Burgess Hill u11s 238 lost to Ditchling u11s 328 by 90 runs.

The start of a new season and the boys lined up for the first competitive hard ball fixture and were given a tough work-out by a talented Ditchling team at St John’s Park.

The visitors won the toss and put us into bat. We started well, Toby Spooner (15 off the bat) got off to a great debut with three early boundaries, and was ably supported by the solid Tom Broughton. Their opening partnership of 20 net runs, having lost one wicket, gave us an encouraging start. Billy Fuller and Henry Cobham followed, but faced strong accurate bowling that stifled their natural attacking play, and as they attempted to score runs, lost a couple of wickets in the process as Ditchling began to take control of the game. Ewan Edwards and Benji Turner were solid for their 4 overs, but we lacked power and the runs weren’t flowing. There was plenty of power in Lewis McIntyre & Glen MacDougall and Lewis (15 from the bat) cracked 3 boundaries, however some kamikaze running led to a cluster of wickets which held us back further. The final pair had to face up to an excellent pair of bowlers, including a county u11 player. Conor Ward (9 from the bat) hit a couple of crisp boundaries, and Jack MacDonald held his own despite losing a couple of wickets, and they put 16 for the final pair for the innings to end on 238net.

The Ditchling reply started steadily. Tom and Toby kept the runs reasonably tight, but weren’t taking wickets, that is until Billy came on and bowled by far his best spell yet, as he took 3 wickets for only 5 runs from his overs to mean we had restricted them to 222net after 7 overs. However gradually, the quality of Ditchling’s batting improved and soon the runs began to flow. Ewan (1-10) got a breakthrough but it was the last of the wickets we took. The final 9 overs saw their county players and strong batsmen hit almost 90 runs without loss, and one final pair batter smacked 36 off the bat off 20 balls, even against some of our strongest bowling. Ditchling sailed to 328 for a comfortable victory.

A good lesson for our boys. Ditching scored 14 boundaries compared to our 8 (a 26 run difference), and lost only 4 wickets compared to our 11 (a further 35 run difference). That said, aside of some clumsy wickets, we looked good, batted nicely and bowled and fielded really well. This was a tough week, but we will definitely have better weeks, and the boys should be encouraged.