us at lunchtime, returning just in time for tea. Over lunch the sun came out and the track lost a bit of its stickiness, making it a little easier to time the ball. Naish was caught for a well crafted 74 and Beechey was caught for 35. Our two Australian guests, Alex Osborne and Mitchell Heywood, had a bit of an unfortunate mix up, resulting in Osborne being run out for 2. The declaration came at 203-5 off 42 overs.
Martlets were blessed with a nicely varied bowling attack. We opened up with Heywood and Daniel James, both of whom bowled with control, Heywood producing maidens in his first four overs. Lancing’s openers stuck at it and did not get flustered until Webb, who had looked a promising bat, set off on a suicidal run. Changing up the pace, Osborne came on with his leggies, taking a couple of wickets with his wrong’un, and Billy Bastide (another Martlet debutant) settled into bowling his left arm wobblers well. Bastide picked up a leg side stumping courtesy of some very tidy glove-work from Ferro. Then Paul Walker and Horsham (having resurfaced) paired up for 8 overs together, with Walker (2 for 38) deceiving a couple of batters into heaving skywards – Heywood and Hart taking good catches. With the last 10 overs to go, the College were on 120 odd for 6, and Martlets still needed 6 more wickets; it was time to push for the win. Daniel James broke through quickly, Osborne taking a sharp catch at second slip. James then had his figures dented somewhat, going for four fours off his next 10 balls. Osborne was back at the other end, with Beechey rolling back the years by going under the lid at short (very) silly mid off. Lancing lost another wicket to Osborne, but were still scoring boundaries with some well timed shots. Heywood replaced James, and got fired up after having a caught behind not given. Heywood’s pace proved too much, and he ran through the longer than usual tail, taking 4 for 1 from his 2 overs, ending with figures of 4 for 4. Osborne finished with 4 for 38, and the College were all twelve out for 152 (Webb 26; Richman 41; Hannington-Hodge 24; Franklin 18).
Off-field, top marks went to the Chairman for his astute identification of Rowley Birkin QC.
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