Bede’s Cricket Pavilion opening honours Christopher Martin-Jenkins

Mr Robin Martin-Jenkins signalling the start of play by the inaugural bell ring

Mr Robin Martin-Jenkins signalling the start of play by the inaugural bell ring - Credit: Archant

The May Day bank holiday saw over 150 guests attend the opening of the M-J Pavilion at Bede’s School in Upper Dicker, with a match between Bede’s First XI and the MCC.

Bedes v MCC match in action

Bedes v MCC match in action - Credit: Archant

It was apt that Bede’s should celebrate the opening of its new pavilion on the same weekend that alumnus Shai Hope made his debut, opening the batting for the West Indies in the test match against England. Shai was a pupil at Bede’s School between 2011 and 2013, captaining the First XI in 2012 and 2013, scoring close to a thousand runs across the two years.

The day started with a champagne reception which was attended, not only by the family of late Bede’s alumnus, Test Match Special broadcaster and MCC Chairman Christopher Martin-Jenkins but also Bede’s parents, governors and Bede’s alumni, Sussex CCC players Luke Wells, Callum Jackson and Fynn Hudson-Prentice. Callum Jackson said: “It is lovely to be back. Every time I return the facilities have improved. Bede’s set the foundation for my cricket career and these new facilities will support the careers of future generations of Bede’s cricketers.”

Ex-Sussex and British Universities cricketer Robin Martin-Jenkins, son of the commentator known to the nation as ‘CMJ’, signalled the start of play by ringing the M-J Pavilion bell, remarking, “My dad would have loved today, a quintessential British scene and he, more than anyone else, valued the importance of school cricket and would have been proud to know that such a great facility has been built in his name.”

When play began, the MCC batted first and declared their innings on 191 for 7. The wickets were evenly shared and the Bede’s team quite happy at restricting them to a total they felt was within their reach.

Bede’s lost a couple of early wickets but rallied with a good partnership between Phelps and Hodgson. Unfortunately the partnership was broken when Phelps fell for 54. However, all the time captain Hodgson was at the crease Bede’s always looked likely winners.

As is often the case in cricket however, one wicket can change the game. Hodgson fell when just 40 runs were needed off 11 overs. Wickets then fell at regular intervals and the MCC ran out winners by 11 runs with just 8 balls to spare.

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During a break in play marking the end of the first innings, speeches were given by Chairman of the Bede’s Board of Governors Major General Anthony Meier and Bede’s Headmaster Dr Richard Maloney.

Following this, the official unveiling of the M-J Pavilion was undertaken by Judy Martin-Jenkins, widow of the late Christopher.

Mr Alan Wells, Bede’s Director of Cricket commented: “This is a proud day for the whole school, not just for the cricket community here. This is a facility which will be envied by schools throughout the county thanks to the generosity of the Martin-Jenkins family.”

Bede’s Headmaster Dr Richard Maloney said of the day: “It was a great pleasure to share such a memorable occasion with so many familiar faces from the School’s past and present – headmasters, governors, coaches and pupils – all of whom have helped earn Bede’s a reputation as one of the finest cricketing schools in the country.”