Burgess Hill u11s 282-5 beat St James u11s 276-7 by 6 runsĀ 

The lads got back to winning ways with a hard fought win which went down to the final balls on a hot morning, but a tricky grass wicket with variable bounce.

Our captain this week was Ewan Edwards and having lost the toss we were asked to bat. In a switch to the line up, the coach gave Ewan the responsibility of ‘doing a job’ at the start of the innings with Tom Broughton. We anticipated that St James would open the bowling with their 2 excellent Southern Sabres bowlers, and so 2 very correct players seeing off their threat seemed like the right thing to do. It paid off. Ewan & Tom were admirably selfless as they nudged and defended their wickets stoically. The partnership was only 3 from the 4 overs, however those bowlers were seen off, and we had all our wickets intact. This allowed the more aggressive pair of Toby Spooner (20 unbeaten) & Billy Fuller (8 from the bat) to play their natural game, and they did so. One wicket fell in the pair, but a net total of 29 and a towering pulled six from Toby put us back into a strong position. Glen MacDougall and Aaron Goldsmith continued; a four from Glen and a few nudges and we were 247 after 12. Lewis McIntyre (10 from bat) was given license to attack and he did so, however a couple of wickets lost stopped us in our tracks a little and at 16 we were 257. The last wicket partnership partnership of Conor Ward (14 unbeaten) and Henry Cobham (8 from the bat) added another 25 and we ended on 282.

Although the lads felt they should have had more, St James’ coach said it was above par there and so indeed, given the unpredictability of the pitch at times, it was an excellent total.

The St James reply started with a mixed bag. Runs were flowing from the two Sabres players, however they also lost a couple of wickets, one each for Toby (1-20) and Tom (1-13). St James were 229 at 4 overs, and once again, their leading players were out of the game. Billy and Ewan followed and bowled an excellent spell, Ewan taking 1-10 and Billy grabbing a wicket also, but he was to return later. Conor came on and was characteristically miserly as well as taking an early wicket and Glen also kept decent control taking 1-12 from his 2 overs. At 12 overs the hosts were 239. 44 required from the final 8 overs. In the next pair, St James got the spurt they needed. Aaron and Callum Nye bowled well, but there were enough runs coming, without the loss of wickets, to move them to 261 after 16. 22 needed of 4 overs. Even Stevens. Lewis came onto bowl and did an excellent job. We decided to bring the pace and skiddiness of Billy back on for the 18th over as we were bowling downhill at this point, and he did his magic, bowling a good batsman with his first ball, to create a net zero over and finish with an excellent 2-16 from 3 overs. Lewis started the 19th well but to add to the drama lost his line for the last couple of balls and gave away 5 wides. Still, with 11 needed off the last over we were favourites and it just required Conor to bowl a good straight line and for the fielding to remain sharp. No fear, he was up to the task and went for only 2 runs off the bat to finish with 1-5 from 3 overs, and although they ran everything at the end to grab a couple of byes, they could only muster 4 in total from the over and ended 276.

A brilliant close game, well fought by both sides. In truth, the 2 extra wickets we took were crucial as those 10 runs swung the match result. A fantastic and mature performance from the boys from 1-10 and the outfielding was at its best with sharp fielding on the ground, and all three catch chances taken. Once again, a group of boys who enjoy playing with each other and enjoying successes together.