In a battle of suitably epic status, the Sussex Martlets failed to slay the valiant Hector but managed to sack the citadel of Lancing College nonetheless.
Sam Carter – match manager, captain and Patroclus – won the toss and elected to lay siege to the Lancing Rovers top order on their own territory. First into the attack were the twin trebuchets of Josh Burrows and Will Sawyer, who landed several heavy blows early in the battle. At 40 for four the home team needed a Hector to save them and their champion (surname Laughton) responded to the call. An attack of fearsome quality followed, marked by swingeing blows over midwicket, one landing in the tennis courts some distance beyond the Martlets encampment.
Sensing that the battle could not be won by force, Carter turned instead to cunning and his own Odyssean craftsmen. Derek Horsham, Paul Walker, Nick Beck and Shomit Dutta resolved to trick rather than force their way through the remaining Lancing defences. And so while Hector continued to cause mayhem on one flank, moving from 50 to 100 with alacrity, warriors succumbed regularly in the fray at the other end of the battlefield. When a temporary truce was called, Lancing had recovered to 213 for nine from 48 overs.
Fed, watered and with Athena as his guide, Patroclus Carter donned his armour and strode forth alongside Jens ‘Achilles’ Richardson to resume battle. There would be only one victor.
Fighting back-to-back, for honour and glory, the two champions shared a partnership of 177 before Patroclus Carter fell ten runs short of his own century. Enraged, Achilles Richardson resolved to avenge his partner and finish the war once and for all. With four needed for victory and six required to reach his own century, Richardson swung his blade violently for one last time. With the ball arcing through the air towards the boundary, the Martlets began to celebrate.
Alas, war is a cruel sport. And although mortals from both armies swore they had seen the ball land beyond the rope, the twins gods of scoring and umpiring deemed otherwise. Match won, Richardson stranded on 98 not out.
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