Rebbetts century keeps Martlets in control
Sussex Martlets 260-3 (37 overs); D Rebbetts 104*, A Pickard 69*
St James Montefiore 250-6 (41 overs); O Bradley 112, D Rippengale 87; M Hartland 3-38
A 68-ball century from captain Darryl Rebbetts meant that the Martlets were in control of this game throughout, although St James came within only ten runs of victory — perhaps just a little too close for comfort.
Having agreed to play a timed game despite the 2pm start, Rebbetts set his sights on the kind of first-innings score that would more ordinarily be made in an all-day game. He had been given a solid platform by the Martlets top three, coming to the wicket at 59 for two after 15 overs and playing himself in carefully.
When St James turned to their change bowlers, however, Rebbetts changed pace. He brought up his half century from 40 balls, with a six, then raced to his century from just 28 more deliveries. All bowlers suffered, with legspinner W Siebert conceding 96 runs from nine overs, M Wheatley 53 runs from four overs and Peter Hartland — ordinarily a Martlet — shown no mercy in being hammered for 42 runs in four overs.
The pick of Rebbetts’ strokeplay was a gigantic six over long on, struck with a nearly straight bat off the back foot. There was little respite for the bowlers at the other end either, with Arthur Pickard making an increasingly destructive 69* from 50 balls, including three of his own huge sixes.
The rate of scoring enabled the Martlets to declare at 260 for three after only 37 overs, with Rebbetts and Pickard unbeaten. The generous declaration almost proved their downfall, however, when an opening partnership of 167 in 28 overs, between Olly Bradley and D Rippengale, took the home side to within sight of the Martlets total. The St James opening pair apparently intent on proving what a good batting surface their groundsman had produced.
Scoreboard pressure eventually proved just a little too much for the home side though and when Rippingdale was finally caught for 87 off the bowling of Will Forster, new batsmen came and went with regularity as they struggled to keep up with the required run-rate.
A particular highlight of the Martlets bowling innings was the spell of bodyline down the hill from from Steven Harman at his former schoolmate M Rippengale. Harman, having apparently been told by Rippengale that he was slow, was warned once by the umpires for persistent short-pitched bowling but had the last laugh when Rippengale, who had been swiping at the short stuff like a picnic-maker at a wasp, was caught at cover off Harman’s bowling by a diving Josh Burrows.
With Bradley still at the wicket, however, a St James victory remained possible. All day the opener had been driving crisply down the ground, reaching an impressive century from 112 balls but being caught at point shortly after off the bowling of offspinner Kaisi Harnoop. At that point, St James needed only 26 more runs for victory and had Bradley not been dismissed, might even have been favourites for the match.
In the end, however, the St James tailenders could not replicate Bradley’s clean striking — certainly not against the returning opening bowlers Martin Hartland and James Brehaut. Hartland finished with three for 38, including the wicket of his father.
St James finished ten runs short at 250 for 6, drawing the match having faced four more overs than the Martlets.
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