Like all classic novels, The Martlets’ fixture against Seaford College offered layers of subplots: Hugo Gillespie returning to his old school; BACA pupils Toby Toft, Stan Mayne and Archie Durrant taking on the private school pupils; club chairman Paul Walker battling against his son Harry; and Seaford College sports’ coach Archie Trevethan turning on his own pupils. The tempo of the match was duly set.
A dry and true wicket determined that the bowlers had to work hard for their rewards. Yet a slow outfield ensured that run rate was likely to be a factor in deciding the outcome of the game.
The Martlets were invited to bat first. Both Hugo Gillespie and Toby Toft demonstrated their range of class in scoring 71 and 84 respectively, against a bowling attack of good pace and accuracy.
Some of the more senior Martlets had spotted the luncheon spread and decided to prioritise accordingly. As well as the gastronomic pleasures, we were treated at this time to some thoughtful words from Chris Adams (Head of Cricket, Sussex CC, England) and Paul Walker (Knaresborough CC, Goodwood CC and Sussex Martlets). Both reflected on the value of sport and the personal connections people make through sport; it was agreed that The Sussex Martlets excels in this regard.
A timely declaration of 222-9 was made after 50 overs of good quality bowling from Seaford College. At the time it was recognised that the total may be slightly short of the one needed to win the game, but the Martlets had confidence in their varied bowling attack. Archie Durrant demonstrated impressive pace and consistency, Stan Mayne was pleasingly parsimonious, as was Nick Beechy.
Paul Walker astutely skippered the side such that the changes in bowling allowed for the run rate to become a decisive feature of the Seaford College innings. Despite losing just 2 wickets, the Seaford College team struggled to squeeze out the runs they needed. At 1730, having faced 29 overs, the last 20 overs commenced with Seaford needing 5.5 runs per over to reach their target. Hugo Gillespie and Stan Mayne skillfully kept up the pressure. But with just 4 balls remaining, Seaford College managed to seize victory.
The last paragraph of the day was written in The Cricketers in Duncton. The day’s rivalries were recounted, friendships were consolidated and The Martlets signed off on another successful day.
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