Bailey bowls Heath to fourth consecutive victory

Cricket
Cricket

Ollie Bailey took 5-32 as Haywards Heath won their fourth consecutive match.

With the sun shining over the Polegrove Heath’s stand-in skipper Jonny Phelps elected to bat Bexhill 2nd XI.

Heath got off to a torrid start; a combination of poor shot selection, accurate bowling and a two-paced wicket saw the departure of Amila Thilakarathna, Isaac Leckie and Ed Long within the first five overs.

Opening batsman Phelps batted sensibly and punished the loose balls, but no Heath batsmen could play the necessary supporting role consequently leaving Heath 70-6.

This was until the entrance of veteran Peter Dunk who alongside Phelps began to dominate the Bexhill bowlers.

Phelps eventually was out to the bowling of James Bywater (3-26) for an uncharacteristically sensible and risk-free innings of 66. Dunk followed shortly after for an exciting 40. This left Rebecca Silk and Josiah Menzies to take the innings to 172-9, a seemingly under par total. Opening Bowler Byron Smith was the pick of the Bexhill bowlers showing outstanding stamina and accuracy to claim figures of 5-54 from 20 overs.

After the interval, opening bowlers Menzies and Matt O’Keeffe got Heath off to a great start dismissing the Bexhill openers with a wicket a piece.

However, the Powell brothers, Tom and Joe, played nicely building a partnership that seemed to be guiding Bexhill to a comfortable run-chase.

But, the introduction of Bailey (5-32) was the pivotal moment of the game, Bailey’s variation of pace and ability to spin the ball both ways ripped through Bexhill’s middle order.

At this point, the game appeared firmly in Heath’s control with Bexhill at 130-9.

However, another twist saw Heath drop three opportunities to seal the game.

Tailenders Smith (17*) and Bywater (24) capitalised on Heath's mishaps scoring a spree of boundaries to take Bexhill to within nine of victory. O’Keeffe (3-56) eventually took the wicket to make it five wins out of six for the Green and Gold.

Man of the match Bailey said after the game: "t was nice to be backed by the stand-in captain today, it allowed me to get into a rhythm which gave me confidence to attempt my variations. Hopefully I get the opportunity to build on this next week.’’

Heath welcome Chichester Priory CC to the Rec next week in a third versus fourth clash.