The long trip to Bognor meant there was no change made to the scheduled hours of play in this particular fixture, but the dry pitch ensured it was a relatively quick game anyway.
Bognor elected to bat first on the visibly crumbling surface and found scoring difficult throughout their innings. Max Barson toiled admirably in the heat bowling an opening 10 over spell that went for only as many runs. The introduction of spinner Jonny Phelps really got things going for Heath, opener Max Ashmore driving Phelps’ second ball to Barson at short-cover where he took a sharp catch.
Phelps was almost unplayable in the conditions and after Barson trapped Mikey Harris lbw for zero Phelps bagged the wicket of Bognor skipper Ryan Maskell, Callum Smith taking the catch at slip. Barson got through the defences of Josh Seward who had played nicely for his 20 and Phelps soon struck again when Jim Fallick attempted to go over the top but instead found the hands of Chris Blunt who had been sent to lurk on the straight boundary.
With Bognor 45-5 and spin bowling clearly now the order of the day Ollie Bailey was introduced and soon had two scalps to his name, clean bowling the Bognor number 7 Harry Hood and finding the edge of Joel Baker’s bat to give Smith another catch at slip.
The Bognor tail did well to frustrate Heath and take the score from 56-7 up to 115 all out. After Phelps and Barson once again combined to remove Marquino Mindley (14), Smith brought himself on for a couple of overs and picked up the wicket of Josh Sargeant with a shooter that suggested the pitch was only going to deteriorate further as the afternoon went on. Heath shelled a couple of catches that would have wrapped up the innings but Number 10 Jamie Woolnough (29) was finally stumped to give Phelps his fifth wicket.
Having watched the first half during the tea break play resumed with everyone safe in the knowledge England had the game in the bag. Despite the low total set by Bognor this game was far from a certainty for Heath and they made difficult work of it. Phelps (8) was out to Marquino Mindley in the first over and after a turgid period of play Tashaffi Shams (9) and Callum Smith were both dismissed by Josh Sergeant – Heath 23 for 3.
However, Alistair Templeton was nudging it around nicely at the other end and a trio of teen scores from Bailey, Blunt and Barson were enough to combine with Templeton’s excellent (46*) and ensure Heath chased the total in 29 overs despite losing some late wickets when only a couple of runs were required – 116 for 7 the final score.