It was a scorcher of a day again at Hustpierpoint College for the final match of their cricket week. Sussex Martlets won the toss on a belter of a wicket and with over 300 runs been chased down twice already this week, Martlets went about setting a large target.
Sam Cooper and Jeremy Bushell got them off to a solid start before losing Bushell for a quick 20. This sent in Adam Davies who had already terrorised this opposition twice this week with a hundred and a quickfire 40 previously. This time however after a breezy 20 he hit a short and wide ball straight to cover (a deep sigh of relief from the opposition). After losing Joe Waylett to some good spin bowling, it looked like it was going to be a day of starts for all the batsmen, however after losing Nikki Chaudhuri early, Cooper was not fazed and continued to find the boundary and rotate the strike nicely against the spinning ball reaching a chanceless hundred by lunchtime finding valuable support from Raj Chaudhuri.
This onslaught continued after lunch with Chaudhuri sweeping brilliantly and Cooper latching onto anything short and wide, he crept nearer to the first ever Martlets double century. After being dropped on 173 at long on, Cooper nudged his way over the 200 mark sending the crowd into loud applause. This meant Rebbetts could declare on 354-4 from just 48 overs with Raj unbeaten on 66 as well. A remarkable achievement from Sam Cooper and a knock that won’t be forgotten.
With such a flat wicket in play, bowling the opposition out would be a difficult task in which the chasing team had won each match at Hurst this week. Rebbetts and Hartland opened the bowling which proved to be a successful opening partnership as Hartland created pressure through tight line and length bowling. But it was Rebbetts who was able to extract some seam movement which found the edge, giving Martlets their first wicket. In the final ball before tea Rebbetts had another after the batsman decided to leave a rare inswinger from Rebbetts to give him his second wicket.
After tea, Martlets had approx. 30 overs to get 8 wickets. After a third wicket for Rebbetts, Martlets turned to spin to tie up the Hurst batters after the ball stopped swinging. Through the combination of Waylett and young Krishan Nayee, Martlets were able to find the perfect combination of left and right arm off spin, both finding turn. With inventive fields being used to try and entice the batsman into a forcing shot, Waylett was able to spin one back through the gate to hit leg stump. Soon after Nayee skidded one on to grab a deserved wicket.
Hurst did not give up there through, with the attacking fields they managed to find the boundary frequently for the next few overs which forced the change to Raj. With his experience he got us a wicket in his first over, giving Martlets that extra push they needed to go for the final kill. The father daughter partnership was introduced with Nikki’s leg spin proving successful at the other end with some great control and changes of pace. A brilliant memory was nearly created when she found the batsman’s edge, only for it to fly past Raj at first slip. This didn’t stop her as she went onto grab 2 of the final 3 wickets and ending with brilliant figures.
Another memorable moment was when Martlets Chairman Stuart Ritchie had their number 11 stone dead in front only for the umpire to give it not out because he thought he hit it! What a moment it could have been to end the match.
Sussex Martlets produced a brilliant, well rounded victory from whom every single player contributed and enjoyed the occasion. I very much look forward to managing this fixture again next season. I want to thank all the players for their effort and brilliance throughout the day. Not many better on a cricket field.
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