Burgess Hill u12s 113-6 lost to Ditchling u12s 115-1 by 9 wickets.
An under-strength u12s team came up against the unbeaten league leaders, Ditchling, on Monday evening at St Johns, and despite a strong batting performance, were soon to discover why they are top of the table.
Our visitors won the toss and asked us to bat. Due to school trips, we were missing 5 or 6 regular players from our squad – however – some returning, new and younger players meant we were still to put out a perfectly good team – and our batting performance demonstrated this.
In Conor Ward’s absence, Toby Spooner was captain and Billy Fuller opened with him. We got off to a flyer, though sadly Toby departed to a terrific ball for a 3 ball 6, but Billy and incoming Lewis McIntyre kept the runs flowing. Ditchling’s bowlers were terrific, generally accurate and noticeably quicker than previous opposition. Billy continued with his excellent batting form, and used the pace skilfully to find spaces behind square, and we were 30-1 after 4 overs. Picking his shots carefully, he filled the role of the senior batter well. Lewis fell for 6, lbw; but replacing him was Tom Broughton who also looked serenely in control. Billy eventually went for 16, and soon after Glen MacDougall fell, and we were 66-4. Jake McMahon scored 4 on his debut, but became our second lbw, and then in the same over Tom – who had flicked and nurdled 3 boundaries on his way to 15 – also fell, both to their terrific young bowler Charlie Eastman (on his 8th birthday!!).
We’d dipped to 76-6 now and were 14 overs in; however an excellent partnership between Radley Larder and Hayden Wickwar saw us to the end. It was a great partnership to watch. Hayden took his time to get going, but when he did, he again used bowler pace well to guide 3 boundaries on his way to 21, and Radley particularly played the spinner well, getting his foot to the ball to chip him for 2 fours as he played the ideal supporting role with an unbeaten 10. Their partnership took us to 113-6; our highest score of the season; and the highest score against Ditchling this season too.
We felt we had something to defend, for sure. And when Radley started with a tight first over, we looked strong. However in the second over, we got a snippet of what was to come. Billy Fuller bowled a good ball, that was picked up by their u12s county opener Alex for 6 with stunning power. Next over, Alex struck another boundary and all of a sudden our target looked not so big. Tom Broughton bowled the other opener for 4 in the fourth over, but was then hit for 3 consecutive 4s by another county batsman, Connor. In fact, for the next couple of overs we were helpless as Connor struck 6 fours and a six inside 9 balls, to retire on 30 at the end of the 5th over. They were 60-1 at this point. Aaron Goldsmith learned well from his expensive first four balls, to pitch it up further and bowled eight excellent remaining balls, and new man Jake McMahon showed his potential with 2 excellent overs. Making their debuts for the u12s, Jake Armstrong and Harry Hammond bowled really well. Jake was particularly probing with his accurate line and bowled 2 pretty miserly overs in the context of the game, and with two further county players at the crease; and Harry’s pace – when accurate – troubled the batters.
At the end of the 12th over however, it was all over and Ditchling were comfortable winners.
The in-balance of the second innings was something we could do little about. Maybe a couple of catches going down may have changed things if they’d stuck – however we just had to accept that their batting line-up was too hot to handle. Our own batting performance, against a good crew of bowlers; was terrific and the boys were and should be very pleased with themselves.