Haywards Heath started the season with a solid win over Eastbourne 2nd XI.
Heath elected to bat first and could have been two down within the first couple of overs had it not been for some early-season rustiness in the field.
Soon after, Eastbourne managed to hold on to two more chances in quick succession to remove Phelps for 15 and Smith for 12, both off the bowling of Ben Hacker. At 38 for 2 Heath pair Blunt and Long looked to play low risk Cricket throughout the remainder of the powerplay but still managed to score at a healthy rate, progressing to 91 for 2 by the end of the 15 overs.
Shortly after drinks, having put on a partnership of 128 with Long, Blunt was dismissed by left arm spinner Barnett for an uncharacteristically fluent 81.
Long brought up a half century of his own and looked comfortable against the Eastbourne spinners, sweeping effectively to the short leg side boundary before being dismissed by Trubshaw for 52.
With Bailey having fallen cheaply to the same bowler a few overs earlier Heath’s scoring slowed before O’Keeffe, with support from Haynes and later Gould, upped the tempo to take 80 from the last 10 overs. O’Keeffe scored at better than a run a ball to finish 57* - his first league fifty – and took Heath to a commanding 288 for 6.
In reply Eastbourne’s opening pair reached 49 before Coomber was bowled by Menzies for 38.
In the following overs Everett and Menzies each found the outside edge with some skilful swing bowling, both chances were taken by stand-in wicket keeper Gould. Heath’s planned keeper for the day – and professional carpenter - Peter Dunk, had managed to embed a chisel in his forehead shortly before play while fitting some new doors in the clubhouse – another story for a man who already has many!
Heath continued to have success via their seam attack, this time O’Keeffe and Upchurch the wicket takers, before Smith turned to leg spinner Bailey with the score on 97 for 5.
Bailey bowled with good control and picked up 2-29 from 7 overs as the wickets continued to fall. With no draws available in the new format Eastbourne captain Garnett (37) counter attacked in the search for points before the final three wickets fell with the score on 161 – Phelps picking up two and captain Smith sneaking on for one of his own.
With the second team also winning, away at Burgess Hill, it was a great 60 point start to the season for Heath.