The famous old Sheffield Park ground looked in very good condition on a pleasant and warm late Summer’s day. For the Martlets, Mike Murray won the toss and elected to bat in this 40 over game.
Adam Davies and Ben Pullan started well putting on 82 before Ben was bowled. Adam began his innings with great patience adjusting to a wicket that initially offered a little something for the bowlers; once he got the measure of it, he played an exceptional innings of great timing, invention and pace, ultimately scoring 109 in 107 balls. He was well supported by Mike Murray whose 47 helped the Martlets to 172 before Mike was caught. Thereafter the rush to make the most of remaining overs resulted in a steady stream of Martlets’ wickets who eventually closed their innings on a total of 232-9, a score that looked about par score for the wicket. The Armadillos’ bowlers shared the honours equally but with Leefe, the pick of the bunch, taking 3-48.
The Armadillos started strongly and at a pace but by the 4th over they had lost 3 quick wickets to Matt Stone who found some swing with their total on 24. Despite this encouraging start, the fourth wicket pairing of Turner and Tim Davy (Phil’s son) who was captaining the ‘Dills, put on 116 in a powerful display in only 14 overs. Turner scored an impressive and muscular 118 before he was caught on the boundary off Paul Walker’s bowling. This wicket let the Martlets, who were looking as though they were being significantly outplayed at this point, back into the game. Paul Walker and Mark Trubshaw bowled well to contain the ‘Dills thereafter but Mike Murray’s timely introduction to the attack caused the fall of 3 quick wickets. Needing 20 runs to win in 6 overs with only one ‘Dills wicket remaining, the match’s conclusion became thrilling and nail-biting. However, the hosts stuck to their task and won in the 39th over.
Initially, the Martlets’ bowling was too often erratic giving away 34 run wides but the fight back was impressive resulting in a wonderful game of cricket that ebbed and flowed throughout set in delightful surroundings. Matt Stone ended up with 3-29, Mike Murray with 3-25, Paul Walker 2-27 and Mark Trubshaw 1-27.
Licking their wounds the Martlets retreated to the Griffin Inn seeking solace in Mr Harvey’s Best Bitter and, despite the result, reflected on a good contest!
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