On Sunday 19th July Capel travelled over the border into Sussex, where Withyham’s Captain Mike Whitehead won the toss and sent in M Taylor and F Moulder. 13 year-old Moulder, who had already played for a Junior match that morning, was first out for a very commendable 27 including three boundaries, off a ball from Juan van Heerden caught by Ian Matthews. In the 21st over Ian dismissed Munro (6) lbw, and in the same over, aided by a catch by keeper Alex Stevenson took the vital wicket of Taylor (50) who had started the Withyham innings in fine style with a 4. The score then stood at 98. By that time a fine but steady drizzle had set in, making play a less pleasurable experience for the teams and obliging the scorer and your humble correspondent to retreat to the shelter of the verandah.
The next pairing at the crease were father and son R Willsdon (71 n/o) another 13 year-old Junior B Willsdon (26 n/o) and they, too, like the openers, found the boundary rather too often despite the accomplished Capel bowling and the best efforts of rain-soaked fielders. At the end of 40 overs the Withyham scoreboard showed 208 runs for the loss of 3 wickets.
Dan Stronell (26), Alex Stevenson (32) & Ian Matthews (17) saw Capel off to a good start, the run rate level-pegging at 15 overs. Both Dan and Alex were caught, by N Watson & R Willsdon respectively, off Whitehead’s bowling, and Ian was b Bellamy c Taylor. Debutant Sam Gibbon (11) was unlucky to be run out by an accurate stump-dividing throw, and Matt Barwick (0) was b Moulder in the same 29th over, when the score stood at 124. With the sun breaking through Joe Stronell (60) and Darren Semple (40 n/o), in a partnership of 83, piled on the runs to close the gap. 5 runs from the final over would have won the game for the visitors and then, when Capel’s nails were bitten almost to the quick, 2 runs from the last ball of the match would have secured a victory, only for Joe to be clean bowled by Sessions.
Capel finished on 207 for the loss of 6 wickets. So close, so very close!