Sussex Martlets Over-40s (219-6 in 35 overs; D Mann 103*, J Goodacre 54) beat Rottingdean Over-40s (145) by 74 runs
Again the Martlets were beset by players dropping out at the last minute but the Rottingdean skipper, Derren Bettsworth, kindly provided substitutes in the form of Chris McClachlan and a young colt, a left arm spinner Ravi, to make up the numbers.
Having won the toss and faced with the daunting task of deciding whether to bat or bowl, John Goodacre looked at the sun, views of the sea, the Downs, windmills, the bar and the deckchairs, and elected to bat. Having flown in from Angola to play, it seemed unreasonable not to allow Willy Boulter to open the batting with David Mann (who had travelled from Lancing College).
Perhaps it was the jetlag, maybe it was the sun, or perhaps it was the lack of familiarity with a cricket bat (evidenced by the moths fluttering around the changing room after Boulter had opened his kit bag), but having struck his third ball for four, Boulter thought it fitting that the last ball of his first over should go into orbit. So heading back into the pavilion whilst the umpire replaced the bails, the batsman was left to reflect upon the similarities between the celebrations of the 12-year-old colt who had bowled him and a rare Angolan tribal dance. This was not quite what the skipper (hurriedly finishing his pint) had ordered.
However, all was not lost. David Mann played some superb off drives and glances to reach 50 from 43 balls and the captain slogged away from the other end to reach 54 before being bowled by Ross Christie. With 127 for two off 17 overs the Martlets were well placed for a very high score. Rottingdean then bowled the next five overs for just ten runs before Mann unleashed a series of shots that took him to an unbeaten 103 from just 71 balls. Christie, Ledden and Browne for Rottingdean then restricted the remaining Martlets to ten runs each or fewer, Evette Burton being the exception with 19. Andrew Cantrell, for the second game on the trot, did not bat.
Rottingdean opened the batting with Ross Christie and their skipper. Cantrell bowled superbly to end with figures of one for 23. However at the other end, our man from Angola was weaving totally different spells. Arguably the batsmen succumbed to the pressure exerted by Cantrell, but Boulter took three wickets (two of them with consecutive balls) for 43 runs, ripping the heart out of the Rottingdean attack. Well, almost. There was still Christie there.
But when the spinners of Ravi and McGahan came on to bowl, it all changed again. McGahan took his first wicket in his first over – caught by Cantrell at slip. Ravi took the crucial wicket of Christie in his third over with a well-flighted ball. Lovely to watch a 12-year-old tweak and flight the ball like that. I hope he does not succumb to the pressures of modern cricket.
The remaining Rottingdean batsmen could not take the score much farther and a match played in the right spirit saw the Martlets heading into the bar to mop up the remains of a fantastic tea.
Thanks to Midge Martin for scoring and to Bryan Tomalin for umpiring.
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