With competition for the top five places in Division 3 heating up Heath knew victory against second placed Portslade would be a major boost heading into the last few games of the season.
After electing to bat Heath soon found themselves on the back foot as Blunt gloved one down the leg side to give Stewart-Green a wicket in the first over. Phelps looked fluent from the off but when Leckie fell a few overs later the pressure was really starting to build on Heath. Hannah Phelps joined Johnny at the crease but there was to be no sibling partnership as Johnny edged through to the slips.
Hannah and number five Bailey temporarily halted Portslade before a cluster of wickets fell - so much so that the game looked to be heading for a very early finish.
At 58-8 Heath were on the verge of picking up no points before a truly brilliant partnership by Dan Woodfield and Matt Jones brought the game alive. Number 9 Woodfield looked at ease from the off and was particularly fluent through the off side as he registered a total of 14 boundaries on his way to a commanding 80*.
Club Chairman Jones – who was supposedly fatigued after hosting a very successful cricket week – proved a more than competent partner for Woodfield and made a steely 41 including the rare sight of six over cover point. Their partnership of 114 compiled in a stand that lasted 26 overs was a true highlight of the Heath season and took the visitors to a score of 188 for 9.
Portslade certainly wouldn’t have expected to field for the full 53 overs but managed to wrestle back the momentum with a fast start to their innings.
Opener Crook made a brisk 39 before top edging to slip off the bowling of Phelps. Fellow opener Wainwright had already succumbed to first change bowler Everett and at 54 for 2 the game was evenly poised. Downs then came to the crease and played what proved to be the decisive innings. Wickets fell around him as Portslade were unable to build any significant partnerships in the middle overs before he was joined at the crease by Glover with the score 113 for 5. Glover was aggressive from the off and quickly took the game away from Heath with a run-a-ball 32. Downs also changed gears during the partnership with Glover and hit a total of 6 maximums in his score of 67 not out to bring Portslade home by 4 wickets with 5 overs to spare.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!