After a beautiful memorial service in memory of Derek Semmence, the Martlets won the toss and chose to bowl. The game was reduced to 40 overs a side due to rain the previous two days. John Bishop and Degsy opened the bowling and got us off a fantastic start with tight bowling which really troubled the batsmen. John Bishop found the edge a couple of times but sadly just evading fielders. The opening batsmen were resilient and saw off the opening bowlers. Rhys Hunt and Rohit Ryan replaced John Bishop and Degsy. Missed chances did not help the Martlet’s case as the opening batsmen both surpassed 50. Rhys Nelson produced the highlight of the day with a moment of magic on the deep mid-wicket boundary- to this day I am unsure how someone could manage to catch the ball three times and still manage to drop the batsman in the end! Debutant Avinash Malhotra managed to make the first breakthrough of the match making good use of a slower ball and was smartly taken by Joe Akers-Douglas. Unfortunately this gave the new batsmen a licence to “hit out” which caused the score to increase to nearly a run a ball. Rohan Ryan managed to get the second breakthrough after a good catch by Hector Loughton at cow corner. After an impressive first spell, John Bishop was brought back on and managed to dismiss Tim Moses for 46. Malhotra bowled tightly for the final over of the innings and the Old Hurstjohnians amassed 231-3 in their 40 overs.
The Martlets began their pursuit of 231 in the worst possible way. After losing Hector Loughton in the first over and Luke Nelson in the second, the Martlets found themselves 3-2. Things did not improve once we lost Nick Beechey next who must have thought the best form of defence is to attack and was caught at point trying to hit a ball to square leg. Worthing overseas player Rohan Ryan played a couple of beautiful straight drives down the ground before being unluckily dismissed for 10 after hitting the ball onto his pad before being given out LBW. Might have been the best made 10 in history! Debutant Avinash Malhotra and Hugo Gillespie desperately tried to stabilise the innings. Malhotra played some sweet shots through the leg side and Gillespie hit our first maximum of the innings. Unfortunately this was short lived once Malhotra lost his wicket – leaving the Martlets 34-5. Sam Cooper came to the crease and tried to hold up an end while Gillespie freed his arms playing some fantastic sweep shots. At the drinks break, the Martlets were 66-5 and were praying for the rain to come down. Shortly after the break, Cooper tried to flick one over the pavilion and unfortunately missed – being trapped right in front of middle stump. Joe Akers-Douglas stay was short and sweet – only required the one delivery after losing his off stump. Fortunately John Bishop blocked out the next ball to prevent the hat trick from being completed. The lower order provided very little resistance which was a shame because Gillespie was striking the ball so sweetly. The Martlets fell just 131 runs short of the hosts being bowled out for 100 – Gillespie remained unbeaten on 43*. The Martlets will have their revenge next year and will come back stronger than ever.
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