Burgess Hill remain top after low-scoring win against second-placed Chichester

cricket Burgess Hill  (bowling) v Chichester. Dan Strange bowling celebrates. Pic Steve robards  SR1621631 SUS-160718-105136001
cricket Burgess Hill (bowling) v Chichester. Dan Strange bowling celebrates. Pic Steve robards SR1621631 SUS-160718-105136001

Burgess Hill remain top of Division 3 after a hard-fought win over second-placed Chichester at St John’s Park in a low-scoring match.

Chichester won the toss and chose to bat on a wicket that had yielded over 500 runs the previous week.

cricket Burgess Hill  (bowling) v Chichester. Dan Strange bowling. Pic Steve robards  SR1621656 SUS-160718-105149001

cricket Burgess Hill (bowling) v Chichester. Dan Strange bowling. Pic Steve robards SR1621656 SUS-160718-105149001

Hill were without opening bowler George Willett and Captain Dan Strange was nursing a back injury.

However, Peter Billinghay, who did not bowl a ball in the previous match stepped up to the mark and didn’t disappoint.

Off his very first ball Elaz Safi got a rising ball from Billinghay that he could only pop to Zain Patel.

In the very next over Oliver Troy attempted a single to the evergreen Dan Maskell at short mid-wicket who rifled the ball in for a direct hit and Chichester were 5 for 2.

cricket Burgess Hill  (bowling) v Chichester. Sean Dobbs batting. Pic Steve robards  SR1621657 SUS-160718-105200001

cricket Burgess Hill (bowling) v Chichester. Sean Dobbs batting. Pic Steve robards SR1621657 SUS-160718-105200001

Dan Strange began to find some rhythm and in his fourth over Sam Harvey was strangled down the leg side as keeper Luke Vick took the catch.

Peter Billinghay was continuing to cause problems with a nagging line and length and in his sixth over accounted for Sean Dobbs (5) caught by the juggling Jack Simpson at slip and then trapped opener Peter Lamb LBW for 15.

Charlie Futcher decided to attack but after two boundaries fell to Billinghay, caught by the ever young Joe Maskell.

Jack Simpson replaced Strange and bowled George Perry (3) in his first over. Billinghay picked up his fifth soon after as Dan Joseph was comfortably caught by Ben Hopkins.

cricket Burgess Hill  (bowling) v Chichester. Peter Billinghay. Pic Steve robards  SR1621667 SUS-160718-105211001

cricket Burgess Hill (bowling) v Chichester. Peter Billinghay. Pic Steve robards SR1621667 SUS-160718-105211001

At 56-8 Chichester needed a big partnership and Johnny Heaven and Rob Carver battled hard to do this. The partnership of 24 ( the highest of the innings) was broken by Simpson as Patel took his second catch.

On run later it was all over as Ian Simpson , running round the boundary took an outstanding low catch in Chris-Jordan style to give brother Jack his third wicket. Billinghay finished with 5-42 and Simpson 3-16.

Burgess Hill knew they would be facing a strong bowling attack in pursuit of 82 runs but after Tom Trowbridge had dispatched Dan Joseph to the cover boundary twice in the opening over, it appeared the good wicket was being put in context.

However in the fourth over Matt Geffen got one to leave him and he was smartly caught at slip by Joseph. Jack Simpson played positively as always and was joined by brother Ian who was not to last long as he hit tamely to short cover off Geffen.

The in-form Zain Patel was the next to fall as he was adjudged caught behind off Geffen for just 2.

There then followed a calamitous run out as Ben Hopkins, who was looking confident, was short of his ground despite a despairing dive.

It looked as though much was to depend on Jack Simpson but when he was bowled by Joseph for 20 in the following over and the luckless Joe Maskell was trapped LBW by Joseph without scoring, Hill were teetering on the brink of defeat at 47-6 .

The much-needed resilience was provided by Tom Penfold and Luke Vick who batted with determination and skill to guide Hill first to a splendid tea and then to within a few runs of victory. Vick fell to another wicket for Geffen ( 4-21 ) having made a crucial 19 in a 31 partnership with Penfold.

Penfold was resolute to the end with an unbeaten 11 off 62 balls as skipper Dan Strange hit the winning runs.

It was a narrow victory but a crucial one as Hill show they have depth and character in this competitive division.

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