Petworth 158 all out 38.4 overs, (J Hunt 3-16, P Walker 4-26)
Martlets 157-8 40 overs (M Chapple 46*, S Ritchie 36)
This was an idyllic way to conclude the over 40s season. There can be few settings as beautiful, especially on such a gorgeous late summer day as this.
Petworth were, as last year, wonderful hosts. They had spent the Saturday night enjoying a club fund raiser with live bands, a marquee and hog roast, washed down with a keg or two from the nearby Langham brewery. We enjoyed the remains of the hog roast for tea…..and the pints they had kindly saved for us.
After the toss was recklessly lost, we found ourselves fielding. Chapple’s spell of 7 overs, in very warm conditions, bordered on cruelty by the skipper. Only 17 runs were conceded and whilst 3 maidens were recorded, somehow a wicket eluded our demon bowler. At the other end Alex Brooker, on Martlet debut, gave his all and was rewarded with his first Martlet wicket of many to come. David Messenger and Julian Hunt bowled extremely tightly. DM was unlucky to only bag one wicket while Hunt`s figures of 3-16 in 9 overs miraculously restrained some potentially big hitting batsmen…well they were big!
Walker brought himself on to grab some of the tail, but it was the Secretary who stole the show with the final wicket, to conclude a crafty cameo.
Well kept Phil Savage and well fielded Messrs Jackson, Bushell and Burton. The temptation to gaze at the enchanting clouds, the beautiful House and its grounds or the odd hot air balloon was, on the whole, resisted.
The plan of settling down to listen to Day 5 at Old Trafford, where England would undoubtably salvage a draw, whilst the openers knocked off the 158 went slightly awry and we found ourselves 14-3. Messenger, Bushell and Jackson all departed at the hands of the PPCC skipper Alex Rees. It was left to Ritchie, catapulted up the order to 4 to settle nerves, sort of. As England hung on for dear life, so did the Martlets. In his absorbing (according to Stuart) 100 minutes at the wicket, we went from 14-3 to 89-7. Savage and Burton and battled bravely, especially Evette, with a gritty 13.
By the time Chapple joined Newman the Ashes were lost and the Martlets needed 70 off only 8 overs with but 2 wickets in hand (and one of them was yours truly). A shadow of gloom had descended on the Indian summer.
Every Stokes needs a Leach apparently and although the Sec recorded a sprightly 13 before a selfless run-out, it was Chapple who was so nearly our Ben. His 46, in no time, had left us needing 4 of the final ball to win. The cherry was struck to the boundary, as so often in this fine innings, alas there was a fielder present to rather un-sportingly prevent the ball crossing!
So a draw! Drinks in the blissful, balmy evening, with the opposition and scorers. Thanks to Yolanda for her expertise on that front and for Richard Holden for umpiring. Can`t wait until next time!!
Well played all, winter well and see you at the Dinner on 15th November at the County Ground.
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