Clair Park was the setting for another local derby between BHCC and HHCC 2s. Over the last few years these games have been really competitive with lot of runs and this was no exception. BHCC skipper Matt Charman won the toss and elected to bowl on what looked a great pitch but in the hope of some early wickets like in a few games previously.   Haywards Heath openers Amila and and Dagger refused to budge early however and made a great start against the new ball pair of Akeem and Bobby. They took the score past 70 before the change pair of Dan’s, Rapson and Woods, took them out in quick succession. Nilesh Dudhal at first looked hesitant playing and missing at a few and when Lewis Mamoany (1-23) had Haynes caught by Phil Wickwar it looked like we could make inroads into their batting order.

However Ed Long looked in good nick alongside Dudhal and they progressed the score along nicely and a score in excess of 200 looked nailed on. Skipper Charman brought himself onto bowl and removed Long LBW then bowled the dangerous HHCC skipper Dave Woodfield in just a few balls and Dan Maskell took out Ben Morris. At 162-6 BHCC were back in the game trying to bring our target down. Unfortunately the veteran Gary Honeysett (25 n/o) and Dudhal (who made an important 65 n/o) made hay at the end of the game and milked the bowling taking the score to 225-6 off their 47 overs. HHCC batted very well for sure, and it’s fair to say our standards with ball and especially fielding and catching had slipped from previous weeks. It was a good total on a good deck, we still thought we had a chance but would be tough.

Wickwar and Kevern opened up vs Matt Jones and Josiah Menzies who took the HHCC new ball and it was a good contest for the first 14 overs. Runs were flowing, the bowling was good, and wickets fell as HHCC made a good start with Jones taking out both openers. The BHCC dangerman Akeem Ifill and Lewis Mamoany rebuilt looking good and both progressed into their 30s before what was a game changing moment. Ed Long came on and after some big shots Akeem (35) cracked one to the deep midwicket boundary where that man Jones took an outstanding catch in the deep. HHCC knew it was a big wicket and at 94-3 it was a long way to go for a win for BHCC. When Lewis (34) followed soon after and then Gerard Havenga too, both to Ben Morris, BHCC were 98-5 and staring down the barrel. Dan Woods and Matt Charman however looked comfortable against the spin of Morris and Long and played some good shots in a partnership of 49 before Woods was bowled a good delivery from Long. Jack Smart hit a good boundary before Jones (3-45) returned and he played on and although Menzies and Jones bowled well both Bobby Barnes and Charman (39 n/o) did what was required to not lose the game and we finished 180-7 off our 43.

So we just kept our unbeaten record but HHCC were better on the day and we did well to prevent a loss to a good side who batted and bowled well. We bowled OK but fielded poorly dropping catches that could have made the game a little more interesting for us. However, HHCC are going to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, so we take a losing draw on the chin and move onto another local derby at home to St Andrews CC on Saturday. Also, huge credit to the HHCC groundstaff, a belter of a pitch, it was an absolute beauty to bat on.