Sussex Martlets v Junior Martlets at Arundel Castle 31st August 2020.
Hope for some cricket in 2020 swung back and forth throughout the early part of the Summer. The politicians described the cricket ball as a “covid bomb” and we were told that there was no chance of recreational cricket starting until 1st August. Although explosive experts dismissed the potentially warlike qualities of the ball as myth and that led to a political U turn to allow cricket to start in mid July, it was too late to save the bulk of the Junior Martlet games, which were scheduled for the latter half of the month. Arundel, however, was a beacon on the horizon. The date had to be changed but Bank holiday Monday was fixed for the annual clash and Club Day at the Castle.
Despite missing a couple from the initial selection, a nonetheless handy Juniors side assembled eager to defend the trophy that was won last year for the first time. Skipper Ryan Trotter won the toss and dutifully inserted the senior side. The right arm, left arm seam opening attack of Aiden Drew and Hugo March proved very steady and they kept a gag on the openers. Drew had John Ashworth caught behind by Joe Willis in the 11th over. Sam Carter and Jordan Shaw briefly accelerated but after adding 23 runs Rafe Liebers struck a vital double blow in his second over by trapping Carter LBW before capturing the vital scalp of Darryl Rebbetts via the safe hands of Sam Clark. Ben Davies and Shaw doubled the score before Jack Trubshaw had the benefit of the LBW appeal against Shaw. With 10 minutes to go before lunch Toby Pullan came to the wicket; a bit late you may think for him to come in but he’d been doing time for having arrived late at the ground having hitched a lift with the dramatic member of the Martlet bowling attack! Despite having been encouraged at lunch to pile into seconds by the Junior’s manager Toby’s batting was free flowing in the afternoon and he top scored with 57. Two runs later the declaration came at 218 for 7.
Joe Willis and Anish Padalkar opened up for the Juniors with Michael Murray taking the new ball. Always a sly move to start with a spinner; it’s just not in the opening bat’s contract! Disconcerted, Anish fell for the trick in the first over! Willis and Sam Clark began to recover the equilibrium but the latter had the rough end of the LBW law. This brought Oscar Jago-Lewis to the crease and he and Joe were accelerating well until Oscar hit over one that didn’t bounce from Ben Davies. Rafe Liebers at 6 played some fine shots and brought about a change in momentum that might have helped to see the Juniors home but after he went for 28 the tempo fell away and the gulf widened. By this time the hitting power was probably not there to reach the target. Ryan Trotter decided to play a captain’s sheet anchor role. Jamie Hamilton stayed with him for some time. I would say at this point the option of the draw is seldom part of schoolboy cricket these days so the mentality for a bit of grind of that sort is not necessarily an in born part of the younger players’ game. However Ryan and those who followed showed admirable determination in forcing the draw and thus with nine down at the end retained the trophy. As Brian O’Gorman, the President, said in his speech at the end. “Don’t forget a draw is a result.” I certainly admired their spirit.
For me it was certainly a heartening note on which to end my 10 year tenure as the Juniors’ manager. There is certainly a tremendous enthusiasm to play Martlets type cricket at the junior level and for me, above all, it has been great fun. That is just what any game should be at any level. My thanks go to many players over the years, for the hearty support from parents, grandparents and the members of the Club.
Sussex Martlets 218-7dec. Toby Pullan 57, Jordan Shaw 42, Ben Davies 36, Stuart Ritchie 28no. Rafe Liebers 2-21, Ryan Trotter 2-31, Aiden Drew 2-33.
Junior Martlets 171-9 Joe Willis 44, Rafe Liebers 28, Jamie Hamilton 19, Oscar Jago-Lewis 18. Ben Davis 4-35.
Go back to all fixtures in 2020
For detailed information on each venue, please visit our Venues page