Report by Will Rydon
Sussex Martlets (244-3 in 42 overs; J Montgomery 150*) beat Seaford College (226 all out in 51.3 overs; J Medley 50; J Waylett 4-52) by 18 runs
It was mentioned more than once what a fantastic setting Seaford College is and what a bonus to be playing cricket in May and on a Tuesday without it raining.
The Martlets always manage to create a tight and evenly-balanced game here and this year was no exception. Fortunately the Chairman found an overseas player from Hassocks, Jacob Montgomery, his beautifully constructed 150 not out and Joe Waylett’s endurance spell of 15 overs with four wickets helped to sway the result in the Martlets favour – but not without some heart palpitations.
The Martlets batted first, posting a total of 244 for three. The first-wicket partnership of 151 was a joy to watch with some mighty striking from Montgomery supported by Peter Lamb (44). The pace of runs continued steadily, Matt Reynolds (16), Stuart Ritchie (10) and Evette Burton (8*) allowing the declaration at a couple of minutes past three o’clock. The College had bowled steadily through the early onslaught and stuck to the task admirably. Their captain, Alex Hudson, took two of the three wickets and was helped by six others, notably 13-year-old Hugo Gillespir who bowled with great shape and variety and will be one to watch in the future.
The Martlets took the field and opened with Will Wingfield-Digby (two for 36 off 8.3 overs). His uncontrollable swing in the opening over had the skipper in mortal danger at first slip but a swift realignment soon had him back on a steady line and length, making the first breakthrough in his fifth over.
The old adage of “catches win matches” certainly did not apply to the Martlets on this day, if we had, then the game would have been over before tea. Paul “Safe Hands” Walker had a memorable day in the slips along with four other Martlets, the skipper missing the easiest of the lot. Henry Cope (two for 38 off 11 overs) bore the brunt of this failing and his opening spell of left-arm spin proved too good for the College batsman and the Martlets hands. The opening bat for the College, Josh Medley, settled in and batted well making 50 whereupon he was caught (yes caught) by Joe Akers-Douglas’s reliable hands behind the stumps off Waylett on the last ball before tea.
All looked fairly secure for the Martlets with the College 91 for four, a rallying partnership between Ben Twyford (28) and Andrew Dixon (47) soon changed that and the score found its way to 154. The breakthrough came with the another great catch from Akers-Douglas off Waylett (4 for 52 off 15). This was the start of Waylett’s final six overs of his marathon 15, in which he took three for 12.
What might have been a swift end to the match was again thwarted by another resurgence by the College this time led by Gillespir (27). Now well into the last 20 overs and with runs flowing towards the target the odds favoured the College. Fortunately the Martlets could draw upon the variety of Walker (2 for 75 off 12) and his pace, or lack of, as he managed to get Isaac Thornley (17) leg-before. Questions were asked about whether the ball had enough velocity to remove the bails – needless to say he rebutted this and then left the field.
With seven overs remaining the College needed 36 runs with two wickets in hand – at which point the Martlets skipper was being quizzed about his early declaration. The unlucky Cope was called upon again and fed up with the fielding abilities of the rest of the team, opted to do it himself and bowled the No 10, Charlie Constable (11).
Thus we came to the final three overs, with 18 runs needed and the last pair in. To the relief of the skipper, the steady Wingfield-Digby returned to do what all opening bowlers do in lengthening shadows: bowl a straight fast one. Game over and a happy victory for the Martlets.
My thanks go to John Betts for scoring, Trevor Drake and Robin Lush for umpiring, Dan Joseph and the Seaford boys, the catering staff of Seaford College and the Martlets team for making it such an enjoyable day.
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