Chairman Paul Walker assembled a fine dozen men to face the Petworth team at their great venue, for a fixture always much anticipated for the fantastic views, friendly oppo and seemingly guaranteed late summer sunshine. Four of the
number played tennis (the Real version, not that grass based stuff) at Petworth House in the morning, demonstrating the Vets have unusual reserves of energy and initiative.
Declaration terms were agreed and Paul promptly lost the toss, unfortunate in 30C temperatures. At 92-0 from 18 overs Martlets were certainly feeling the heat, after Jules Hunt and Johnny Wills had opened the bowling tidily but without luck. Michael Murray then bowled Westmore for 45 and an over later smartly caught the dangerous Richard Iago for 1 off Jeremy McGahan. Next over he dismissed the in form Tom Creed for 42, thanks to a tricky skier to Jules, and suddenly it was 100-3. Fresh from a stint in Hong Kong, Kirah Ambroziak scored a quick 14, before rather optimistically thinking her firm hit to the always safe hands of Murray off Messenger had been a bump ball; then Morrish and Iveson settled in for a partnership of 85, which threatened to take the game away, were it not for some savvy bowling and smart fielding.
Martlets stuck at it, without chances going to hand, until Dave Messenger took
a well-judged catch in the deep off Walks: he then thought he was being called for a second spell, but it was the other David M, our favourite Aussie, who of course took a wicket, a well-earned stumping for Phil Savage. Meantime Degsy had bowled a great spell of 6 overs for 21,without luck, whilst the skipper at the other end took 1-26 off 7 with subtle variation. These two skilfully kept the run rate under 5.5 an over and, with a little encouragement to the oppo from Degsy on the boundary, tea and declaration came not a moment too soon at 4 pm after 45 overs, with the score 242-6. Nine bowlers used by the resourceful skipper and nary a catch dropped.
After a slightly prolonged and really excellent tea (even including pizza!), our genial umpire KC got things underway again. Boulter missed the only ball that moved off the seam all day (!), then Jules came in and swatted his second ball for 6. Dave Mann
was well caught and bowled after a speedy 29 to make it 55-2, and then poor Dave Messenger got a golden lbw – possibly another ball that hit the seam! However, our other barrister Nick Beechey kept the superlative Jules company in a partnership of 121, running singles on demand and hitting three boundaries before being unluckily run out for 30 by an outstanding direct hit from Tom Creed.
Meantime Jules carried on sublimely, striking the ball cleanly and choosing his shots astutely, hitting 12 fours and 6 sixes in an eventual 133 not out, which with cameos from Stuart Ritchie, Phil Savage and Johnny Wills took us over the line with 6 overs of the last 20 in hand. 245-6 scored off 32.4 overs ! Jules has
been playing more golf than cricket recently, hopefully this performance will encourage him back to the Vets ranks more often. He of course offered to buy a jug but sadly too many drivers around – I think that’s one in the bank for the projected Jersey tour next May, which he has committed to attend provided he gets a good tee-off time in the morning !
All in all another beautiful day at Petworth, and the Vets second win of the summer: many thanks to KC Lee (umpire), Adrian Swift (scorer) and the Petworth Park Cricket Club for their hospitality, which we always look forward to.
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