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The Ancient Mariners vs Tillington
01-05-2011 at Tillington

Conditions: Rather pleasant if somewhat chilly later in the day...
The Toss: Tillington won the toss and elected to bowl
Mariner of the Match:
The Ancient Mariners won by 158 runs.

The Ancient Mariners Innings
206 for 9 (35 overs)

Tillington Innings
48 all out (23.5 overs)



With the Easter festivities firmly behind us, and the country still giddy after the recent Royal wedding, the second bumper bank holiday weekend saw the Ancient Mariners travel to Tillington, looking to bounce back from defeat in the season opener at Fernhurst some two weeks prior.

Yet another glorious spring day of the warmest April on record put an extra spring in the step of anyone lagging from the long weekend of celebrations. The Horse Guards Inn provided a stunning setting for the gathering Mariners, and there were early, if unheeded signs, that the day was simply going to be ‘one of those days’ – an expert replica of an adult Swan, complete with slumbering feline within, was the singular sight that greeted those clogging up the small bar, clawing for thirst quenchers and pints of perfectly kept Sussex.

Suitably refreshed, those who had chosen to meet at the hostelry decamped the short distance to the ground where skipper for the day, Mark Wootton, would set about the business of opening the Mariners innings having lost the toss and been asked to bat by opposing number Steve Hodd. With Jake Holmes at the other end the Mariners opening batsmen looked in relatively little trouble early on but once Q Murray, bowling up the hill from the cottage end, began to find some bounce back of a length, the innings quickly took a turn for the worst.

Jake Holmes was caught behind for 5 off the bowling of Q Murray - the first of 4 victims behind the stumps for the Tillington keeper A Rix. This brought Nick Barnes to the crease, and after a decent start he too was snared by Q Murray this time courtesy of a sharp catch in the slips. Tim Goldman then made his way to the crease and he could hardly have wished for a more challenging situation in which to test his mettle for his first knock of the season. But Murray was quick to strike; the sharp bounce he was extracting from the pitch had pushed Tim onto the back foot, only to be scuttled by a slightly fuller delivery that failed to get up as the others had.

All the while Mark was batting extremely diligently, watching the bounce carefully and punishing anything too full or too short on his way to a critical 25 – almost certainly worth 50 on any other pitch - before he too fell to the bowling of Murray. A superb fuller delivery moved off the wicket and took the edge giving Rix his second caught behind of the day, and Murray his forth victim in only his sixth over.

Things could hardly have been worse for the Mariners; 4 wickets down and the score stagnating on forty-something but when Will Westwood and Matt Beckett departed for 1 and 0 respectively - Murray earning his five-wicket haul in the process - a heavy defeat seemed increasingly likely. 49 for 6 was a slight improvement on the batting performance at Fernhurst, but with the pitch providing the bowlers with something to get their teeth into, it wasn’t looking likely that they could muster a competitive total for the Mariners bowlers to defend. But no one had reckoned on the Neil Hursey and Charlie van Oppen show, and what a show it was.



Seemingly unfazed by the carnage they had just witnesses, the pair set about dismantling the Tillington attack with a savage display of clean hitting and brute force that went some way towards making a mockery of the earlier troubles. With unerring regularity they deposited many a decent delivery in and around the grounds of Petworth House and the surrounding horticulture. Favoring the leg side, perhaps avid watchers of the IPL, the batsmen set about turning the game on it’s head with, even at this early stage, a contender for partnership of the season.

Boundaries were now flowing and the Tillington attack looked devoid of ideas as to how to dislodge the seemingly unmovable batsmen. Several more huge shots later and both men were celebrating their first fifties of the season and they could not have come at a more valuable time; Neil Hursey in particular seemed intent on leaving his mark at a ground where the Mariners have in recent years found victories hard to come by.


ROOFOne massive six from the blade of the ex-roofer, which firmly lodged itself in the slates of the pavilion roof only to be rescued by Will Westwood, complete with gasper, prompted several wags to suggest that Neil might have literally hit upon a lucrative business model – shot by shot dismantling the roofs of village cricket pavilions up and down the land, only to offer an exceedingly generous quote for the repair work!

They were finally dismissed having added nearly 150 for the 8th wicket, Neil Hursey caught behind off the bowling of Clayton for a swashbuckling 77 – Tillington Keeper A Rix bagging his forth catch of the day in the process – and Charlie bowled by Steve Hodd for an equally electric 65. The Mariners innings would eventually close on 206 for 9; a remarkable turn around given the perilous position they found themselves in some hour and a half before.


