Haywards Heath secured local bragging rights as they began their season with a 59 run win over local rivals Haywards Heath.
Haywards Heath won the toss and chose to bat. George Willett opened the bowling and found good speed and accuracy whilst Peter Billinghay immediately got movement from his medium pace .
With just 10 runs conceded from the first 7 overs Isaac Leckie (4) was the first to go caught behind to a smart catch by Luke Vick off Billinghay with Jonny Phelps then following for a duck to the same bowler taken at second slip by South African Zain Patel.
Opener Chris Blunt was watchful on a wicket that always offered the bowlers assistance and he and James Austin put together a good partnership of 63 .
However, Hill missed a number of chances, albeit some sharp ones and a total of seven catches went down in the innings .
The introduction of Patel’s leg-spin brought the downfall of Austin (33) and then Blunt in the 38th over after a very well-made 51. Skipper Callum Smith followed to a smart catch by Kirk Proto and at 124-5 off 42 overs, Hill were well in the game. Heath’s middle order rallied and valuable runs game from Ollie Bailey (17) and Matt O’Keeffe(33). Bailey fell to an excellent stumping by Vick off Billinghay, O’Keeffe was run out before Hannah Phelps became Patel’s fourth victim and Peter Dunk got a first- baller from Billinghay.
Heath finished on 181-9 with Billinghay claiming 4-70 and Patel 4-50 .
Burgess Hill’s reply got off to a dreadful start . Skipper for the day Tom Trowbridge, after a little confusion, was adjudged LBW to O’Keeffe in the first over for 0 . Jack Simpson (6) fell tamely in the fourth over to a poor shot off Everett and when debutant Phil Marshall was caught and bowled by O’Keeffe in the fifth over, Hill were a miserable 8 for 3.
Some resistance came from Nathan Cooper (11) before being bowled by O’Keefe . Zain Patel (24) was looking positive and scoring briskly before becoming the first victim to the dangerous spin of Jonny Phelps.
A partnership between Ian Simpson and Kirk Proto (16) gave Hill hope but Heath’s tails were up and the lower order fell away to the spin of Bailey and Phelps . Simpson was one of the few bright sparks with a careful yet positive 41 before falling to Phelps .
Hill were all out for 122 in the 38th over .
A good start for Heath but a decidedly shaky one for Hill.
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