Sussex Martlets CC v MCC
MCC XI – 245 for 7 dec. from 50 overs (D.Murphy 83, W.Phillips 60, Michael Murray 4 for 34)
Sussex Martlets XI – 247 for 7 from 51.3 overs (Tim Wergan 111, George Read 42, T.Coldman 3 for 34)
In what is our longstanding tradition, the Martlets made our first visit of the season to Arundel Castle to face the MCC. What is also becoming a tradition is that the skipper (i.e. yours truly) arrives fashionably late and the toss has to be conducted by a stand-in, in this case self-appointed v/c George Read. Thankfully, George was on the same wavelength as his skipper, both having played often enough at The Castle to know that the best route to victory on its low, slow, batter-friendly wickets is to chase. On winning the toss, and despite the raised eyebrows in the opposing camp, George therefore had no hesitation in opting to bowl.
Ben Davies and Martlets debutant Archie Durrant shared the new ball, and Durrant in particular proved a real handful, extracting bounce and movement from the placid surface. However, it was Davies who provided the early breakthrough, castling one of the openers in the 6th over with just 15 runs on the board. This proved to be our only early success, as former Northants keeper-batter David Murphy, a century-maker in last year’s fixture, carried on from where he left off, putting on 102 in a 2nd-wicket partnership with Ritzema (44) before departing just before lunch to a catch in the deep – a good take by Henry Cope off the skipper’s bowling – for a run-a-ball 83. At 147-3 at lunch, MCC were well-placed for a post-lunch charge, and they signaled that this was indeed their intention straight away, taking 9 from the very first over after the resumption. Despite Durrant’s maiden Martlets wicket, a good catch at slip by Tim Wergan, MCC rattled along, thanks in the main to Phillips’ belligerent innings of 60 from just 44 balls. The skipper burgled three more wickets as the visitors’ batters hit out at the end, and MCC sportingly declared at 245 for 7 after 50 overs.
In reply, against an MCC bowling lineup boasting first-class experience, the Martets opening pair of Toby Pullan and Tim Wergan attacked from the outset, dispatching anything that erred in line or length. Pullan departed in the 6th over caught behind, but by this stage there were already 31 runs on the board. Wergan continued to accelerate, unfurling some powerful strokes through and over the infield in half-century partnerships with Luke Forster (15 from 29 balls) and George Read. Wergan reached his century from 99 balls, and when he was dismissed shortly afterwards for 111, the Martlets were seemingly cruising to victory, requiring just 75 for victory with 20 overs and 7 wickets remaining. However, with Wergan gone and Read struggling to find his timing, the MCC spinners were able to stem the flow of boundaries and the pressure started to tell. First Ed McCarthy (21 from 31) and then crucially a set Read (42 from 83) fell to MCC skipper Coldman to leave Martlet nerves jangling, with two new batters at the crease and 26 still needed from 6 overs. Archie Durrant then showed the fearlessness of youth, playing some attacking strokes and running aggressively. Despite losing Laurie Cadle and Joe O’Gorman in successive overs with the finish line in sight, Durrant (28 not out from 29 balls) held his nerve to strike the winning boundary with 3 balls to spare.
Go back to all fixtures in 2023
For detailed information on each venue, please visit our Venues page