Report by Darryl Rebbetts
Sussex Martlets (289 all out in 42.2 overs; B Davies 171, M Reynolds 68; J Brichaut 5-74, D Burston 2-43) beat Old Hurstjohnians (108 all out) by181 runs
Being match manager for such a brilliant match was my pleasure. It was a beautiful day at Hurstpierpoint College where once again Sussex Martlets locked horns in a very tight encounter.
I won the toss and chose to bat on what is normally an extremely flat wicket. However, with the rain from the previous days there was a good amount of seam movement for the opening bowlers, who removed Ian Hartland and myself cheaply.
Matthew Reynolds, who has made an excellent start to his Martlets career, was standing strong at the other end with some beautiful strokeplay. However, Stuart Ritchie, Krishan Nayee and Joe Akers-Douglas also fell cheaply leaving the Martlets struggling at 50 for five. Calling for a Martlets’ moment, Ben Davies, in his first season as a Martlet, arrived at the crease.
Davies began brightly, hitting the bad balls to the boundary as batting seemed to ease a tad. But we never like to make things too easy and quickly lost two more wickets, Matthew Reynolds and Harnoop Kalsi, before lunch to leave us struggling at 97 for 7. With a total of 150 in mind we cheered loudly at every boundary hit by Davies. The fours and sixes continued, and by now good-length deliveries were flying to the fence.
As his captain at East Grinstead I knew Davies had the talent to hit a long ball but have never seen it to this degree of brutality! As 200 neared, Davies had scored more than 90 per cent of a 100-run partnership with Henry Gane before continuing with Ben Hawke (overseas of St James and gap-year student at Hurstpierpoint).
An excellent 100 turned into an astounding 171 before Davies finally found a fielder on the boundary. One hundred and seventy one runs from 106 balls speaks for itself and having been 50 for five and 97 for seven, the Martlets were out for more than 250. A repeat of the previous year’s double hundred was nearly completed! I am sure I will get plenty of batsmen queuing up to play in this fixture next year!
The bowlers, full of confidence, knew that early breakthroughs were important on a wicket that gets easier with the older ball. Hawke delivered with the very first ball with a quick in-swinging yorker and that set the precedent. Wickets fell regularly as seam bowlers Peter Hartland, Davies and Ian Hartland bowled excellently. The spin bowling quartet of Henry Gane, Kalsi, Nayee and Reynolds bowled beautifully on a tiring wicket, accessing turn and bounce and bowling out Old Hurst for less than 150.
Once again it was an excellent day for Sussex Martlets and one that was thoroughly enjoyed by all who participated and supported. I am already looking forward to the double hundred contender for next season! Well done the Martlets.
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