Van Rensburg takes seven as Haywards Heath beat Bognor

Ben Van Rensburg in the field against Bognor
Ben Van Rensburg in the field against Bognor

For the second week in a row Haywards Heath were made to field first by the visiting skipper but produced another fine display with the ball.

Ben Van Rensburg and Jethro Menzies were all over the Bognor top order from the very first over and it wasn’t long before keeper Gary Honeysett was diving to his right to take a fabulous one-handed catch and claim the wicket of Bognor captain Ryan Maskell.

Although Menzies beat the bat time and time again that was to be his only wicket of a fine 9 over spell that complimented the hostility of Van Rensburg perfectly. The left arm quick put in a devastating 10 over spell that brought him 4 wickets for just 19 runs. The ball that welcomed Bognor number 4 Josh Seward by crashing into his helmet was much talked about after the game as one of the fastest balls seen at Heath in a long time.

Joe Ashmore and youngster Taylor Jaycocks got through the end of the spell and set about rebuilding the innings from 50 for 5. They put on a steadily paced partnership of 78 across the next 20 overs of the innings and only the return of Van Rensburg could end the innings of Jaycocks for 42. Ashmore reached 59 before becoming the last of Van Rensburg’s wickets as he finished with 7 for 31 from 15 overs. Callum Smith also bowled an excellent 16 over spell throughout the second half of the innings and was rewarded with two wickets at the close to bowl Bognor out for 152 in the 49th over.

In reply, Heath lost Jonny Young early but Menzies and Ben Matthew pushed the score along at a good rate, reaching 50 in the 10th over. Knowing that their most threatening bowlers would be spinners Roy Kaia and Joe Ashmore, captain Maskell introduced them early and it was Kaia that got Bognor back in the game by trapping Menzies lbw for a quick fire 32. Ashmore then struck twice in quick succession to take the wickets of Matthew (17) and Jonny Phelps, and suddenly at 61 for 4 the target was looking a long way off as Bognor crowded round the bat.

Callum Smith and Chris Blunt were just starting to build a partnership and relieve some pressure when Smith got a faint edge attempting to cut Kaia. Tashaffi Shams joined Blunt at the crease and the pair managed to stabilise things over the next 10 overs. Blunt played the more aggressive knock and after a few good overs of scoring Kaia was removed from the attack. With 33 needed Blunt went after the first over of returning opener Josh Sargant, hitting 3 fours and a six to bring up his half century and all but close out the game. There was still time for a wobble when Blunt was caught off Ashmore in the next over, leading to another wicket, but Shams (15) stood firm and Van Rensburg came in to hit the winning runs and seal an important win that puts Heath just three points from the promotion places.