Haywards Heath returned to winning ways with a dominant 163 run victory over Steyning. The home side won the toss and were happy to get first use of what proved to be another great wicket.
With rumbles of thunder in the distance Heath were made to work hard up front in conditions ideal for swing bowling. Left-armer Hywel Jones made best use of the new ball, trapping Leckie LBW for five with his first delivery. Jones continued to beat the bat as Blunt and Phelps played watchfully through the early overs, picking off loose deliveries well to keep the score moving.
As conditions eased and the change bowlers came on Heath upped the run rate, with Blunt in particular scoring freely on his way to 50.
Phelps went hard at the Steyning spin bowlers and soon caught up – raising the third 100 partnership made by Heath’s top three this season - and leaving both batsmen on 58 not out at drinks. Blunt was unable to convert another good start, and the now typically dominant Phelps was disappointed to chip one up on 68 off the bowling of Collins. A few overs later Collins also took the wicket of skipper Smith for 16 giving the Heath middle order a rare chance for time in the middle at home.
Long and Mayne took the score above 200 with some strong stroke play including the shot of the day to the cover boundary by Mayne.
Opening bowler Poyser returned for a second spell and dismissed Long for 17 and Mayne for 27 - he went on to finish with figures of 3 for 42 from 14 overs. O’Keefe came to the crease and really upped the intensity with some hard running and clean striking in the closing overs. He finished on a more than handy 37 not out including a six over square leg in what proved to be the final over. Heath declaring on 248 for 7 from 52.
O’Keefe and Everett set about the Steyning opening pair with an increasingly familiar and effective contrast of styles. O’Keefe used pace and aggression to unsettle the batsmen at one end while Everett bowled with exemplary control at the other.
Jones and Barnett had negotiated the tight opening spell but first change bowler Menzies had an immediate impact and removed both batsmen in his first over before Everett picked up a wicket of his own. Menzies went on to rip through the Steyning line-up with a fine display of seam bowling. He beat the bat on numerous occasions throughout his spell and found the outside edge three times, all finding the gloves of wicket keeper Leckie. At the end of his spell Steyning were reduced to 59 for 8 and Menzies finished with career best figures of 6 for 9 from 8 overs. Steyning captain Kennett and number 10 batsman Gus Simon fought valiantly against the returning O’Keefe to ensure Heath had to work hard to finish the innings off.
Once O’Keefe had removed Kennett for 22 Phelps took the final wicket to leave Steyning 85 all out in the 34th over. Next week Heath Travel to Mayfield in another top half clash.
HHCC MOM – Josiah Menzies for an incredible spell of bowling that all but ended the contest.
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