Last-ball thriller against MCC at Arundel
Report by Brian O’Gorman, Martlets President
Sussex Martlets 249-7dec (58 overs); D Smith 126, C Barnett 59
MCC 253-9 (45 overs); A Shales 91, O Howick 58; M Murray 4-47
The Arundel scene and a day of bright sunshine. Early shocks saw Martlets on the back foot with Sam Carter out against penetrative bowling and the team shortly found themselves five down for 56. But a glorious recovery stand by Dan Smith (126) and Chris Barnett (59) – their partnership worth 160 – saw Martlets on to 249 and a well-timed declaration. Significantly MCC had maintained a very high over rate throughout, enabling the closure to be made in timely fashion at 3.40pm.
In reply MCC soon lost the dangerous Cope – stump knocked out by Greg Iago. Captain Michael Murray soon turned to spin from Nick Peters, encouraging a positive reply and, naturally the best chance of winning.
Murray bowled himself from the Castle End for a couple of wickets and then gave way to spin. Mark Trubshaw was soon in permanent occupation from the Park End and with the required run rate tantalisingly balanced, kept spectators focused on every ball.
Murray then returned to ask his questions with variations of pace and flight. Sixes and boundaries were hit and in between catches were safely pouched at long on by the redoubtable Smith, finally removing A Shales of MCC for 91. Another was safely taken at deep square, only for the fielder step back over the line! A six instead of a wicket – which would have been a decisive advantage for Martlets.
MCC, particuarly O Howick, were hustling for runs and going for two in the long field only to see a remarkable throw from Smith hitting the non-striker’s wicket for a crucial run out of Michael Thornley. Another tour de force from the Martlets.
All might have seemed lost for the visitors but stout batting by J Haynes and Cambridge MCCU opening bowler Toby Pettman, enabled the winning runs to be scored off the penultimate over of the day.
This was the absolute cream of cricket. A credit to all the players and indeed to both captains who understand the game and went flat out for victory – and a marvellous illustration of the highest features of the game.
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