Sussex Martlets 128
Shopwyke Strollers 130 for 3
Whilst England`s finest were being put to the sword in Bloemfontain, the Martlets were also outclassed by superior forces at Priory Park. After last season’s slightly one-sided affair, the skipper had been assured by the strolling Martlets, Sam Tod and Kevin Smith, that a more “balanced” side would appear against us this year. This was not entirely accurate information.
England`s shock qualification to the second round in South Africa, after heroic performances against the might of Algeria and Slovenia meant recruitment problems when the inevitable drop-outs began in the days leading up to the Priory Park clash. We had already suffered a Beckham-esque loss when Murray announced that his birthday celebrations would prevent him partaking. The loss of Ferns and Rydon were the cricketing equivalent of losing Ferdinand and King.
The morning of the 27th broke, sunny and fine, but still only 10 men, despite single-handedly helping Orange and BTs shares into orbit. Yet possibly those battling Yanks were the answer. Last year it was his brother David, this year Anglo-American Jonny MacDonald was plunged into a bizarre new world. He was given a low down on cricketing etiquette by his cousin Harry (3 years old), who hours earlier had been preparing himself for his Martlet`s debut.
We batted and started promisingly. Ed Lamb and Mark Chapple looked at ease until both were undone by James Tod. A battling 37 from new boy Mike Margarson steadied the ship before a sad collapse.
By 3.30pm Germany were 2-0 up and we were 128-9. Inspiration captain’s performances materialised from neither Gerrard nor Walker. During an extended tea interval things got worse. We watched the second half of the football.
Plucky bowling by Paul Mansell and Martin Troy, 2 new enthusiastic candidates, held the Strollers at bay for some time. However, even the best endeavours of Tucker and Cantrell could not avert the inevitable. Special mention must go to the tidy keeping of Greg West and the spirited fielding of all, especially Tom Fountain and “Jonny Mac”.
Consolation beers, on a beautiful summers evening in the park took some of the pain away. Despite the result we’d given it a go in a gorgeous setting for cricket. The opposition were friendly, the tea had been pleasant (save for the football) and not a vuvuzela in sight or ear-shot. A number of new, keen players had made their Martlets debuts and been signed up.
The Stollers were warned to expect the big guns next time round. Creedo, Harrison, Murray (your 2011 birthday is cancelled), Martin-Jenkins, Montgomerie, stand by your phones!
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