Report by Michael Loveday
Warwickshire Pilgrims (231 for 7 in 40 overs; S French 64, R Rigby 50) lost to Sussex Martlets (233 for 6 in 37.1 overs; G Martin 56) by four wickets
On a sunny but breezy afternoon the Martlets gathered for their annual fixture against the Warwickshire Pilgrims at the Saffrons.
Managing a Martlets fixture was a new experience for yours truly and I must thank all concerned for participating and in particular Mark Trubshaw for his help and all our Martlet debutants for playing.
The Pilgrims can be quite a strong side. The Martlets lost the toss but surprisingly the Pilgrims elected to bat on a green-top – the previous day Eastbourne had skittled St Lawrence for 80-odd and so we were happy to be fielding first.
We opened the bowling with David “Twiney” Twine and James “Junior” Briggs – one of three debutants from Heathfield Park. The green-top did very little and both opening batsmen played with confidence, getting the Pilgrims off to a very good start by making good use of the short boundary on the football club side.
The opposition’s start was generously supplemented by Junior bowling two overs’ worth of no balls. The skipper did remind Junior that we only intended to play a 40-over match, that we had started late (due to some late Pilgrims arrivals) and that ideally we were to conclude our innings before dark.
The Pilgrims were on 30-odd after five overs when Junior struck with an indifferent ball that Antrobus guided to gully and a well taken catch by Trubshaw. The Pilgrims continued to amass runs. Martlets regular Will Wingfield-Digby was introduced into the attack to find conditions perfectly suited for a high class spell of swing bowling.
G Randhawa was cunningly stumped by Adam Davies of his pads and R Rigby, who was really starting to wind up was well caught by Trubshaw. “Wingers” bowled eight overs for 18 runs which was just what the Martlets needed to bring back control.
The Pilgrims middle order started to accelerate and the Martlets switched around their bowling with Dan James and James Parker, debutants from Heathfield Park and Mayfield respectively, bowling well in the circumstances and with an unfavourable boundary on one side.
Parker took two useful wickets and both he and Mayfield colleague Will Nicklin showed exceptional fielding skills, saving many runs. The Pilgrims innings concluded with spells from the exemplary Twine and Trubshaw tying them down to a total that appeared 20 or 30 runs short at 231 for seven off their 40 overs. The highest scorer, S French (64) was bowled by Twine.
The Martlets reply opened with Davies (33), fresh from a fine 80 at Christ’s Hospital the previous Wednesday, and George Martin The pair put on 74 for the first wicket, both playing wonderful strokes against the pacey Mashinga. Spin was introduced and turned out to be Davies’ downfall but Martin continued to put the hammer down with Trubshaw. Martin was out for a fine 56 and Trubshaw followed with a belligerent 45 to his name.
Enter Ollie Robershaw and Nicklin. The former played some lovely strokes but was out cheaply for 14, sadly Nicklin did not get off the mark but can consider he was very much in credit for all the runs saved in the field. Martlets were now at 155 for five, still some way to go with the light fading.
Junior and Wingers were at the crease the left-hand/right-hand combination working well. Wingers went for a quickfire 14 but Junior continued to play a measured innings with Dan James. The pair saw us through with Junior ending 40 not out and James 26 not out with three overs to spare.
A great afternoon’s cricket against high quality opposition. Many thanks to the Warwickshire Pilgrims for hosting at the fantastic Saffrons and to the umpires and scorers for making the day complete.
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