Preston Nomads u12s A 138-4 (16 overs) beat Burgess Hill u12s 95 all out (14 overs)

We love going to the Nomads as it’s one of Sussex’s more stunning cricket locations – especially in the evening sun – however the standard and depth of their cricket resources, means we get beaten regularly and I’m afraid the same occurred this week; however not without a spirited performance from the Burgess Hill lads.

The home captain Ziggy won the toss and elected to bat. It was a good decision and we’d have done the same. Chasing in the dusky evenings is tough.

From the off, some tough signs were evident. Their astro pitch was producing steepling bounce at one end and low at the other, and the boundaries were so short, they were akin to a under 9s game. Our quick bowling attack of Radley Larder and Jack MacDonal suffered a little early as runs were easy to collect, particularly off the legs onto a short boundary and, for every 3 excellent balls, the one that ever so slightly strayed was flicked to that boundary with ease. Radley and Jack bowled excellently, but it was when captain Conor Ward brought on the more modest pace of Aaron Goldsmith, we found our success. Aaron had Ziggy caught by Toby Spooner in the covers for 9, and then had Cameron, also for a quick 9, bowled. Aaron finished with 2-19 from his two overs. Louis Harcourt suffered from facing a terrific batsman coming in at 4, who despite Louis’ excellent deliveries, smashed him for 22 off one over and retired on 25 after only 11 balls. Their second opener also retired at 27, and they were firing at nearly 11 an over at the 8 over point.

We brought it back excellently though. Benji Turner gave the ball bags of flight and took a wicket thanks to a smart stumping from Henry Cobham, and nearly had a couple more the same way. Benji finished 1-10 from his 2 overs, and Conor bowled an over which went for just one run, and then Glen MacDougall did the same, but with the extra reward of a bowled wicket. This spell between those bowlers really tightened the game, and although they picked up a little from Radley’s closing over, the final score of 138, whilst a huge total, felt like something of a recovery – and with those short boundaries, a total we felt we could challenge.

The Burgess Hill innings started badly for us, with Conor getting struck on the thigh from a quick ball with unexpectedly lively bounce. Although he managed to respond for one ball by cutting the bowling again for 4, he couldn’t repeat the trick and found point. Toby Spooner and Billy Fuller however responded excellently, with a phenomenal partnership given the county quality in their bowling attack, aligned with the high bounce. The lads used the short boundary well, but also runs from Billy were well executed on the offside too. At the 8 over stage we were going well at around 58-1 with Billy having retired on 29, with 5 fours and one sweetly struck six. Toby soon departed lbw for an excellent 19, to continue his excellent start to the season.

From there we struggled to find the same discipline and shot selection in our play, as a series of wickets started to fall to good bowling. Radley however provided some light with a lively 13 with 2 sumptuous boundaries, but he was also to depart in a 4th over where we lost 3 wickets and Nomads bowled us out for 95.

A tough match as ever against these guys, but actually so many positive signs – not least the innings’ of Billy, Toby and Radley – and the tight bowling from Glen, Aaron, Conor and Benji.

We’ll go into the next game in a fortnight still with plenty of confidence.