The Sandy Ross Memorial Cup returned to the four-team T20 format in 2015, but with a twist. The Free Foresters unfortunately pulled out at less than three days notice, leaving the organisers in a panic. Thankfully, a team made up of St James’s Under-16s, a few older Martlets and assorted others was hastily assembled to play as the Sandy Ross XI, the only problem being that they had just nine players. The spirit of the occasion and the understanding of the other teams meant that this was not a hindrance.
On paper, the Martlets fielded a strong XI for this festival, but the previous night’s end-of-season celebrations had taken their toll on a few of our Sussex League players, and Adam Davies in particular was a shadow of his usual self.
We were drawn against the nine men of the Sandy Ross XI in our morning match (effectively a semi-final), and Adam Scott made the first schoolboy error of the day: thinking that the skipper was going to ask for a couple of players to sit out the game. Scotty got his hand up immediately only to find that he’d just volunteered to play for the Sandy Ross XI to make it a ten-a-side game, and was in the field.
His mood may not have been improved at the sight of our esteemed chairman giving himself the new ball for the Sandy Ross XI, but the Martlets openers Sam Cooper and Joe Ludlow were particularly pleased at this unexpected tactic. These two took 31 from Stuart’s two overs on the way to an opening partnership of 98 in just eight overs, Ludlow playing the role of the aggressor with 11 fours and a six in his innings of 60. The openers were dismissed within four balls of each other, but Phil Roper and Marcus Campopiano ensured that the innings didn’t stall with knocks of 53 not out and 32 respectively, meaning that the Martlets finished on a massive 202 for three.
The giant Rollings brothers, Jordan and Harry, briefly gave the Sandy Ross XI hope with some defiant blows to start their reply, but once they had been removed by Jamie Hutchings and Matt Stone in the first four overs, the result was never in doubt. Scotty gained a modicum of revenge on the skipper by hitting him back over his head for successive sixes, but the Martlets emerged victorious by 107 runs.
After everyone enjoyed a sumptuous lunch, it was Martlets v Cryptics in the final. Davo was delighted with the skipper’s decision to bat first, as it meant that he could go back to catching up on his sleep. The Cryptics attack, though, was a difficult proposition, as their battalion of medium pacers craftily deprived our batsmen of any pace and width, and at the end of the ninth over we had just 49 runs on the board and our top three were back in the pavilion.
Just as the skipper was getting nervous, Mark Trubshaw provided the required impetus, hitting three sixes and a four in his 18-ball 33, with Campo again providing solid support with a run-a-ball 33. Henry Cope provided a final flourish to push the score to a respectable 144 for eight.
Any fears that we might not be able to defend this total were swiftly allayed by some excellent new-ball bowling from Matt Stone. Getting appreciable swing with the pink ball, he removed the Cryptics top three during the power play and when he finished his four-over spell, he had the enviable figures of three for 11. The change bowlers – Cope (four overs, two for 19), Trubshaw (four overs, two for 19), and Murray (three overs, three for 15) – all made sure Stoney’s work didn’t go to waste, and Cryptics were dismissed in 18 overs for just 89.
The Martlets therefore retained the Sandy Ross Memorial Cup, which was presented by his son Will. With some rare sunshine, games played in a wonderful spirit, and a Martlet victory at the end, it was a day Sandy would have loved and of which he would have approved.
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