Heath remain top after a convincing home win against Bexhill
Haywards Heath, led by half-centuries from Alistair Templeton and Ollie Bailey, chased Bexhill's total four down in just 43 overs to end the visitors recent run of victories and ensure Heath stayed top of Division 2.
On another true pitch at Clair Park some good bowling from Max Barson and David Everett saw them each pick up an early wicket as Bexhill lost both their opening batsmen inside the first six overs.
Number three Danul Dassanayake played some crisp cover drives as he and Cameron Burgon pushed the score up to 70 before Dassanayake (33) went for one drive too many off Barson and edged through to wicket keeper Peter Dunk. Barson had his third and final victim of the day soon after, and when Jonny Phelps took a low caught and bowled chance Heath were firmly in control.
Shawn Johnson joined the now set Burgon in the 20th over and the pair looked capable of pushing the score well above 200 as they manoeuvred the Heath spin attack with confidence during the middle overs. Chris Blunt managed to break the partnership in his first over with the wicket of Johnson (18) and when Ollie Bailey struck in the next Heath had hopes of restricting the score to around 160.
However, Burgon managed the tail admirably and increased the scoring rate on his way to 94*. He was fully deserving of a hundred but was left stranded as the final three wickets fell, two to Bailey and one to Tim Upchurch where Barson took a steepling catch that no one else in the vicinity was too keen to put their name on.
Heath were confident at the break and made a fast start against the Bexhill seam attack as boundaries flowed off the bats of Alistair Templeton and Jonny Phelps. The visitors soon turned to spin and after striking successive boundaries Phelps (38) was the first wicket to fall, caught off the leg spin of Nick Peters. Templeton played with great authority against the spinners, using the depth of his crease to rotate strike with ease on his way to a second league 50 of the season.
Neither Barson nor Tashaffi Shams were able to get their own innings going but number 5 Bailey proved to be a perfect partner for Templeton. With the miserly Neil Blatchly in the middle of a spell of 15 overs that went for just 34 runs, Bailey took the aggressive option against the rest of the Bexhill bowlers and the pair took the score on to 153 before Templeton was adjudged lbw to Blatchly for a very well made 66. Chris Blunt (28*) and Bailey (58*) were able to knock-off the remaining 60 runs within the next 10 overs; both took the aerial route a number of times – albeit to differing degrees – as Bailey hit one out of the ground before finishing the innings with a towering six over deep-mid-wicket.