Burgess Hill began their 2017 season with a heavy defeat at Cherry Lane on a dry but cool and windswept day.
Crawley Eagles won the toss and chose to bat on a true firm wicket . Hill exerted good pressure early on with Hugh Warmisham finding a good rhythm and Joe Maskell getting swing which produced three wides and the early wicket of Razlan Razik in his first over . However after this promising start for Hill it was Eagles who prospered . Anjun Zafar and Imran Suddahazai started to build a steady partnership with Zafar in particular punishing any loose balls. Skipper Luke Vick utilised all his bowlers and any control Hill had was eroded as the partnership grew helped out by some lax fielding and a number of missed chances. Zafar and Suddahazai put on a punishing 203 partnership before Zafar fell to a catch by Kirk Proto off Dan Rapson for an excellent 110. With wickets in hand Eagles put Hill to the sword in the final overs and finished with 266 for 4 off their 45 overs. Suddahazai reached his hundred before retiring hurt with cramp.
In response Hill’s openers, Vick and Tom Penfold , made a steady start and scoring at four an over were looking well set at 46-0. Imran Mehboob then struck with two wickets in ten balls with Vick (7) caught by Bashir and Proto (4) adjudged LBW. Kevin Ramsay joined Penfold and looked to be in good form . Just as Penfold looked to push on he was trapped by left-armed Realli Mohammed for 31 followed shortly after by Joe Maskell who nicked one behind . Andy Billinghay briefly showed some intent before falling to Uddin who then accounted for Ramsay (26) the very next ball. At 102-6 Hill were in dire straits. With a win highly unlikely Hill looked to at least pick up some bonus points. This they did with a fine 53 partnership between Charlie Punter (38) and Warmisham (25) with Punter in particular in belligerent form hitting six boundaries.
The final score of 191 restored some respectability with the evergreen Dan Maskell not out but Eagles were worthy winners and Hill have a tough season ahead.
Images courtesy of Kevin Shaw and the Mid Sussex Times.