Burgess Hill left Pagham with a much needed 30 points that lifts them out of the relegation spots as they head into a crucial run of games.
Pagham won the toss and chose to bowl, a decision that seemed wise as Hill slipped to 32-3, losing Ben Hopkins, Kev Ramsay and Kirk Proto early. Hopkins was first to fall, adjudged lbw after after a run a ball 16 including one very true straight six. Ramsay edged behind off the bowling of David Leader and Kirk Proto followed shortly after another good delivery saw him caught behind. Rain came and half an hour was lost but it served to benefit Hill as Matt Charman (19) and Tom Trowbridge (68) consolidated. They shared 65 runs before Charman was lbw to Gareth Davies. Joe Maskell came to the crease and more than supported Trowbridge scoring freely, hitting 42 from just 53 balls including six fours and a six. Trowbridge notched his first fifty of the season, a crucial innings at the top of the order, but fell not long after for 68 in the cruelest of ways, deemed run out backing up as bowler Wayne Green got the faintest of finger tips to a Maskell straight drive. However this just brought Andrew Ifill to the wicket and his 38 from 23 balls, including one the largest sixes surely ever seen at Pagham CC, placed Hill very nicely on 217-8 at the midway stage.
Further rain just after tea meant two overs were lost leaving Pagham an uphill task to chase 218 to win from 45 overs, 4.84 runs an over required. Maskell opened the bowling with Ifill but Pagham started brightly as Australian left-hander Aiden Zammitt scored the first 19 runs of the innings from 19 balls. However his game was brought to an abrupt end when he miscalculated and was bowled between bat and pad by Maskell. Hugh Warmisham replaced Ifill at the other end and soon found a nice rhythm hitting a regular line and length. His persistence was rewarded with the wicket of Stuart Rutter (17), bowling him between the gate, Pagham still well placed at 42-2. Joe De La Fuente (14) and Ryan Barratt (37) took Pagham to 63 before Warmisham struck again with a similar delivery this time bowling De La Fuente with another delivery that came back in on the batsman as he shouldered arms. Hill’s tails were up but Gareth Davies and Barratt rebuilt to keep Pagham in the hunt at 97-3. However it was the introduction of Peter Billinghay that really helped turn the screw for Hill. First he bowled Davies, before Warmisham completed his 13 over spell of 3-32 with the important wicket of Barratt, taking out middle stump to leave Pagham 113-5. The win was beginning to look beyond Pagham as the required run rate was ever rising but with only 10 overs remaining Hill still needed to take five wickets. Fortunately Pagham kept going for the win they needed in order to stay in the promotion hunt. Stuart Hanks came and went for a quick 11, Stuart Leader hit 19 in 25 balls but he ran out of partners as Billinghay took 4-28 in 9 overs, an excellent catch from Trowbridge at long off removing Albert Burgess and Ben Hopkins catching Wayne Green at point. Five balls later it was all over as Maskell (3-33 from 9) returned to mark an excellent day for himself personally removing Peter Cotterill lbw and bowling Stuart Rutter for consecutive ducks, securing a 62 run victory for Burgess Hill with just four overs to spare as Pagham ended 155 all out.
Hill now face Roffey, Brighton and then Bexhill in three crucial consecutive win/lose matches before ending the season with a trip to Haywards Heath.