Result: Lost by 141 runs
It was on the Wednesday morning, the Stragglers (and guests) came to town… After playing last season in the hallowed grounds of Arundel Castle, this summer Stragglers faced the might of the Sussex League with the scenic backdrop of Hurstpierpoint College Chapel.
Stragglers won the toss – and with a mix of cloud scudding across the sky, and a greenish wicket, put the Martlets in. Vila opened from the Chapel end with a testing spell of late swing, while Blackhurst, struggling with injury at the other end, was quickly replaced by Bennie’s left-arm pace and movement. Martlets made a steady start but once Vila broke through courtesy of James “Buckets” Allsop, a flurry of wickets derailed Martlets’ progress and had them reeling at 84-4. Rebbetts and Pickard had other ideas however and steadied the ship, batting with increasing confidence to put 118 on for the 5th wicket.
Rebbetts finally fell, flicking a leg-stump half volley to deep backward square leg where Savage Junior made a lot of ground and dived full-length to take a superb catch. Ah, the impetuousness of youth. Not satisfied with this, now square of the wicket but still on the fence, he took a second excellent running catch to send Shaw back. Another collapse beckoned, but Akers-Douglas joined Pickard to see Martlets reach 250 and the declaration.
In reply, the Martlets’ bowling attack stretched the definition of “friendly cricket” to new lengths. Both Shaw and Hartland bowled challenging lengths with pace and movement, and quickly reduced Stragglers to 14-3. James pere et fils dug in and weathered a storm of short-pitched bowling, adding 40 painstaking runs, but both fell in a handful of balls to leave Blackhurst and Vila to start the rebuilding process.
29 runs later the process repeated itself, both batsmen being winkled out when ‘set’. Bennie and the stalwart captain Savage set course for the safety of the far end of the final hour, but Bennie then misjudged the line and had his stumps rearranged. The lifeboat action continued with first Perry and then Savage Junior, but the captain’s doughty rearguard action finally ended with safety only a handful of overs away.
In retrospect, several Stragglers felt that this had become something of a mismatch – not only in terms of the strength of the opposing teams, but their approach as well. Thankfully the younger guests went home enthused by the spirit of their team and excited at the prospect of future games for the club.
Team Batting First: Sussex Martlets
|4||Rabbetts (*)||Ct E Savage||J James||82|
|7||Shaw||Ct E Savage||J. James||1|
|9||Horsham||Did Not Bat|
|10||Jackson||Did Not Bat|
|Hartland||Did Not Bat|
|Overs: 46||Extras: 27||TOTAL: 252 for 7 wkts declared.|
Team Batting Second: Stragglers of Asia
|2||T Lerwill||Ct Shaw||Hartland||3|
|3||Mitchell (g)||Ct Bradley||Hartland||2|
|4||M James (g)||Ct Bradley||Jackson||33|
|5||J James (g)||Ct Bradley||Maclean||3|
|6||W Blackhurst||Ct Bradley||Jackson||12|
|7||T Vila||Ct Shaw||Rebbetts||16|
|8||H Bennie (g)||Bowled||Shaw||5|
|9||P Savage (*)||Ct Bradley||Shaw||12|
|10||I Perry (+)||LBW||Hartland||1|
|11||E Savage (g)||Not Out||0|
|Overs 46.2||Extras: 16||TOTAL: 111 (all out)|