The Under 12 boys picked up their second win of the season in 3 games within the challenging division 1 league with a fantastic all round performance against a talented Brighton & Hove team at St John’s Park. Report from Steve Ward. 

Burgess Hill u12s 107-2 BEAT Brighton & Hove u12s 96 all out, by 11 runs. 

Hill captain Conor Ward won the toss, and elected to bat. It was a great decision. The batting performance that followed was mature and well constructed, and all the batters who had their chance, should be immensely proud.

Playing on a grass wicket, the bounce was slow and low, and created a good challenge for the boys. Conor and his fellow opener Toby Spooner played with due care and attention once again, and were able to build a sold 24 partnership before Toby, who couldn’t find his usual attacking strokes, chipped the ball onto the leg-side for a good catch, out for 7. Conor had looked the more fluent of the openers, and hit two exquisite fours in the early part of the innings – one driven square through point and cover, and the next punched down the ground past the bowler. Billy Fuller came in at 3 and found a boundary early, latching onto a leg-stump full toss and looked busy and productive at the crease, whilst Conor was at ease at the other end, collecting runs at a steady and secure pace – smashing another terrific four down the ground, before eventually retiring not out on 26 – his second retirement in three innings this season.

Billy found another boundary, but was to perish when attempting to up the rate with 4 overs to go – giving a catch, and out for 13. Henry Cobham and Tom Broughton closed out the innings unbeaten; with Henry entertaining the home crowd with 3 thumping boundaries onto the leg side for a valuable unbeaten 14 which helped the final 20 over score along to a highly respectable 107-2; given the challenging wicket.

Brighton & Hove’s reply started a with some luck. Radley Larder’s opening over saw him draw the edge twice for 4 each time, but it was also indicative of the fact we were on top. His and Jack MacDonald’s opening overs were giving little away after that, and it was Jack who got the first breakthrough with a fast straight delivery bowled. A change of pace was to follow, and it worked a treat. They couldn’t get Aaron Goldsmith off the square as he wheeled away with great accuracy, and then Glen MacDougall at the other end also proved difficult to hit, and sure enough was rewarded with 2 wickets for just 8 runs from his overs, as he bowled their county opener for 15, and then 2 balls later Toby Spooner took a fantastic catch to make them 3 down for 23.

The visitors then managed to hold firm for a significant 1o over period. Overs from Billy, Benji Turner and Louis Harcourt were largely tight and effective, but couldn’t yield a wicket. A couple of tough chances were dropped, but the fielding on the whole was electric and were saving boundaries with a committed performance from all the team.

At 80-3 after 15.3 overs, there was a possibility we would beaten, but our chance came when a mix-up in calling left one end exposed and Radley swooped to run out their number 5 for a studious 11. Two balls later, their set batsman cracked and mishit an attacking stroke to give a catch to Billy in the covers. It was the start of a collapse. Aaron came back for an over and got his deserved wicket, bowled; and then Radley returned to take 2 wickets in the 18th over; one plumb lbw, and the other forcing the batsman back to hit his own wicket. They needed an unlikely 14 to win off the last over, which Conor gave to Tom Broughton. Tom’s first wicket was cheeky and really ended the game, as he ran out the non-striker backing up too far. We thought their umpire would probably just warn the batter, but no – he gave him out, and then 3 balls later, Aaron took a secure catch to end the innings 96 all out.

As a coach, you always hope – especially in a league as tough as the one we are in – that everyone gives their all in these games and doesn’t lose positivity or heart. This was precisely that. From the solid batting, to the potent bowling attack, and the fielding and catching – it was a complete performance. They were a team of 12 year olds with 3 county players; and we were a team of 7x 11 year olds, 4x 12 year olds, and no county players. The lads should be very proud of a very fine performance.

Scorecard HERE