Burgess Hill faced top of the table Crawley Eagles at St John’s Park , needing to maintain their improved performance from the previous week.
On an overcast day Tom Trowbridge won the toss and opted to bat , opening himself alongside Tom Penfold . Eagles ‘ opening bowlers Imran Mehboob and Rilwan Mohammed immediately found the conditions perfect for swing and seam . Tom Penfold went early , unluckily playing on to Rilwan in the second over. Kevin Ramsay joined Trowbridge and the pair faced a real examination of their skills as the bowling remained accurate and testing . It was an attritional phase and having put on 52 in 23 overs , Trowbridge misjudged a half volley off Anjun Zafar and was caught by Falah Uddin at point for 15. Ramsay then followed the very next over as he was adjudged to have snicked behind to young keeper Sanjeev Nizam off Mehboob and had to go for 31 . When Joe Maskell was clean bowled in the 28th over for just 5 and the score on 59 it looked like all the hard work was in vain. Ben Hopkins was batting carefully and positively but became Zafar’s third victim as he was given out LBW for 9 and Hill were 69-5 off 34 overs. However , Phil Wickwar was putting up resolute resistance and with Andy Billinghay (10) put on twenty before Billinghay was given out LBW to Wazoomi Wahid and following himself LBW to Uddin.
At 89-7, Hill were in need of an impetus. This they got in the shapes of Charlie Punter and Andrew Ifill. Ifill launched Wahid for six off his very first ball and Punter hit cleanly and confidently as the pair put on 35 in five overs . Ifill departed for 24, caught by Usman Bashir off Shahid Raja after another towering six . Punter continued the assault and found an able partner in Peter Billinghay . A further 34 was put on before Punter was run out for 24 having hit four boundaries. Zafar (4-33) took the final wicket of Dan Rapson (2) in the 53rd over leaving Billinghay not out on 14. A total of 162 gave Hill something to bowl at.
The Eagles reply was less than sure as Ifill removed Imran Suddahazai (6) in the third over and Maskell had Razlan Razik caught by Hopkins for 7 in the fourth . When Ifill followed up in his very next over by having Nizam caught behind by Wickwar Eagles were 18-3. Ifill was replaced by Peter Billinghay who immediately found a good line and length . Bashir and Uddin put together 24 before Bashir was caught and bowled by Maskell(2-48). Uddin and Rehan Hassan batted sensibly and punished anything loose and having put on 45 , looked to be steering Eagles to victory.
A change of ends for Billinghay proved to be pivotal. The fluent Uddin fell to him for 37 and Rehan was bowled for 30 with the score on 111. Billinghay’s tail was up by now and he continued to trouble all the incoming batsmen , trapping Zafar for 21 , bowling Raja (0) , having Mehboob caught expertly by Ramsay for 4 and finally bowling Mohammed for 0 . Billinghay took four wickets in fourteen balls to finish with a match-winning 6-30 off 12.2 overs.
Eagles were all out for 144 and Hill had a much needed win by 18 runs.