MARVELLOUS MARTLETS MARCH TO SIXTH STRAIGHT WIN
Martley continued their fine form with a thumping win at top-of-the-table Alvechurch and Hopwood.
The hosts won the toss and elected to bat making a steady start through J Pilkington and M Hayward before Mark Johnson dislodged the latter’s wickets, 46-1 from 13 overs.
That paved the way for a profitable spell for the leggy opener who bowled a fantastic 3-28 in 10 including 3 maidens, removing batsmen 2,3 and 4.
James Ganderton entered the fray after no fortune for Simon Van Tongeren and Dan Johnson (0-61 in 10) and he removed Pilkington for 35 as the game swung heavily in Martley’s favour, the home side stuttering to 95-4 off 23.
But enter K Rostill, who landed some very hefty blows to recover his side’s innings. The usually reliable hands of Alexander Basford let slip the wicket of the big hitter when he was early in his innings while Richard Birchley dropped the man at the other end, leaving Rostill to make Martley rue some missed opportunities as he blasted some enormous sixes off Gandy and Jamie Howes on his way to 82. And when Tom Vale misjudged another big hit downfield, Martley were sensing a big job ahead as Rostill had rocketed his side up to 149-4 in the 30th over.
However, Vale’s blushes were spared when Howes bowled the slogger just a couple of balls later, not long after he’d taunted the batsman that he wouldn’t need to worry about the sightscreen because he’d be out in a second.
With Howes’ 1-50 in 10 and two more scalps for Gandy on his way to 3-48 (10), Martley had turned the game with Alvechurch losing three wickets for four runs in four overs (153-7 from 34).
However, the pedal came off the metal to some extent for Martley, as N Tongue (21) and D Wolstencroft (38) pushed the score to 202-7 off 43.
Enter shuttlecock-bashing Pete Gardner, who after crying about his glass shoulder, bowled dangerman Wolstencroft with his first ball. The Hillbilly then returned to chuck some full bungers before deceiving one of the tail enders by actually pitching one short, which the batsman chipped into the air to gift Veets his wicket (1-26 from 6).
The last wicket partnership got too many as C Batteley (13no) and Tongue put on 34 before Gardner finished the job in the final over, ending with 2-20 off 4. 239 all out was certainly within Martley’s sights given their recent knack of scoring 300-plus, but it should have been a much lower total.
Fuelled by a marvellous tea including pulled pork wraps, skipper Dom Jones decided to open alongside Gandy, playing sensibly to 42-0 off 8 before the latter nicked one to the keeper, out for 17.
Birchley then perished for 7 after spooning one in the air but at 94-2 off 17, Martley were in poll position when a heavy downpour struck. Very slightly concerned about the 20 overs needed for a result, Martley returned to the field without losing any overs due to the time, and quickly strolled to a sublime victory.
Thanks to some tosh bowling, Jones and Basford smashed it round the park along with the 35 wides. At 156-2, still needing 84 to win, Alvechurch brought on their openers to try and break the partnership and off the first ball of Batteley’s second spell, Jones’ pre-meditated dil-scoop for 4 was pure arrogance but also pure entertainment for the rest of his teammates, who were ready to get on the beers.
An old Martley side may have been guilty of a collapse in such positions but such is the depth and confidence of this batting line-up, the pair put on 148 to breeze to the 240 target in just 31.5 overs. Basford’s 90no was chanceless and eloquent while Jones’ straight-hitting 82no a treat to watch.
With a £10 match fee, it was an expensive day for the likes of Tom Clement, who at least got to do the scoring, and Tom Vale, who only had pad rash and a dropped catch to show for his day’s work.
Joking aside, it was another fabulous win for Martley who still sit fourth due to wins for Lye and Rushwick, but with their current form, they’ll be expecting to beat whoever gets in their way here forward.
Martley’s unbeaten 5 week run came to a to an end with a stuttering defeat to Stourbridge 4ths. On a bone hard bouncy top Martley’s decision to bowl seemed vindicated when returning school swat Jamie King bowled the Bridge opener with 3 runs on the board but the big bhaji eating No3 with his only scoring shot being the pull helped turn things round. Both James Francis and King bowled tidy spells but failed to make further inroads, it was late call up Will Edwards who delivered a crafty long hop outside the off stump for the other opener to smack it to point where King gratefully accepted the offering another quick wicket to Shaz Shamim saw Stour teetering at 60 for 3. Unfortunately, Martley entered a phase of aimless cricket allowing the opposition to reach 120 but with some tighter fielding and a good c&b from Shamim to remove Khan for 30 and the Bhaji Monster for 40, Shaz finishing with 3/30 off his 9. At the other end another returnee Alec Francis aka Mr Grumpy was keeping things tight picking up a couple of wickets to reduce Stour to 140 for 7, some clean striking from 8,9 and 10 saw them total 202 all out probably 40 more than they should have got.
Tea, courtesy of Mr Stuart Watt was wonderfully presented on vibrant red and white check tablecloths, it made us wonder if we were on a set of Oklahoma, an array of antipasti including a bowl of jelly babies was polished off. Well played Stu and all his own work he assured me. The Martlets reply got off to a brisk start thanks to a plethora of wides and at 15 overs were 80 for 2 and in the box seat until Darryl Lymer (18) refused an easy single to long off and paid the price bowled next ball. Watt joined the fray and played diligently in his defence and the run rate started to creep up and the momentum of the innings swung towards Stourbridge. Jim Basford attempted one big shot too many and skied to cover, gone for 49, Watt opened up and made the most of 7 dropped chances to accumulate 25. At 145 for 7, 202 seemed along way off but some lusty blows and keen running by Tom Butler and Mr Grumpy gave the home side a glimmer of hope but one tight single too many saw Mr Grumpy get even grumpier being just short of his ground. The last rights saw a ‘goldie’ for King obviously thinking of his next exam before the Martlets ground to a halt 20 runs short. A good game played in the right spirit.