Burgess Hill u12s 113-5 lost to Preston Nomads u12s 114-6 by 4 wickets. 

The under 12s hosted the formidable Nomads on a stunning evening at St John’s Park, and in spite of a fantastic all round performance, fell just short.

Skipper Conor Ward won the toss and chose to bat. He and Billy Fuller started very well, and we set an excellent foundation at a really good pace, striking early boundaries and running well. Conor executed an excellent cut for his first boundary and the drove down the ground for another; and Billy guided 2 boundaries backward of square, however perished for 10 when a drive through the covers drew an excellent catch. Conor continued with positivity, and picked up a terrific shot off his legs for another 4 to mid-wicket; and Toby Spooner had joined him and looked purposeful and positive right from the start, stroke a delicious on-drive for 4, and following it with punch through the covers for 4. Conor however was to go when attempting to chip their spinner over mid on, hit the splice and fell to a good running catch to extra cover, for 19.

Toby continued to hit sublime shots along the ground for four; one just wide of mid-off was an absolute peach, and he was to retire on 28; and technically his most composed and elegant innings for the club. Henry Cobham was in at 4 and started well thumping a couple of uncompromising shots for 4 to get off to a quick start. Hayden Wickwar had replaced Toby at no5, and also started well with a lovely drive through backward point for 4. The runs started to dry up a little as Nomad’s strong county bowlers started to apply more pressure, and Henry went bowled trying to up the rate, for a well made 17. Radley Larder came an went for a rapid 10, which included 2 boundaries, and Louis was caught by a stunning catch for a duck. However Hayden stayed firm and stroked an even better boundary and finished 10 not out, and Jake MacMahon ended 2 not out, as we compiled 113-5 from our 20 overs. A good score against other teams we play, but it felt about 20 short against the Nomads.  That said, it was a terrific performance, with 6 players hitting double figures.

The reply started well for Burgess Hill. Radley bowled 2 probing overs without success, and Jack MacDonald also looked dangerous, until their county player Musto, all of a sudden found his gears – hitting Jack for 20 off his second over, and racing to his retirement for 29. That opened up a new end, and Louis Harcourt struck with his first ball, and Jake MacMahon got his deserved first wicket for the club with another excellent bowled delivery. 2 balls later, a big and very close shout for lbw when bowling to another county player, Archie Eaton; was denied. It would have been a big wicket to get, however it was missing leg, and soon Archie started to show his class too, punishing any loose balls.

We were dominating the other batsmen, but Archie was a different prospect, and also retired on 29. Again, this opened an end, and Aaron Goldsmith took the wicket of another county player, Cameron Hepburn, for 11 – thanks to a stunning catch from Billy. Billy then pounced with the ball in hand to clean bowl their no6. The target was getting close, and Conor threw the ball to Benji for a third over. And sure enough he delivered with 2 early wickets in the over, both caught by Billy again from injudicious shots, and we had 2 wickets to get; and they had 4 runs to win. However Benji’s over finished with a wide and a couple of singles and Nomad’s hobbled over the line; albeit with 4 overs to spare, due to the pace of scoring by the two retirers.

A really good performance from us. Solid and aggressive batting from Toby, Conor and Henry; following by a smattering of wickets across the bowlers and catching from Billy that reflected a good performance in the field. Nomads always arrive with 5 or 6 county players, and you just need to rise to the challenge, and the boys did. Very creditable performance.

Scorecard: https://burgesshill.play-cricket.com/website/results/3616124

Match report by Steve Ward – u12s coach.