Burgess Hill produced a miraculous turnaround on Saturday away at Steyning to start the league season with a win.
Despite electing to bat Hill were quickly in trouble at 9-2 with openers Tom Trowbridge and Luke Vick back in the pavilion. Proto fell for 13 and Barnes four as Hill found partnerships hard to come by until at 48-4 Karl Boffey was joined at the crease by Nathan Cooper who between them took Hill on to 97-4. Andy Isaacs was bowling well however and when he bowled Boffey for 23 Steyning began to take control of the game. Cooper was then lbw to Isaacs for 38 in 39 balls and at this stage Hill were struggling at 116-6.
Dan Yates came to the crease, promoted to eight in the order and with Tom Mackenzie the two batted patiently before Mackenzie was bowled by Isaacs for 15.
Yates was lucky to be dropped at mid-on and again at gully during a particularly hostile spell of bowling from Steyning’s opening quick Stephen Chimhamhiwa. Hugh Warmisham and George Willett could not provide support as Andy Isaacs took his 4th and 5th wickets but Peter Billinghay’s defence at number 11 was impenetrable and gave Yates a platform to go on the attack.
From 153-9 Yates struck his way to a personal milestone, his first league fifty, and 189-9 for Hill, a total for them to bowl at in the second innings. Steyning were down and Hill buoyant going into tea. In response Hywel Jones scored 18 of Steyning’s first 20 runs but fell to his own overzealous attacking play, spooning a catch to Cooper at cover off the bowling of Billinghay. Oliver Collins and Ben Shellford continued to play positively and Steyning were well placed at 48-1 but when Collins drove to Cooper at short-cover Hill began to wrestle back control of the game.
The introduction of Boffey proved to be the second turning point of the game as he immediately had Shellford and Sam Hunt caught behind. Ed Lamb resisted briefly as Steyning grinded their way to 91-4 but Boffey, taking two wickets in three balls, proceeded to rip through the middle order taking 5-22 in eight fantastic overs of swing bowling.
Gary Hunt (36) was the only sticking point for Hill as Steyning collapsed around him to 101 all out with Dan Yates completing an excellent day personally with bat and ball taking 2-11 from 6 overs.
Hill take 28 points from a game they know they were fortunate to win but win they did and they move on to face Crawley Eagles next Saturday, also victorious themselves on opening day.