Petworth 182 for 10 38 overs, (D Messenger 4-51)
Martlets 167-10 36 overs (S Ritchie 50)
This was, as always, an idyllic way to normally conclude the over 40s season however in this hopefully unique season a couple of matches remained. In this strangest of summers, one did not have to ponder long over the question; why, even at our ripe old ages we so love to play and watch cricket?
No remains of a hog roast for tea this time, but Petworth were, as we have come to expect, wonderful hosts. This is their one and only declaration game of the season and they have grown to appreciate the nuances of the format that many Martlets rightly treasure.
The Skip had trouble with his abacus in the lead up and found himself with 12. Typically Petworth had 12 too. No problem, game on!
After the toss was (yet again) lost, we found ourselves in the field. Mike Murray and Nick Beechey opened up and Mudders was almost unplayable. Nick was playable ….just.
Farmer Will came on with Dave Messenger and both bowled admirably. Will somehow didn’t get a wicket, Dave got 4!
Jonny Wills turned his weary arm over, as did the skip. At the 10th wicket No 11 wandered back to the pavilion, having forgotten that 12 batspersons (for the formidable Ms Burton was in our ranks) were allowed for each side. The last wicket partnership, that took the hosts to 182, proved vital.
Fielding point number 1 to General Patrick Jackson. PJ played with a gammy foot, never once complained and put his body on the line (couldn’t get out of the way of a couple of on-drives quick enough). Fielding point number 2 goes to the energised Alex Brooker, keeness personified.
Well kept Phil Savage, but we`ve come to expect that.
As usual enchanting clouds, the beautiful House and its grounds and the odd hot air balloon held us transfixed during tea.
There were some impressive and inspirational offerings on the culinary front. Special mention to Caroline Ritchie`s cream tea, Auntie Wills stunning spread and Angela B`s crunchie bars!
Wills and Ritchie, the dream opening pair for any captain, put on 79 for the first Martlet wicket. Stuart ended up, thanks to some lusty blows, with an admirable 50, Willsie a graceful 23.
Burton, Goodacre and Rydon chipped in with valuable contributions, but as the hot air balloons circled, too many Martlets were departing at the hands of the PPCC skipper Alex Rees. But we kept chasing and it was absorbing stuff.
By the time 12th man Walker (who else) wandered out to the middle the run rate had got a little out of hand. 17 required of the final over and Murray brought a dose of realism to proceedings. We (he) survived and an honourable draw it was.
All 4 possible outcomes had been possible up until the last few balls.
Drinks and laughter with the opposition and scorers soon followed. Thanks to Yolanda for her expertise on that front and for Richard Holden for umpiring. So glad, after at times a gloomy sporting year, that this special match could happen.
And the answer to why we oldies still play and watch?
Simple – it makes us happy.
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