Martin on course to complete third century in a row

HAVE boots, will travel.

This well-worn clich� applies perfectly to Martin Southwell, who is on course to complete a century of appearances this summer for the third season in a row.

Martin is a cricketing nomad if ever there was one – playing for an incredible 17 different sides in the past couple of seasons.

He regularly plays four or five matches a week, and at the weekend was due to clock up a half century of appearances so far this season in his quest to better his 2009 record of turning out 109 times.

It is an incredible feat for a player whose name these days is synonymous with the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Over-50s side, but recalls playing cricket as soon as he could pick up a bat and ball.

“I first threw the ball left-handed, but my grandmother insisted I threw right-handed because she was superstitious, although I am still left-handed!” he mused.

“I played at school and captained London Schoolboys, and it was a big thrill for me to captain a side that included John Emburey, who of course went on to play for Middlesex and England.

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“He was a fantastic cricketer even then, and I would send down all sorts of stuff bowling at one end and take wickets while hardly any runs were scored off him at the other end!”

The team, which was selected from London comprehensive schools, used to play against public schools such as Eton, Harrow, Tonbridge and Winchester as well as against county sides.

Martin, a slow-left arm bowler who bats right-handed, said: “I only played club cricket after leaving school, whereas now youngsters start to play club cricket while still at school.”

He joined Camden CC in Edgware in 1970 and continued to play there until the mid-1990s when he moved to Ford End, near Dunmow. It was then that he joined Woodham Mortimer, near Danbury.

In 2000 Martin moved clubs to Springfield, on the outskirts of Chelmsford, when his son Luke started to show an interest in following in his father’s footsteps and joined the club’s junior section.

Martin still plays for Springfield on Sundays and at Maldon on Saturdays. The majority of his midweek matches are for the Two Counties Over-50s side – he has been playing on their tour to Yorkshire this week – and Billericay Veterans.

Having already achieved his initial ambition to play in the same side as son Luke, who is now 26, Martin has two further ambitions that he is hoping to fulfil.

“I am hoping to play at county level for Essex Over-60s and also to one day play with Luke and either a future grandson or granddaughter, although that may be an ambition too far,” he reflected.

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