A very successful cricket match was played on Sunday June 1st 2014 on the wonderful ground in Arundel Castle Park, West Sussex, in memory of Christopher Martin-Jenkins between John Barclay’s Presidents XI and the Cricket Society XI with the President’s side coming out on top.

On Sunday 1 June 2014, the Cricket Society XI had the privilege of playing for the third time in its history on the Duke of Norfolk’s ground at Arundel Castle, generally acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful cricket grounds anywhere in the world. The match was played between the Society XI and a team raised by Society President John Barclay in memory of Christopher Martin-Jenkins for the benefit of the Cricket Society Trust which raises funds to help disabled, handicapped, deprived and disadvantaged children to enjoy cricket.

The Arundel Castle ground was built in 1895 by the 15th Duke of Norfolk in amphitheatre style. Bernard, the 16th duke, was a huge cricket fan.  He was appointed as manager of the MCC team which toured Australia in 1962-63 captained by Ted Dexter and although the appointment was a surprising one, he proved to be a popular manager. The 16th Duke hosted matches against touring teams at Arundel from 1954. This tradition was continued after his death by his wife Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk, who decided to keep cricket going at Arundel. The Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation was formed in 1986.  An indoor cricket school was built at Arundel, through the great generosity of the late Sir Paul Getty, and opened in August 1991. The ground was first used by Sussex in 1972 for limited-over matches and in 1990 for County Championship matches. In recent years the ground has generally hosted one first-class matches and one or more List A matches each season.

Since 1991 many hundreds of youngsters have benefitted from coaching at the indoor school at Arundel under the supervision of its Director of Cricket and Coaching, the President of the Cricket Society John Barclay. In particular, funds from the Cricket Society Trust are used to enable children with special needs from a range of predominantly inner city schools and organisations to visit Arundel for coaching. For many of the youngsters whose visit to Arundel is funded by the Cricket Society Trust this will be their first trip away from their local environment.

The Society, badged as Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk’s Cricket Society XI, first played at Arundel in 1994 against a very strong Lords Taverner’s team, captained by Mike Denness and including John Snow, John Shepherd (Kent and West Indies),  David Hughes (Lancashire) and Graham Johnson.

A second match was played in 2005 between the Cricket Society XI and a team raised by the then Cricket Society President Christopher Martin-Jenkins successfully raising funds for the Cricket Society Trust and the Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation. On that occasion the Society XI was well beaten by strong opposition including CMJ himself, his sons James and Robin, then a regular member of the Sussex team, Angus Fraser and Sky television’s Charles Colville.  Robin Martin-Jenkins put in a strong all round performance and won the man of the match award.

In 2014 the Society XI was given another opportunity to play at Arundel to raise funds to support the Cricket Society Trust’s activities at Arundel, in supporting the Belvoir Castle Cricket Trust, run by former Surrey and Nottinghamshire cricketer Darren Bicknell, which enables children to participate in sport and learn new skills, and to enable the Trust to help a wider range of children.  Both the Society and the trustees of the Cricket Society Trust were keen that the match should be played as a memorial to Christopher Martin-Jenkins who had been such a popular president of the Society; CMJ’s widow Judy agreed to this and Robin Martin-Jenkins, teaching and coaching cricket at Hurstpeirpoint after retiring from playing for Sussex, kindly agreed to play again. Even the bowlers who had been put to the sword by Robin Martin-Jenkins in 2005 jumped at the chance to play at Arundel again.

The Arundel Castle Cricket Foundation, led by John Barclay and Executive Secretary James Rufey, certainly know how to put on a good show and their organisation of the match, in conjunction with Ken Merchant and Bill Allen for the Trust and Society XI captain Tom Carmichael, was flawless. Even the weather was perfect.

John Barclay’s XI batted first. Harry Fenn and John Symons, an extreme blend of youth and experience as John is approximately three times older than Harry, had our President’s XI 39 for 2. Neil Holmes bowled MCC Ladies cricketer Isabelle Duncan, author of “Skirting the Boundary – A History of Women’s Cricket”, at 66 for 3 but a high quality innings of 73 from Mark Nash of Sussex Premier League club Horsham, an immaculate 59 from Robin Martin-Jenkins and 24 not out from Alexia Walker, the most capped player for Sussex Ladies, took John Barclay’s XI to useful 227 off their allotted 35 overs.  Highlights from the Society in the field were 3 wickets for Harry Fenn and 2 for Neil Holmes returning from injury plus excellent catching from David Chapman, Harry Fenn and his father Jason.  The other wicket takers were John Symons, Andy Sheldon and our Serbian international Ilija Krunic.

The Society XI was not able to mount a serious challenge to this totally despite an excellent 61 from Jason Fenn and 26 from Krunic.  John Barclay took a couple of wickets (to add to his 467 for Sussex) to snuff out a promising partnership between Krunic and Harry Fenn and Cricket Society Trust Treasurer Jeff Barnes will certainly treasure his bowling figures of 2-6. So in the end John Barclay’s XI won by 87 runs.

In total more than £7,000 was raised for the Cricket Society Trust through lunch on the ground, an auction, a raffle and a collection round the ground (the raffle and collection alone raised more than £1,000 on the day) and match funding from the Cricket Society and Eversheds Business Lawyers Charitable Trust together with numerous individual donations. Thanks go to all donors and supporters, the organisers mentioned above and everyone else involved.

Ronald Paterson – 20 July 2014

This report also appeared in the Cricket Society Journal Autumn 2014 edition

The combined teams – Sunday June 1st 2014 – Lunch and Cricket at Arundel