Willett’s six helps Burgess Hill rise to the top

Burgess Hill (bowling) v Haywards Heath. george Willett bowling. Pic Steve Robards   SR1519501 SUS-150817-123823001
Burgess Hill (bowling) v Haywards Heath. george Willett bowling. Pic Steve Robards SR1519501 SUS-150817-123823001
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George Willett blew away Mayfield’s batsmen to claim personal best figures to send Hill back to the top of the league.

A personal best from George Willett (6-21) and an excellent team performance put Burgess Hill in a great position heading into the second half of the season. After losing the toss (again) Mayfield decided to bowl first on a beautiful sunny day in East Sussex.

With Jack Simpson away for the weekend we had a new opening partnership in brother Ian Simpson and Tom Trowbridge, to which they set up a perfect platform for the team. After seeing off the new ball well, Simpson started to up the tempo with some delightful flicks off his legs and drives down the ground. Hill quickly moved onto 58-0 the highest opening stand of the season to date before the introduction of left-arm spinner James Allen who quickly made the break through with Ian Simpson nicking off to slip. In came Kirk Proto who looked solid from ball one, and almost immediately took the attack to young leg-spinner William Collard which included a magnificent straight six. The score moved onto 101-1 at drinks and the famous shout of ‘drinks always brings a wicket’ was very true on this occasion, with Trowbridge on 45 and looking solid, he went back to cut a short ball to Allen as he also presented a chance to 1st slip who duly obliged to remove the opener. Hill looked set to push on and really set a competitive score with a perfect platform, that didn’t quite happen with Joe Maskell quickly coming and going for 9 LBW again to Allen who claimed his 3rd wicket.

Zain Patel came to the crease and looked positive from ball one, with himself and a well set Proto they looked to build a partnership. The pair did this and took Hill to 179 before Proto was bowled to leg stump yorker again by Allen, his fourth victim.

Allen (5-68) quickly took his fifth wicket when Ben Hopkins tried to entertain the spectators but could only offer a catch to mid-wicket. At 183-5 Patel looked to find some more boundaries towards the end of the innings and in the process brought up a very good 50. Unfortunately, next ball the returning Joshua Fidler (2-31) bowled Patel and took Tom Penfold’s wicket 3 balls later and at 206-7 captain Dan Strange decided to declare meaning Mayfield need 207 to win the game.

After what can only be described as the best tea in Sussex, Hill came out trying to claim all 30 points to send them back to the top of the league. Dan Strange and George Willett took the new ball and completely blew away the top order! The first wicket was in the second over, a leading edge was well caught and bowled by Willett. Wickets two and three came even quicker in the 4th over as Willett got a full ball to swing in to take an LBW before next ball a miss-judged leave took Carl Shankland’s off-stump to give Willet his third and Mayfield struggling at 1-3.

A mini partnership by captain Robert Sharma and Edward Finch was eventually broken by the nagging line and length by Willett who accounted for his fourth wicket by another miss-judged leave from Finch and then a slight bit of fortune brought Willett his first ever 1st team 5 wicket haul as Fidler was bowled round his legs to the delight of Willett and every single one of his team mates. At 27-5 Mayfield were well and truly on the back foot and it didn’t get any better as Strange (1-28) entered the wickets column by removing Sharma for 16, before Willett claimed his sixth and final wicket (6-21) by removing Toby Wallace for 0 leaving Mayfield 27-7. Willett almost claimed his seventh wicket by bowling Derek Horsham with another excellent ball, only for the umpire to call a no-ball, could this be the luck that Mayfield needed to get themselves out of a hole… A brilliant partnership followed by Horsham and James Allen who more than doubled their score with to 56-7 before the heavens started to open.

It looked like Mayfield could be saved by the weather. However, 7 minutes later we were back on, and Patel was brought into the attack and second ball he bowled Horsham. Peter Billinghay was also brought into the attack and claimed the ninth and final wicket as Mayfield only had 10 players, to the delight of Burgess Hill players who had bowled Mayfield out for 74 and in the process claimed a massive victory and 30 points.

After an excellent team performance and a stand out performance from George Willett Hill claimed a well-deserved victory over second placed Mayfield, and with local rivals and next week’s opponents Haywards Heath losing it meant Hill went back to the top of the league by 1 point.

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