Heath continue strong start with win at St James’s despite difficult week

Haywards Heath cricketers pay their respects to Mike Howard
Haywards Heath cricketers pay their respects to Mike Howard

In a difficult week that saw the sudden passing of our beloved President Mike Howard, Haywards Heath made the short trip to St James’s in search of a second win.

Having won the toss St James’s elected to bat, and after a respectfully observed minute’s silence, were tested from the off by the Heath opening pair Max Barson and David Everett.

Both bowlers found assistance in the pitch early on and it wasn’t long before Everett struck, first trapping opener Tom Prideaux De Lacy lbw and then finding the outside edge of fellow opener Harry Rollings’, Callum Smith taking a good catch at first slip. Barson ensured Heath continued their good start when he removed Henry Sims, this time it was keeper Ben Matthew who took a stunning low catch in his first appearance of the season.

At 23-3 St James’s appeared to be regretting the decision to bat first and their situation worsened when Joe Gilligan managed to spoon a catch to Matthew off the back of his bat after a leg stump ball flicked up off his pads. Callum Smith followed Barson down the hill and kept the pressure on throughout his 9 over spell, picking up the wicket of Ollie Bradley (22) just a few overs in. Though Heath continued to control the game they found it difficult to find the right bowler from the bottom end, with both Johnny Phelps and Ollie Bailey having short spells before seamer Tim Upchurch proved to be the right man for the job. The experienced pair of Jordan Rollings (46) and Michael Murray (21) had put on 60 for the 6th wicket until Upchurch claimed their wickets in the space of a couple of overs, both catches taken by Everett. Barson then returned to the attack and quickly wrapped up the innings at 129 all out; two more edges meaning keeper Matthews finished with 5 catches to his name.

Jonny Phelps (28) and Chris Blunt laid a solid platform for the first wicket with some positive stroke-play, particularly against the wily Michael Murray who they didn’t want to let settle on a wicket that offered plenty. They reached 45 before Phelps gifted a catch off the first ball of left arm spinner Sam Rattle’s spell. Blunt and number three Alastair Templeton continued the chase at a good tempo until Templeton (15) became the second Heath batsman to be caught off the bowling of Rattle. With the score on 83 Blunt (31) went the same way as those before him, this time caught by Murray at mid-wicket. Heath skipper Callum Smith (21*) batted sensibly to ensure that although Max Barson (12) became Rattle’s fourth victim with the score on 103, there would be no late dramas as he and Ollie Bailey (14*) wrapped up a comfortable win in the 34th over.

The 30 points were celebrated back at the club with everyone raising a Harveys in memory of Mike who will be sorely missed by us all.

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