Stand-in skipper Phelps leads Heath to top spot

David Hooper (Mayfield) bowled by Jonny Phelps. Mayfield v Haywards Heath. Picture by Ron Hill (HillPhotographic)

David Hooper (Mayfield) bowled by Jonny Phelps. Mayfield v Haywards Heath. Picture by Ron Hill (HillPhotographic)

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Saturday saw Heath secure an important home win against Chichester, taking them to top spot in the table and making up for points lost due to abandonment the previous week.

Great work by the volunteer ground staff had the recreation ground fit for play despite the heavy rainfall over the preceding days, but it came as no surprise when Chichester decided to bowl first on winning the toss.

Heath have shown good form with the bat this season, particularly at home, but had to contend with a much changed batting order as both Bailey and Smith missed the game due to the former’s wedding – many congratulations go to Ollie and his now wife Katie.

Heath lost openers Leckie and Long within the first eight overs as Chichester’s Heaven and Pegg swung and seamed the new ball with assistance from the tacky pitch.

Phelps came to the crease and was dropped early before setting about a near faultless assault on the Chichester attack. When promoted all-rounder O’Keeffe fell for 9 the score had moved on to 77-3 after just 16 overs thanks to strong stroke play from Phelps who was particularly aggressive toward anything short.

Mayne joined Phelps and the pair put on what was to be the substantial partnership of the Heath innings.

Mayne played a number of stylish drives on his way to 29, while Phelps upped the tempo in an innings that contained four maximums. When Mayne departed shortly after the drinks break Heath were in a good position at 157-4.

With Blunt now at the crease Heath moved the score on to 182 before the wicket of stand in skipper Phelps, for a dominant 99 from 87 balls, sparked a collapse to 210 all out in the 47th over.

Spinner Harvey did the damage to the Heath lower middle order, returning figures of 4-58 from 17 overs.

With 53 overs to chase down the target time was unlikely to be a problem for Chichester, and an aggressive start by opener Safi took them to 30 for no loss after six.

Opening with the spin of Phelps, Heath had managed to keep it tight at one end, and when Everett also hit his straps the pressure began to tell.

Safi was the first to go for 20, caught off the bowling of Everett, and Chichester were soon reduced to 36-4 just a few overs later as Phelps took two quick wickets and Everett claimed his second. Chichester number six Perry, who was to top score for the visitors with 22, steadied the innings with Harvey before the latter became Everett’s third victim. After a tight period of bowling by Menzies, Phelps returned for a second spell in which he took wickets regularly to end with figures of 6-33 from 12 overs to go with his 99 runs and two catches.

A last wicket stand of 22 was broken by Upchurch who found the outside edge in his first over to complete what was a comfortable win for Heath. Chichester all out for 124 in the 34th over.

HHCC Man of the Match – Jonny Phelps for a true all-round performance.

Other results in Division 3 saw Findon (131-2) beat Burgess Hill (130 all out) by eight wickets; Mayfield (187-8) beat Crawley (85 all out) by 102 runs; Portslade (177-8) draw with Goring-by-sea (201-9) and Steyning (217-8) beat Crowhurst Park (113 all out) by 104 runs.

In Division 4, Brighton Mugochi hit a brilliant unbeaten 125 from just 91 balls as Henfield hammered league leaders Slinfold by 209 runs. Jack Parsons hit 53 as Henfield posted 262-7 in 50.3 overs.

In reply, Slinfold capitulated to 53 all out with Craig Scott (4-21), Rob Slaughter (3-3) and Mugochi (3-14) the wickettakers.

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