Having seen off first division Three Bridges in the last round of the Twenty20 Cup Burgess Hill hosted fourth-placed Premier League side Cuckfield at St John’s on Sunday.
Skipper Tom Trowbridge elected to bat and he and Jack Simpson provided a solid platform to the innings as Cuckfield captain Josh Hayward mixed up his attack. Both openers departed in quick succession, Simpson for 30 caught and bowled by Oliver Altendorf and Trowbridge (21) bowled by spinner Royston Chase who flew in from Barbados the day before having played against Australia some 10 days ago!
Although a steady start the run-rate at 5 an over after 10 overs was unlikely to trouble Cuckfield. However Nathan Cooper, fresh from his century the previous day, provided the impetus carrying on where he left off on Saturday subjecting successive Cuckfield bowlers to a display of powerful hitting as he hit 57 off 32 balls with three fours and five large sixes.
He was ably supported by Aaron Barnes and Joe Maskell before falling to Nick Patterson. Maskell (19) hit two sixes of his own with Ian Simpson (9 no) and Kirk Proto with a four off the last ball helping to lift the score to a competitive 151.
The omens did not look good though as opening bowler George Willett’s first ball was dispatched for six by Altendorf. Jack Simpson and Peter Billinghay applied the brakes with Billinghay removing Altendorf for 20. Australian Dan Yates joined the attack and lured Cummins (24) into a well taken catch by Maskell in the deep. Maskell then ran out Dominic Sear before Yates clean bowled Chase (who had scored back-to back fifties for Barbados against Australia) for 14 . The game was starting to turn and when James Robinson became Yates’ third victim and the hapless Nick Patterson retired hurt, Burgess Hill dared to believe an upset was possible.
The omnipresent Maskell seized the opportunity, removing first Gregory Wisdom and then Tom Mole for 32. George Willett joined the party taking Hayward’s wicket to a Barnes catch before Billinghay bowled last man Browning. Cuckfield fell eighteen runs short. A fine team performance by Burgess Hill with a standout all-round performance by Joe Maskell.
Burgess Hill entertained Chichester at St John’s and chose to bat on a flat wicket.
Openers Tom Trowbridge and Jack Simpson were positive and watchful in equal measure as Dan Weigl in particular bowled a good line and length. Having put on 62 for the opening wicket, Trowbridge (19) was the first to go to a smart leg side stumping by keeper John Edwards off James Stedman.
This triggered a mini collapse as both Hugh Warmisham and Aaron Barnes departed LBW to Weigl and Stedman respectively without scoring. Simpson kept the run-rate at a healthy rate as he was joined by Joe Maskell and Simpson made a run-a-ball 55 before falling to Weigl with Hill on 93.
Nathan Cooper strode to the wicket and set about the Chichester attack in a composed yet aggressive manner. Maskell was batting fluently as well and just as the partnership reached 50 he was yorked by James Chriss for 23. Ian Simpson joined Cooper and proved excellent support as Cooper hit some exquisite shots all round the wicket. With the score on 192, Simpson (13) holed out to Stedman off Chriss. This brought in young Ben John (8no) who once more showed maturity beyond his years providing willing support as Cooper accelerated. Cooper reached his well-deserved maiden hundred and was not out on a 101 off 93 balls when the declaration came at 248-6, his fine innings including ten fours and four sixes.
Chichester set about their reply in positive fashion knowing they needed 5 an over from the outset to win. Hugh Warmisham produced a beauty to bowl Peter Lamb (10) with the score on 20. A good partnership of 53 then followed as Weigl joined Simon Hasted.
Weigl had hit a run-a-ball 34 before falling to a swirling catch by Jack Simpson off the impressive Peter Billinghay. Simpson then picked up the wicket of Hasted (32) to a smart catch by keeper John. Chichester were then four down as Billinghay picked up his second wicket. Ben Hubbard looked to be a real threat as he moved effortlessly to 48 before Billinghay made ground to take an excellent full length catch off his own bowling.
This proved to be the turning point as off-spinner Daniel Yates joined the attack with Billinghay and the pair, helped by a smart run out by Maskell, removed the last five Chichester batsmen for 24 runs. Billinghay finishing with 4-39 and Yates 3-28. A good win which lifts Hill to a heady second in the table at this early stage of the season.