First match of cricket season is cause to celebrate at Goodwood

The all-important toss / Picture by Kate Shemilt
The all-important toss / Picture by Kate Shemilt

The first game on the re-laid cricket square at Goodwood was a reason for celebration as Chichester Priory Park seconds took on Sussex women, who were captained by Georgia Adams and coached by Alexia Walker.

There are no records to suggest the original cricket square was ever professionally created. It is far more likely that generations of groundsman have just developed the pitches from the natural South Downs turf, not ideal for cricket; hence its reputation for slow low bounce.

Goodwood and Chichester cricketers are delighted the Duke of Richmond and his team gave the go ahead for the reconstruction of the square last autumn.

The work has been undertaken by AT Bone Sports Solutions with Andy Mackay (Sussex head groundsman) advising. The seed has taken, and a thick new sward of grass now covers the 13-pitch square. A renovated square takes time to settle and it is likely to take until next season 2020 to see the real benefits.

Chichester batted first and scored 201-3 off 40 overs. It was a slow start against accurate Sussex bowling. Henry Whitby (13), Owen Spicer (29) and Alex White (31*) made useful contributions with the main knocks coming from both Will Parker (51*) and Johnny Heaven (52*) who both retired. Chiara Green bowled six overs for 21 and Hollie Young took 1-26.

Sussex made a rapid start with Adams (43) and Ella Wadey (12) putting on 63 for the second wicket in 11 overs. The introduction of James Stemp (2-14) and Spicer (1-14) slowed the rate.

Carla Rudd scored an excellent 55 to add to her fine keeping. The rest of the order succumbed to Heaven (3-21), John Ashworth (2-41) and Ben Gregory (1-26) and Sussex were out for 174. It was a good competitive game, played in freezing conditions.

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* The first day of the 2019 Goodwood CC season was highly significant for two reasons – a chance to play on the relaid square and a Goodwood stalwart’s 500th appearance for the club.

Before the match chairman Richard Geffen congratulated Matt Beard on his 500th appearance. Matt played his first match on May 1, 1988, against Lavant. Since then he has been club captain, treasurer and bar manager in addition to contributing 4,821 runs, 455 wickets and keeping wicket.

Beard was thanked for all he has done for the club... so far! He has just another 281 matches to overtake Peter Willmer’s total.

Goodwood won the toss and batted on a sunny but Arctic day. Pete Lamb and Mike Smith put on 57 for the first wicket. Lamb retired on 71, while Smith (29) was bowled by Pratt.

Rob Carver (24), John Clifton (18) and Johnny Heaven (16) all kept the score moving along swiftly, with help from Owen Spicer (9*), Dan Brown (5*) and Beard (5), out lbw to a poor umpiring decision. After 40 overs Goodwood were 208-6.

XII Men took the field with Spicer and Brown opening, the latter claiming his first wicket in his opening over. Will Parvin impressed everyone with his mature batting and as the mainstay of the XII Men’s batting he was last man out for 76 off 103 balls.

Peterson struck the ball well for 44 before he was bowled by Brown. Apart from Pratt (23) no-one else really contributed and the seam bowling of Brown (3-28), Lamb (1-25) and spin twins Tim Pitman (2-40) and John Clifton, in a rare bowling appearance, tied them down.

XII Men succumbed in the 39th over on 185 all out.