Burgess Hill travelled to Roffey to play the first of this season’s timed matches and, despite a much improved performance, suffered another defeat.
Heavy rain on Thursday night resulted in a wicket with plenty of grass. Roffey 2nd’s skipper Oliver Fisher won the toss and invited Hill to bat.
Hill’s skipper Tom Trowbridge got off to a brisk start cutting Sachin Naik to the boundary four times in his first two overs. Young Jamie Atkins was bowling briskly from the pavilion end and getting plenty out of the wicket . In his third over he got his reward as Trowbridge edged and Mark Pavlovic took the catch at slip. Kevin Ramsay joined Tom Penfold and the pair dug in against the accuracy of Naik and Atkins. Naik bowled five successive maidens and Atkins went for just 11 off his six over spell. The change bowlers, Alex Collins and Tom Barnes were equally miserly and the normally fluent and quick scoring Ramsay was becalmed. Having worked hard for his 13 , Ramsay was second to fall top-edging to Pavlovic off Barnes. Pavlovic then claimed his third catch, smartly taking Proto (5) for Barnes’ second. At 77-3 off 30 overs Hill needed to build a competitive total . Penfold was playing with increasing confidence and refused to be phased by the disciplined attack from Roffey and he put on a 33 partnership with Ian Simpson (7). The introduction of left-arm spinner Fred Bridges was Simpson’s undoing as he was bowled. Joe Maskell joined Penfold and was playing positively until he chose to cut a straight ball from Bridges and was clean bowled for 10. With Hill on just 129 with ten overs left, the innings was in need of an impetus. This came in the sturdy shape of Ben Hopkins who was watchful as Penfold accelerated before being bowled by the returning Jamie Atkins for a fine 64 off 140 balls . Hopkins struck three fours and two sixes for a quickfire 28 before holing out at deep mid-off attempting another maximum.
The innings then fell away as Hill chased runs and bonus points and Roffey got maximum bowling points as Hugh Warmisham skied Bridges to Jordan Bell for his third catch of the innings. Hill finished on a competitive 180. Barnes took 4-33 and Bridges 4-17.
Opening bowlers George Willett and Warmisham were keen to exploit the still helpful wicket and Warmisham found the edge of Jordan Bell’s bat twice only for both chances to be put down. Warmisham did not have to wait long as Bell fell to him , caught by keeper Luke Vick for 9. Warmisham bowled with great purpose as Willett started to lose his rhythm. Warmisham took his second wicket when Rivers was caught by Simpson. When the dependable Dan Rapson (11-1-23-1) had Sachin Naik caught by Maskell Roffey were 53-3 and Hill were well in the game.
The welcome return of Ian Simpson put more pressure on Roffey as he found lift and movement and took 3-33 in a fine ten over spell. He had Pavlovic caught at slip before Proto pouched the obdurate Alex Collins (28) and then had Ed Barnes caught behind for a duck.
Roffey were now 73-6 and Hill sniffed a first win of the season. However a defining partnership developed between Abdul Khan and Fereday Rafal (38) as they counter-attacked and punished the Hill change bowlers. All results were still possible as Roffey moved in on victory. Chances did come for Hill but all were shelled until Ramsay hung on to one as Fereday fell to Warmisham. The missed chances proved to be the difference as Khan (48 no) steered Roffey to victory with Barnes hitting a rapid 27. Roffey crossed the line with two balls remaining.