Haywards Heath finish season on a high by beating champions Three Bridges

Skipper Callum Smith (front) enjoys a drink with teammates to celebrate the end of the season
Skipper Callum Smith (front) enjoys a drink with teammates to celebrate the end of the season

On a beautiful day at the Rec Haywards Heath entertained champions elect Three Bridges. Heath won the toss and elected to field with some morning dew still on the ground.

Bridges openers Whalid Ghouri and Ollie Blandford started well and got to 35/0 before David Everett stuck twice in two overs to remove both openers.

Heath then gained some control and Bridges looked to rebuild through overseas David Winn and James Russell. Heath kept the scoring down through Phelps and Bailey but the visitors edged up towards 100 still just two down.

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Heath then struck through skipper Smith, removing Winn and leaving Bridges 135/3 with only 10 overs to go.

Needing 180 to seal promotion Bridges had that firmly in their sites and a great 50 from Joe Walker got them over the line with a few overs to go, finishing on 192/6 with three late wickets for Max Barson.

In reply Heath found themselves 0/2 with a wicket each for opening pair Matt Blandford and Connor Golding.

Smith then led a counterattack and along with young Ben Matthew took the score to 65/2 before Smith was bowled by Ollie Blandford.

Blandford soon claimed two further wickets to leave Heath struggling at 90/5 but Matthew was holding firm. Heath were reduced to 110/6 as Stephen Goulds was removed by Golding.

This brought 19 year old Tashaffi Shams to the crease and the two youngsters went ahead and built a superb match winning partnership to bring Heath home with two overs to spare.

Ben Matthew finished with a superb 85 not out and Shams with 35.

Massive congratulations go to Three Bridges on a deserved title and Heath finish fifth looking to push on next season.

Although Jonny Phelps was the standout performer for Heath this season, skipper Smith had praise for some of the other players.

He said: “Jonny been our star but young Ben Matthew has really come of age and scored some vital runs. And I am pleased with how I have played personally.

“Next season the aim will be to push on and challenge at the top. I am very happy with the season, great start and a strong finish just need to improve in some middle period time games.”

Smith added: “Very happy to beat the best team in our league this year and sends a good message of our intent for next season for sure.”