Burgess Hill entertained local rivals Haywards Heath and were soundly beaten by 80 runs.
Haywards Heath were asked to bat and opener Johnny Phelps was quickly off the mark with two boundaries in Warmisham’s first over. Newcomer Andrew Ifill opened the bowling from the Church Road end and gave an element of control before capturing Chris Blunt for no score, smartly caught by Kevin Ramsay at gully. This brought Heath’s skipper Callum Smith to the crease. The pair put the early setback behind them as they calmly dealt with the Burgess Hill attack. Phelps was in fine form, dispatching any loose balls of which there were many and Smith was rarely troubled. Hill skipper Tom Trowbridge used his array of bowlers to try and stem the flow but the pair were progressing at nearly five an over before Peter Billinghay trapped Smith LBW for 33 in a partnership of 91. Billinghay and Ramsay were finally providing the control needed and Ollie Bailey soon departed caught by Matt Charman off Billinghay. Ifill returned and cleaned up Ed Long for 9 and Hill were starting to pull the game back. However, Phelps continued to score at a run a ball and scored a well- deserved and chanceless hundred. The introduction of Charman was finally his undoing but not before scoring 119 out of 189. To Hill’s credit they kept the pressure on and dragged the run-rate back with Vick stumping Dodsworth (12) off Billinghay and then Billinghay bowling Tim Upchurch (1). Joe Maskell clean bowled Matt O’Keefe before the luckless Rebecca Silk was run out and skipper Smith declared on 217-9 after 50 overs. Billinghay finished with 4-68 off 17 overs.
Hill’s reply started steadily enough until Tom Penfold played round a full ball from O’Keefe and was bowled for 8. Kevin Ramsay joined Trowbridge and Heath kept the pair relatively quiet with O’Keefe in particular bowling tightly. It was O’Keefe who then struck as Trowbridge edged to the grateful Smith at slip for 13. Heath continued to bowl tightly as Kirk Proto and Ramsay progressed the score to 70 in the 24th over.
It was the introduction of Ollie Bailey and a moment of controversy that triggered a double breakthrough for Heath and put Hill on the slide. Bailey appeared to have bowled Ramsay with the latter playing no stroke. Skipper Smith sportingly recalled Ramsay accepting that the batsman had not been ready to receive the ball. However, this seemed to unsettle Ramsay. He fell LBW to Bailey for 29 and was quickly followed by Charman who was bowled in the same over. Joe Maskell was in at six and with Proto put on runs fluently until Proto misjudged an attacking shot off Bailey and was caught by Long for 19. Four wickets then fell in five overs to the spin of Bailey and Phelps with Maskell out for 27 and the eighth wicket down at 103. Warmisham and Billinghay put on some useful runs to secure another batting point but the dependable O’Keefe bowled Billinghay for 18 and skipper Smith completed the rout with Rapson caught by Danny Everitt. O’Keefe took 3-21 and Bailey 4-41. Hill had capitulated from 70-2 to 137 all out and fall back into the bottom two whilst Heath are within a few points of top spot.