St Andrews pick up pre-season win thanks to Ellis ton
The first home game of the year was graced within sunshine, blue skies, and high winds, as St Andrews CC looked to notch its first win of the 2021 season.
The visitors, Burgess Hill CC 2nd XI, made the long trip along St John’s Avenue for this preseason friendly game.
St Andrew’s won the toss and asked Burgess Hill to don their pads on a green early season deck at Sidney West.
In spite of some good early lines by the Saints opening pair, Jobin Abraham and Daniel Nichols, the Burgess Hill opening batsman set a good early platform with both latching onto anything over pitched – with Ben Hopkins (21) hitting a number of powerful drives down the ground.
Abraham (1-9) got the Saints breakthrough on the final ball of his tight opening spell, getting Luke Morris (19) to mistime an attempted lofted drive into the safe hands of Michael Platt at mid-off.
Hopkins' resistance was brought to an end as he was looking to go through the gears, when he was stumped off the bowling of Shaun Nichols (1-9).
Oliver Brookes (0-17), returning from a year away from the game, shook off any rust quickly, bowling a tight spell of left-arm orthodox alongside Shaun to keep a cap on the Burgess Hill innings.
Following the loss of the two openers, Kirk Proto (18) and Tom Penfold started to rebuild the innings. Penfold in particular showed an excellent eye reverse sweeping a number of the Saints bowlers.
The addition of Jack Barton (2-36) to the attack brought the downfall of Proto leaving Burgess Hill at 88-3.
Penfold and Owen Larder (13) accelerated the run rate, punishing any wayward Saints bowling before Barton got his second scalp having Larder caught by the Saints skipper.
Angus Hill (2-35) replaced Shaun up the hill and bowled with good pace, keeping the Hill batsman on their toes.
Phil Marshall (19*) quickly added valuable late innings runs with some clean hitting before Penfold fell to Daniel Nichols (1-35) for a well-constructed 41 as he looked to finish the innings with a bang.
Matt Charman (seven) added further late runs before he was unselfishly run out pushing for a second. The late inning flurry took Burgess Hill to a respectable 162-8.
In response, the Saints opening pair of Hill and Alex Ellis got the St Andrew’s innings off to a strong start with Hill (23) playing a number of excellent drives off Daniel Rapson (0-34) to get the scoreboard moving.
Ellis looked in good touch and dispatched anything dragged down with ease before going on the attack – racing to a quick 50.
A rush of blood led to Hill charging the wily variations of Charman (2-26) and being stumped. The loss of Hill slowed the Saints momentarily as Charman also trapped Iain Murray (one) LBW.
Murmurs of the dreaded St Andrews collapse were starting to materialise but some good fortune – and some early season rust in the field on a difficult outfield – meant that Platt and Ellis survived and continued to drive the Saints towards the target.
Platt (26*) began to find his timing and knocked the ball around nicely. It was Ellis however who stole the show - at times pummelling the ball to all parts of the ground including a particularly large six that disturbed the residents of old people home.
The final six brought about a brilliant hundred by Ellis (103*) and won the game for the Saints by eight wickets.