On a beautifully sunny day at the spectacular Arundel Castle, Stragglers of Asia won the toss on an excellent looking wicket and chose to bat. With a strong looking Martlets’ team they looked to Ronaldo Holder (Mayfield overseas Barbados quick) and Ian Hartland to pursue some early damage. However, Stragglers looked strong against the new ball and on a flat wicket they began to build a solid opening partnership. With no early breakthrough, Martlets turned to Jo Waylett to provide the first wicket, LBW. Stragglers continued to churn runs, not quickly but productively. It was again Jo that deservedly got Martlets’ second wicket, caught and bowled. 91-2 read the scorecard and honours even, you would say. Martlets in control of the run rate, but Stragglers in control on wickets in hand on an excellent batting wicket. After lunch Holder bowled an excellent second spell, picking up the dangerous Sibi Kahn (bowled), who scored 28 off 26 runs as Stragglers looked to kick on towards a declaration. At 130-3 Martlets’ turned to junior Martlet Toby Shepardson and his leg spin to try and turn the tide Martlets’ way, and he most certainly did. His first three overs cost 0 runs and he took 3 vital wickets! The three card trick of a long hop that got a leading edge, a straight on delivery that got the wicket (LBW) of opening batsman Jo Cavendish for a well-made 61 and finally a brilliant leg spinner that hit the back leg of Asher to take his figures to 0-3 off 3 overs. Stragglers now at 155-6 because of an innings changing 3 overs. However, it was good to see a fight back from the Stragglers who put on a quick 58 before Toby deservedly picked up his fourth wicket and finished with figures of 7 overs 4 wickets for 35 runs before a declaration at 213-53 overs. Jo Waylett was the next best figures of 13 overs 2 for 68. Although it is important not to forgot the seam bowlers efforts on a non-seamer friendly wicket with all three seamers going at 3 runs an over or less with a combined 31 overs 1-84, an important part played from Ian Hartland, Ronaldo Holder and captain Darryl Rebbetts.
It was now Martlets turn to chase down 214 to win off a predicted 47 overs. Paul Walker and Jano Muller were the men sent to begin the task of chasing down the runs. However, it didn’t start without excitement with Jano smashing the second ball at short cover (bouncing short) but splitting the finger of Kahn (Australian overseas opening bowler at the other end). Captain Rebbetts left his team to continue the run chase while he took Kahn to Chichester hospital! At tea when he arrived back, Martlets were 86-0 with Jano on 66; continuing his fine form for Martlets this season. However, with the overs ticking down, Stragglers began to turn the screw with leg spinner Nelson-Jones and off spinner Hoodey. Jano being caught excellently on mid-on boundary by our own sub fielder Jo Waylett for a brilliant 82! Walker got caught and bowled for a well-made 32. Ben Davies and Frean went cheaply for 10 and 1 respectively at 154-4. It was left for Darryl Rebbetts and Dylan Hector to try and chase the final 60 off 10 overs. It was a beautifully timed partnership, taking it to the final over needing 4 runs to win. Unfortunately Hector was bowled off the first ball for an excellent 50 off 58 balls leaving wicket keeper Akers-Douglas to hit the winning runs with 3 balls to spare with an excellent shot for four through square leg. Leaving Darryl Rebbetts 29 not out off 26 balls.
An outstanding victory for Martlets who only had 44 overs to chase down the runs after the early injury! A great day for everyone involved; spectators and players on both sides. Particular highlights were Toby’s 3 wickets in 3 overs and Waylett’s super catch on the boundary to defy Muller from a third potential hundred for the Martlets. This shows what an admirable brand of cricket Martlets play week in, week out, and that’s exactly what we want to continue to play. We look forward to playing Stragglers again next season.
Darryl Rebbetts (Match manager)
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