The Martlets won the toss and batted in this 40-overs per side match played at King George V ground, Newick. Just as well – a couple of the Martlets XI turned up a little late, still in their (very brightly-coloured, but by now slightly dishevelled) outfits from the previous night out in Brighton at a 30th birthday party! Newick bowled very tightly on a typically sporty Newick wicket with pace and bounce. The Martlets lost a couple of early wickets but opener Mike Murray steadied the ship with a patient 37, he put on 52 for the 3rd wicket with the flamboyant Matt Stone. Matt Stone’s 73 was the cornerstone of the Martlet’s total, he was ably supported by Charles Davies with 22 not out. For our hosts, Rifath Haque took a wicket and conceded only 15 runs in his 8 overs, Scott Warren claimed 2 for 12 from 4 overs. Martlets reached 171 for 9 from their 40 overs leaving the skipper a little nervous over his peanut butter sandwich.
Clearly the skipper should have had more faith in his excellent and well-balanced bowling attack! Charles Davies set the standard with 3 for 17 off six. Matt Stone steamed in to dismiss the dangerous O’Rourke before the skipper turned to the wily off-spin of Lack and the wacky chinamen of Epstein. It was a fascinating 16-over spell with the batsmen doing their best not only to survive but to try and score – a great contest between bat and ball. Crucially, Epstein trapped Newick’s finest, James Waylett, for 39. But Johnny Barnes (52 not out) looked well set and Newick still had plenty of batting left to come. So, what does one do when the result is in the balance and the Newick middle order look to be staging a potentially match-winning revival? Throw the ball to Murray, the baby-faced assassin, of course! Five overs, 3 wickets for 5 runs later – job done! The skipper, now so confident of victory, even risked a couple of overs at the death himself. Newick ended on 146 all out in the 39th over to leave Martlets as 25-run victors.
It was an excellent game of cricket that ebbed and flowed and was much tighter than the eventual winning margin suggests. Thanks to our hosts for a great wicket, an exceptional tea and hospitality. Also thanks to all the players who contributed to such an enjoyable day.
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