Burgess Hill suffered a narrow defeat against Brighton & Hove 2nds in a relegation battle at the Nevill Ground on Saturday. A heavy downpour at the start of the match reduced the match to 41 overs per side .
Tom Trowbridge elected to bat and opened the batting with Ben Hopkins . They faced Simon Hetherton and Chris Atherton who both had their first outings of the season for the second team after playing the majority of the season for the first team in the Premier division .
Hetherton bowled a good line and length whilst Atherton was less accurate and the Hill openers looked to capitalise on the loose balls . Skipper Trowbridge would have been disappointed to have clipped one such ball straight to square leg where Martyn Ford made no mistake.
Hetherton accounted for Kevin Ramsay (3) adjudged LBW and quickly followed by bowling Kirk Proto (2)and Matt Charman tamely caught for a duck . Hopkins was playing positively both in attack and defence but when he was given out LBW to Atherton for 21 , Hill were 38-5 with Hetherton and Atherton threatening to run through them.
However Tom Penfold and Joe Maskell staged something of a recovery as they saw off the opening attack through careful defence . Penfold (7) having shared a 46 run partnership with Maskell looked to push on but the experienced Dave Mates (1-16 off 8 overs) bowled him. Joe Maskell was batting fluently and was looking good having been given a life at mid-off. Luke Vick was in a determined mood and the pair looked to post some sort of total . However Maskell got himself in a mess against leg-spinner Jake Comaschi and was out caught and bowled to a good catch . His 36 off 50 balls was a valuable contribution. Hopes of a repeat of Andrew Ifill’s innings of the previous week were quickly thwarted as he attempted to hit his first ball from Comaschi to Eastbourne and was easily caught at slip. All credit to Vick who , with support from Peter Billinghay and Hugh Warmisham took the final score to 130-9 with Vick unbeaten on 25.
Hetherton was the pick of the bowlers with 3-17 off his 9 overs.
Burgess Hill were determined to make a fight of it and opening bowlers Maskell and Ifill bowled tight in the opening exchanges but without any luck . Maskell got his reward,trapping Martyn Ford LBW for 13. Atherton joined Jack Bradley and the pair batted patiently but also with some luck as catches eluded the fielders.
Change bowler Warmisham was finding a good rhythm despite the strong breeze and removed Bradley for 21 and skipper Guppy LBW for just 4. At 56-3 and Brighton scoring at just 3 and over, Hill were in with a shout.
The introduction of Ramsay’s off-spin kept the pressure on as he got turn and bowled a tight line . The pressure told as he bowled Atherton for 25 and trapped Hetherton LBW for 8. His nine overs went for just 22 runs. Charman bowled a maiden and with Brighton still scoring at just three an over another wicket could have created a wobble. However, Paul Hardwick (23) and Alec Scott (13) got them within 2 of victory before Billinghay and Ifill dispatched them for well deserved wickets .
Brighton got home with just more than an over to spare. It was a spirited performance by Burgess Hill but the defeat leaves them sharing bottom place with Brighton & Hove with just two to play.