Sussex Martlets 296 – 7, Archie Leon 123, Mike Harrison 62, Ben Scott 36*, Jaco Nel 35*
MCC 69, Ben Scott 5 – 11
This was without doubt one of the more extraordinary fixtures to have managed and played in.
The manager had two injuries late on Saturday evening after League matches and was down to 9 players at 8pm! Having picked up a couple of last minute replacements the Martlets won the toss and batted with only ten players turning up!
There was a strong St George’s contingent playing in the game due to the manager’s influence and at 15 for 3 from 6 overs (with three of the six back in the pavilion) all was not looking good for a full days play, especially with the MCC needing only 9 wickets. Archie Leon, last minute replacement, came to the crease and played with the fluency required to dig us out of trouble. Assisted by the manager they put on 153 for the fifth wicket with Archie scoring a superb 123 and the manager 62. Thanks to some excellent hitting prior to declaration from Ben Scott (36* and St George’s 1st XI) and Jaco Nel (35*, last minute replacement and Eastbourne overseas) we were able to declare at half time on 296-7 – quite a recovery from just 46 overs!
It was always going to be a difficult task taking to the field as large as the Castle with only ten fielders. The batting line up for the MCC was as good as I have seen in many years as agreed by Sussex Martlet and MCC manager for the day Patrick Goodwin. A couple of Irish internationals, an ex-first class cricketer plus some batters who have played county second XI cricket meant we were going to be up against it. However, what transpired was one of the more bizarre two hours of cricket Patrick and I can remember. At 37 for 3 off 13 at tea all was certainly not lost for the MCC with their line up but the Martlets had done well to get a good start. It did help that the Martlet fielding was superb. Nick Kent (St George’s 1st XI opening bowler) found the hard edge of the number three bat and it flew as fast as any shot all day though the gully region only to be taken in the most spectacular fashion by Philip Ellwood. A truly top class gully catch. After tea was taken the manager then bowled two beamers each hitting both batsman on the glove, an apology and a warning from the square leg umpire was followed by a low full toss for two and then a yorker hitting middle stump. He was very embarrassed and apologetic and admitted to not having bowled a ball prior to the game…he soon took himself out of the attack! Just after this though was the incredible 6 over spell that Ben Scott bowled. He returned with figures of 6-3-11-5, four wickets were bowled and the fifth an LBW any umpire could have given. His medium seam bowling had experienced batsman in all sorts of trouble on the Arundel pitch known for its runs. Both captains agreed it was a mixture of superb seam up stump to stump bowling in addition to batsman missing the ball! To add to the result Will Grant (St George’s 1st XI wicket keeper) took 2 for 0 off 7 balls to end the match and helping bowl out the MCC for just 69, a winning margin of 227 runs with only ten men – like I said at the start, extraordinary!
Thanks to all who played, the Arundel Castle hospitality and to Brian O’Gorman for keeping the St George’s connection strong on the day and supporting me at the ground.
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