Well fought draw for Heath at Findon

DM16118709a.jpg Cricket: Findon v Haywards Heath (batting). Batsman, Callum Smith. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160521-202948008
DM16118709a.jpg Cricket: Findon v Haywards Heath (batting). Batsman, Callum Smith. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160521-202948008

A confident Heath side travelled to Findon on the back of a convincing home win against Goring.

On an overcast day where rain was imminent captain Smith lost the toss and Heath were asked to bat first.

Haywards Heath CC: Back row - Ed Long, Ollie Bailey, Josiah Menzies, scorer Louise Blunt, Chris Blunt, Matt Joones, Peter Dunk. Front row - David Everett, Jonny Phelps, Callum Smith, Matt O'Keeffe, Isaac Leckie. iXlTpixsIf2FGfkK4pB5

Haywards Heath CC: Back row - Ed Long, Ollie Bailey, Josiah Menzies, scorer Louise Blunt, Chris Blunt, Matt Joones, Peter Dunk. Front row - David Everett, Jonny Phelps, Callum Smith, Matt O'Keeffe, Isaac Leckie. iXlTpixsIf2FGfkK4pB5

In stark contrast to the previous week Heath found themselves two down in the first over with both Leckie and Phelps removed by opener Howell.

Smith joined Blunt at the crease with the score on just two and the pair applied themselves well on a damp pitch, putting on 45 before Blunt fell softly for 24 in the 13th over. All-rounder Ollie Bailey, who has had limited opportunity with the bat since joining the club, played in his usual energetic manner and built an impressive partnership with Smith who continued to look at ease in the middle. Rain intervened shortly after Smith reached his first half century of the season; the score 134 for 3 from 27 overs.

After more than two hours watching the rain play resumed with the match reduced to a 40/34 over game. Bailey made his positive intentions clear to his team mates before retaking the field, cheekily telling Smith to play the anchor role as he was ‘about to go nuts’.

Unfortunately both batsman were dismissed shortly afterwards, Bailey for a well-played 41 from just 47 balls and Smith for 63. A collapse ensued as Heath lost 4 wickets with the total on 138 before Chairman Jones and talented young all-rounder Tim Upchurch played sensibly to pick up four more batting points. Heath eventually all out for 173 in the 39th over, setting up a tempting 35 over chase for Findon.

DM16118535a.jpg Cricket: Findon v Haywards Heath (batting). Isaac Leckie batting. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160521-202841008

DM16118535a.jpg Cricket: Findon v Haywards Heath (batting). Isaac Leckie batting. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160521-202841008

Findon Captain Bridson got the opposition off to a flying start with some attacking stroke play, particularly against the fired up O’Keefe who was unlucky not to take his wicket when a top edged pull narrowly avoided Menzies at fine leg. After some tight bowling in partnership with Smith the dangerous Bridson became Phelps’ second victim, and Heath were on top with the score 68 for 4 off 15 overs - all wickets taken by Phelps. Findon number five Jordan was the mainstay of the rest of the innings, playing aggressively against all bowlers as the Heath outfielders worked tirelessly to cut off boundaries on the fast and sloping outfield. Particular mentions go to Menzies, Mayne and Upchurch for their work in the deep.

Entering the final two overs Findon needed 15 to win with three wickets in hand.

Jones (52) was caught brilliantly in the deep by Upchurch off the bowling of Smith in an over that only went for two runs.

A quiet final over saw the game end in a well fought draw from which Heath took away 10 valuable points – the same number that could have been earned sat in the bar watching the rain fall.

DM16118660a.jpg Cricket: Findon v Haywards Heath (batting). Chris Blunt. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160521-202925008

DM16118660a.jpg Cricket: Findon v Haywards Heath (batting). Chris Blunt. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160521-202925008

The tight finish will no doubt stand Heath in good stead for important games to come, starting next week at home to fellow title contenders Steyning.

HHCC MOM – Callum Smith for his measured innings that ensured Heath posted a competitive total.

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