Poor batting on an excellent pitch led to a three- wicket defeat for Burgess Hill visitors Portslade at St John’s Park.
Stand-in captain Dan Yates would have been happy to have been asked to bat on a true wicket which had been protected from the heavy rain.
Openers Aaron Barnes and Jack Simpson looked comfortable and Simpson had just hit two trademark boundaries before chipping a full-toss from Andrew Mamoaney to the lone Mark Gravett at mid-wicket. Barnes (6) then fell soon after to a full ball from Tom Stewart-Green.
Ian Simpson joined Karl Boffey and they looked to repair the damage with some sensible batting on a pitch which offered few alarms.
Left-arm spinner Steven Case was introduced into the attack and settled into a good line and length.
Simpson (6) looked to take the initiative but only succeeded in spewing a catch back to Case and Hill were 53-3.
This brought Joe Maskell to the crease and he looked to be at ease with a mixture of solid defence and fluent shots down the ground.
However, he misjudged a delivery from Case and was bowled for 32.
Boffey was then a spectator as three wickets fell through some very poor decisions by the Hill middle-order.
Boffey had just reached a well-deserved 50 when he was adjudged leg before to become Case’s fourth victim and Hill were in deep trouble at 124-8. Yates quickly followed bowled by Paul Glover and it was left to the final pair of George Willett (10) and Peter Billinghay (13) to bring some respectability.
But Hill were bowled out for 154 in the in over number 52 and Case finished with five for 49 off 20.4 overs.
With such a modest total to chase on a good wicket Portslade got off to the worst possible start as Dan Hansen fell to the first ball of the match, leg before to Dan Strange.
When George Willett, who was generating good pace and direction, bowled Paul Glover for three who shouldered arms, Hill looked to be in business.
However, overseas player Tom Mooney, steadied the innings batting effortlessly whilst Scott Ridge, although missing more than he was hitting, provided stubborn resistance.
Yates took the pace off and introduced Jack Simpson and Peter Billinghay and it was Billinghay who struck twice in the 27th over having Mooney caught for an excellent 59 to a well-judged catch by Maskell and Ridge for 12.
At 82 for four and two new batsmen at the crease Hill had renewed hope but Ian Wainwright and Dan Holgate (20) batted purposefully and took Portslade to 123 with relative ease.
Another twist came,though, as Simpson took three wickets in an over and once again Hill looked to be back in the game ! Yates, having strangled the run-rate with his off-spin, conceding just five runs from seven overs, re-introduced Strange.
Wainwright remained in control and just as Hill looked likely to escape with a draw he launched a six off the penultimate ball of the match. The win takes Portslade to third and Hill slip to fourth having taken a meagre seven points from the game.
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