Burgess Hill were at Priory Park in much need of a win against table-topping Chichester . Chichester won the toss and given the strength in their bowling attack it was no surprise when they asked Burgess Hill to bat on winning the toss .
This decision looked vindicated as Matt Geffen had Tom Penfold caught comfortably at slip for just 4 in the fourth over . However, Kevin Ramsay joined skipper Tom Trowbridge and was soon timing the ball sweetly particularly on the leg-side . Trowbridge (24) was looking untroubled and starting to find some form of his own as the partnership progressed to 83 off just 16 overs before he misjudged a delivery from Johnny Heaven and was bowled . Too often this season Hill have lost wickets in clusters but the dependable Karl Boffey kept the run-rate up and put on a 50 partnership with Ramsay before being trapped LBW for 23 off Rob Carver .
At 144-3 off just 30 overs Hill were well placed to secure maximum batting points .Kirk Proto played positively for his 10 but was was caught behind by George Perry off Mike Smith and quickly followed by Kevin Ramsay who had made a fine 78 off just 83 balls before falling LBW to the returning Matt Geffen .Hill were determined not to throw away their good position and Joe Maskell was as fluent as ever as he took Hill past 200 with good support from Andrew Ifill .
A much higher score was thwarted when Maskell chipped tamely to Patel off Joseph for 30 but the tail wagged as Peter Billinghay hit an unbeaten 18 with some dogged support from Ben Churchyard . Hill were bowled out in the 52nd over for 225 with Geffen and Joseph taking three apiece .
Chichester’s reply got off to a shaky start as the experienced Ifill took two wickets in his second over , clean bowling Johnny Heaven for 1 and having Jay Hartard expertly taken by Karl Boffey for just 4 . Opener Peter Lamb was determined to attack but hit in the air once too often and fell for 27 to a sharp catch by Tom Penfold off Maskell from just the third ball of his opening spell. At 40-3 off 10 overs Chichester needed to consolidate but Hill’s tails were up and in the next six overs four wickets fell as Chichester subsided to 67-7 . Joe Maskell was involved in all four dismissals as he first caught Mike Smith off Peter Billinghay for 0 before taking three wickets in five balls. This included a remarkable one-handed catch at slip by Ifill to dismiss Joseph for 8 as well as bowling Simon Hasted and capturing Matt Bennison (14) LBW . Burgess Hill searched for the last three wickets but they were met with a counter-attack from Abz Patel and stubborn resistance from George Perry (26 off 91 balls).Skipper Trowbridge made frequent bowling changes but no chances were created until Joe Maskell returned and two chances went down behind the wicket . Maskell got a well deserved fifth in the 43rd over as Chichester were reduced to 163-8 but despite good bowling from Dan Rapson in particular Patel remained calm and Chichester settled for a draw with both teams taking fourteen points . Patel was unbeaten on 78 off 83 balls and Maskell took 5-44 off fourteen overs .
A much improved performance by Hill but they need to find the killer instinct if they are to avoid the drop this season.