TEAAs always, the tea at Tillington is something truly memorable and the now contented Mariners tucked into the lavish array of luxurious morsels, and it seemed only their over exuberance with the scones could stop them completing a famous victory.

Taking to the field, bellies brimming with confectionary, it was wisely noted that many a game had been lost from a stronger position and despite the damage done with the new ball, the potentially match winning partnership between Neil Hursey and Charlie van Oppen was proof enough that runs could be scored, and a decent rate too, if the batsman could overcome the treacherous early conditions.

Will Westwood and Stephen Rough would open the bowling for the Mariners, and a steady if unspectacular start calmed any lingering fears and they did not have to wait long for the first break through - Stephen Rough dismissing D Hodd with an excellent Yorker in only his second over. This brought the dangerous Wickham to the crease and he immediately looked to get after the bowling, seizing on anything short duly punishing it, and with the doughty Steve Hodd at the other end, the Mariners would know that if they were to win the game they would have to keep these two quiet.

The combination of resolute defense and powerful shot-making was starting to yield results and the burgeoning partnership steadied the Tillington ship, the score moving along steadily before an excellent catch from Tim Goldman off the bowling of Westwood saw them reduced to 19 for 2 in the sixth over. Then, just as the batting of Hursey and van Oppen had earlier in the day, the Mariners bowling attack roared into life, heralding another remarkable sequence of events that seemingly only Sunday cricket can conjure up.

Having taken a wicket with the fifth ball of his fourth over, Stephen Rough produced a spell of 4 for 0 in 25 balls which, along with another wicket for Westwood - Wickham bowled dragging a wide one onto the stumps - saw Tillington reduced to 30 odd for 7. Westwood completing his 6 over taking 2 for 19 with 2 maidens and Rough finishing with the remarkable figures of 5 for 6 from his 8 overs including 4 maidens.


Captain Wootton then introduced Jake Holmes and Magnus Bowles in to the attack, and despite a brief rally from Tillington batsmen Groves and Spicer the innings was wrapped up in the 23rd over for only 48 runs, the Mariners victorious by the not insignificant margin of 158 runs. Jake finished proceedings bowling D Carriga for a 3 ball duck to return figures of 2 for 6 from his 6.5 overs and Magnus 1 for 7 from only three overs – the bowling simply too accurate and the pitch more than obliging when required.



Back at The Horse Guards some little while later, as both teams reflected on the remarkable game of cricket they had just been part of, the general feeling was not necessarily the one of astounded amazement one might expect. For there were too many players involved, that have played too many games of this wonderful sport of ours to be even the least bit surprised by what they had just witnessed. That is not to take anything away from any of the individual performances – for they are already the latest additions to the annals of Mariners folklore – merely that cricket, and more specifically ‘village’ cricket, never fails to provide the unexpected, the remarkable, the ridiculous and the sublime in equal measure, and indeed that is why we adore it so.



The Ancient Mariners Innings.

Batsman How Out Bowler
J Holmes ct A Rix Q Murray 5 - 1 -
M Wootton (c) ct A Rix Q Murray 25 - 3 -
N Barnes (wk) ct Q Murray 8 - 1 -
T Goldman bowled Q Murray 3 - - -
W Westwood ct D Hodd 1 - - -
M Beckett ct A Rix Q Murray 0 - - -
C van Oppen bowled S Hodd 65 - 6 3
N Hursey ct A Rix Clayton 77 - 11 2
M Bowles bowled Clayton 8 -
S Rough not out - 8 - 1 -
B Corke not out - 0 - - -
Extras   5b 1w 6      
Total   For 9 206      

Bowler O M R W
Q Murray 9 1 40 5
D Hodd 8 1 48 1
S Hodd (c) 7 1 45 1
D Groves 4 0 33 0
Wickham 5 0 27 0
Clayton 2 0 7 2



Tillington Innings.

Batsman How Out Bowler
S Hodd (c) ct T Goldman W Westwood 9 - 1 -
D Hodd bowled S Rough 0 - - -
B Wickham bowled W Westwood 13 - 3 -
G Westmore bowled S Rough 2 - - -
A Rix (wk) ct N Barnes S Rough 0 - - -
B Mitchell bowled S Rough 0 - - -
D Groves ct B Corke J Holmes 10 - 2 -
Q Murray bowled S Rough 0 - - -
L Spicer bowled M Bowles 5 -
D Clayton not out - 0 - - -
D Carriga bowled J Holmes 0 - - -
Extras   3b 2lb 4w 9      
Total   All Out 48      

Bowler O M R W
S Rough 8 4 6 5
W Westwood 6 2 19 2
J Holmes 6.5 2 6 2
M Bowles 3 1 7 1


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