Burgess Hill made it four in a row with an emphatic win over Portslade at Benfield Valley.
Hill elected to bat on a good-looking wicket and openers Tom Trowbridge and Jack Simpson got the innings off to a solid start with a partnership of 55 off the first 13 overs before Andy Mamoany (3-30) trapped Trowbridge LBW for 20.
Joe Maskell quickly followed in Mamoany’s next over , stumped by Ian Wainwright without scoring.
Ian Simpson did not last much longer as he feathered a catch to keeper Wainwright to become Mamoany’s third victim . Hill’s solid foundation was starting to crumble as Zain Patel, having started positively , holed out to a Steven Case full-toss for just 10.
However, Nathan Cooper joined Jack and he continued his form of the previous week whilst Jack accelerated . The pair put on 106 in just 19 overs with some fluent shots which included five sixes before Simpson was caught by Dan Holgate off Paul Glover for an excellent 82.
When Cooper was caught by Case off Glover for a compelling run-a-ball 56 eleven overs still remained and Hill were looking likely to post 250 but the re-introduction of Alex Smith stemmed the flow as he took three wickets . When skipper Dan Strange declared in the 53rd over Hill had posted a competitive 223 for 9 .
Opening bowlers Dan Strange and George Willett continued their good form and Strange had David Wainwright caught smartly by Phil Marshall third ball. He followed this up by dismissing the disgruntled Joel Crook LBW for 8 and capturing Alex Smith for just 4 caught expertly at gully by Zain Patel . Willett , who had been bowling with pace and good carry got his reward bowling Dan Holgate for a duck.
Tony Downs (24)was offering some resistance before he was bowled by another good ball from Strange (4-30).
Hill determined to keep the pressure on and the introduction of former prolific wicket-taker Ian Simpson was a welcome surprise for Hill but a nightmare for Portslade. He immediately found his nagging line and length and accounted for the unlucky Ian Wainwright (16) deflecting a drive from Glover on to the stumps as Wainwright backed up. In his following over he bowled Steven Case and then had Mark Gravett LBW off his first ball.
Andy Mamoany kept out the hat-trick ball and then batted sensibly as Glover looked to recover. Jack Simpson though kept the squeeze on and bowled Mamoany before taking Glover’s wicket to a fine , hamstring-stretching catch by brother Ian .
The 112 run victory takes Hill top in a very tight division.
Gray Nicholls T20 Cup
Burgess Hill travelled to Hastings on Sunday and put in a good performance before falling short to their Premier Division opponents.
Hastings won the toss and batted and started slowly in the face of Dan Strange and Peter Billinghay. Billinghay in particular was bowling with great control and got his reward by bowling Jake Woolley for 13. Strange then bowled Tom Gillespie cheaply and when leg-spinner Zain Patel had Josh Hahnel stumped by Luke Vick for 15, Hill certainly felt they were in the match.
Elliot Hooper though was batting carefully and began to accelerate aided by a bizarre overthrow for 4 by Patel. Hill continued to chip away as Jack Simpson ( 2-13 ) and Joe Maskell (1-17) curbed the Hastings charge. However Hooper was in fine form and rode his luck as he was dropped off successive balls off the luckless Phil Marshall. Hooper finished unbeaten on 72 as Hastings finished on 143.
Hill needed a solid start but lost the Simpson brothers in the third over to Brad Payne . Zain Patel , however relished the true wicket and warm sunshine and played aggressively from the start. Opener Tom Trowbridge departed for 12 to become Payne’s third victim (3-13)whilst Patel exploded with exquisite shots all-round the ground. What was needed was someone to stay with him but Hastings kept the other batsmen quiet and took regular wickets as O’Brien took 3-13 off his four overs . There was no stopping Patel as he continued to attack and only fell to the last ball of the match for a brilliant 86. Hill’s reply ended 19 runs short.
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