Heath beat Chichester to knock them off top spot

Ollie Bailey hits out during his 33 not out. Picture by Derek Martin
Ollie Bailey hits out during his 33 not out. Picture by Derek Martin

With just three games of the season remaining Heath travelled to picturesque Goodwood to take on promotion rivals Chichester.

After winning the toss and electing to bowl it was the fielders who made the first breakthrough for the second week in a row, this time courtesy of a Tim Upchurch run out.

Alex Dodsworth takes a run. Picture by Derek Martin

Alex Dodsworth takes a run. Picture by Derek Martin

Despite a disciplined opening spell by Matt O’Keeffe and David Everett Chichester soon regrouped and had reached 58-1 when Simon Hasted (24) clipped a Josh Woodfield delivery to mid-wicket to give Heath their second.

Jonny Phelps then took a simple caught and bowled chance to take the wicket of Matthew Bennison for 24, but it was Woodfield who produced the pivotal bowling spell as his swing and seam movement, paired with some sharp work from brother Dan behind the stumps, took out the Chichester middle order to return figures of 4 for 29 from his 9 overs.

Now 85 for 6 Chichester were unable to regain any momentum as Ben Matthew had Daniel Joseph caught and Phelps lured number 9 James Stemp into a lofted drive that landed in the hands of Upchurch at mid-off. Ollie Bailey found the outside edge of Abishek Patel for 18, leaving it to Phelps to wrap up the innings as George Perry attempted to go over the top only to find the hands of Blunt at mid-on. Heath had bowled Chichester out for 115.

Despite the modest total Heath were aware of the need for a solid start against the league’s most formidable seam attack, and although there were a few play and misses along the way Phelps paved the way with a brisk 25 before being undone by Matt Geffen.

Very next ball Dan Woodfield was trapped lbw and Chichester’s spirits were on the up. During the next 10 overs Chris Blunt and Alex Dodsworth were resolute in the face of some fine bowling but were unable to get the score moving. Blunt was then trapped lbw and yet again a second wicket fell immediately, this time Matt O’Keeffe the victim.

At 37-4 the target of a 115 looked a long way off but Dodsworth and Ollie Bailey began patiently building what was to be the match winning partnership. As new bowlers came into the attack the pair began to rotate strike more easily to the frustration of the home side.

Needing 50 to win from the final 15 overs there was a clear shift of intent, with Bailey taking the role of aggressor and playing strongly down the ground against both seam and spin. Dodsworth (32*) played a couple of lovely cut shots when width was offered and soon the target was in reach, the final runs were knocked off in fine fashion by Bailey (33*) as he struck a four back over the bowlers head in the 39th over to take Heath home by 6 wickets and record a huge 30 point to 2 victory.