Hill got off to almost the perfect start as they took 26 points against East Grinstead 2’s as the returning Dan Strange takes 5-33.
The new season brought a new captain this year for Burgess Hill, Joe Maskell started off well by winning the toss and electing the bat first in the 26-degree heat. New opening partners Tom Trowbridge and Ben Hopkins got the Hill off to a steady start by reaching 18 before the first wicket fell. Hopkins went back to a delivery that kept low and was bowled 4, and the second wicket quickly followed with Trowbridge also going back to a similar delivery which sent the bails flying. At 27-2 and William Taylor on fire taking both wickets, Hill were looking to rebuild with Luke Vick and Kev Ramsay but Vick fell with the score on 30 and that was quickly followed by Ramsay who went the same way as Hopkins and Trowbridge, leaving hill on 44-4. As captain Maskell walked in, he knew that a partnership was needed with fellow youngster Tom Penfold. The two-batted sensibly, not scoring many runs, but protecting their wicket and trying to build a foundation for lower middle order. The score was almost doubled before the next wicket, another low delivery hit Maskell on ankle and he departed for 17, and this brought Kirk Proto to the crease with roughly 8 overs to go. He found some exceptional early season form hitting the bowlers all-round the park. He and Penfold started scoring at over 10 an over and quickly put on 65 in 6 overs. Proto eventually fell to another low delivery for a quick fire 30. Dan Strange came in and hit a boundary before he departed, but it was Penfold who finished the innings with a 6 down the ground to take him to 46 not out and finished Hill with a very competitive 169-7. Stand out bowlers for East Grinstead were William Taylor (3-23 from 9 overs) and Ravi Cryer (1-11 from 7 Overs).
Hill knew with the sum beaming down the wicket was only going to get easier to bat on, so early wickets were needed with the new ball. Dan Strange came firing in with the new ball and was swinging it both ways, attacking the stumps but threatening the edge at the same time. His first wicket came with score on just 2, pinning Kurt Richardson on the pads, and his second came just as quickly removing Jay Ansley for 0. Maskell took the new ball with Strange, and both were very threatening with Maskell having Ryan Shortland dropped at gully. Hill didn’t have long to wait until their next wicket, this time it was Peter Billinghay’s third ball that pinned Ashley Corbell for the 3rd LBW of the innings. Strange then picked up his 3rd, by bowling Rob Glaysher for 2, leaving East Grinstead in trouble at 51-4. Shortland was going well at the other end, he was seeing his partners come and go but was looking very tidy in defence and building a solid partnership with Andrew Medcalf. With a bold move of bowling Strange his 9 overs straight out, it was about surviving the last few balls for Medcalf, but he couldn’t do it, Strange picked up his fourth wicket, and 3rd LBW by trapping him for 10. With one ball of his spell left, youngster Morgan Lapina-Amarelle came to crease, Maskell brought his field in anticipation of a big delivery from Strange. He duly obliged by taking his 5th wicket and remarkably his fourth LBW by removing Lapina-Amarelle for a first ball duck. A quite magnificent spell from Strange, bowling full and quickly and rightfully claimed 5-33 from his 9 overs. William Taylor and Shortland took East Grinstead through to drinks with game even poised, Hill needing 4 wickets, and East Grinstead only needing 3 runs an over for victory. They took the score from 69-6 to 120-7, requiring only 50 runs to win. Shortland had just past his fifty and Taylor was looking settled on 18. Maskell decided to bring himself back into the attack to try and get a break through. He eventually managed to pick up the crucial wicket of Taylor LBW for 18, before taking 3 wickets in the over to win the game for Burgess Hill. He bowled Shortland for 50, and then removed Martin Hartland and Ravi Cryer in consecutive balls to give Burgess Hill a 46 run winning margin.
It was a great win and great start for Burgess Hill, special mentions to Tom Penfold 46 not out whilst batting, then Dan Strange (5-33) and Joe Maskell (4-11) for bowling extremely well in hot conditions. Remarkably there was 11 LBWs in the 16 wickets to fall all day, with the other 5 being bowled and no catches at all!