Hat-trick hero Bailey puts Heath on the brink of promotion

Ollie Bailey
Ollie Bailey

All-rounder Ollie Bailey took a hat-trick and hit an unbeaten 50 as Haywards Heath won a thriller with promotion rivals Crawley Eagles at Cherry Lane by two wickets.

Only a point separated the two sides before the game but Heath's win now leaves needing just eight points from their final game against Burgess Hill next Saturday to gain promotion. And 22 points will see them win the SPCL Division 3 title.

Eagles captain Rehan Hasan won the toss and elected to bat but were soon 64-4 with David Everett (2-13), Joshua Woodfield and Jonny Phelps all taking wickets.

Falah Uddin and Usman Bashir dug in for Eagles and steadied the ship before leg-spinner Bailey stole the show.

Bashir pulled to mid wicket for 18 before Atiq Rehman and Baseer Jafeer were trapped lbw in consecutive balls and Bailey had his hat-trick. Eagles were now 103-7.

Uddin then fell after a solid 35 as Bailey claimed his fourth wicket.

Phelps (2-29) and Woodfield (2-33) then cleaned up the tail as Eagles finished on 140 all out from 40.3 overs.

Bailey finished with 4-33.

In reply, Heath had a similar start to Eagles and found themselves 58-5 with Phelps, Chris Blunt, Daniel Woodfield, skipper Smith and Alex Dodsworth all falling cheaply.

Bailey and Australian Matt O'Keefe then came together and steadied the ship just as Uddin and Bashir did for Eagles.

Bailey was the aggressor in a vital partnership of 65 before O'Keefe fell for 27 from 46 balls which sparked another mini collapse and Imran Mehboob found himself on a hat-trick when he dismissed Tim Upchurch first ball after O'Keefe fell. Ed Long survived the hat-trick ball but soon followed to become Mehboob's fourth wicket (4-22).

Heath were now 133-8 needing just eight runs to win.

And Joshua Woodfield proved the perfect foil for Bailey and the pair managed to get over the line and put them on the brink of promotion.

It was enthralling contest.

Heath face local rival Burgess Hill on Saturday while Eagles have a huge match against Chichester.