Jethro Menzies showed his all-round ability and lead Haywards Heath to a comprehensive away victory at St James’s that took Heath into the promotion places.
Invited to bat first, Heath were soon one down but Menzies was moving the scoreboard along nicely and took full advantage of anything over-pitched.
Having opened the bowling Michael Murray settled in to a tidy spell up the hill and drew a false shot from Ben Matthew (8) to get a second breakthrough for St James’s, but this brought Jonny Phelps to the crease and the partnership he developed with Menzies proved to be a crucial phase of the game. Phelps was content knocking the ball around while Menzies upped the tempo against spinners Henry Cope and Sam Rattle, striking four towering 6’s before one more attempt saw him caught at long on for a match-defining 92.
At 139-3 with 18 overs to go Heath were in control of the match until three consecutive ducks from the middle order changed the course of the innings. Thanks to Tashaffi Shams (10) and Jonny Phelps putting on 31 for the 7th wicket St James’s weren’t able to convert the opening they had created, and although another wobble came after Phelps was dismissed for 52, a last wicket stand of 21 between Ben Van Rensburg (19*) and Matt Jones (7) took Heath to a very competitive 199 all out. Michael Murray was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 36 from 13 overs.
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St James’s will have felt they had swung the momentum back in their favour in the latter half of the Heath innings, but any hopes of a victory were soon taken away by Menzies and Van Rensburg as they ripped out the home sides top order. The two quicks are forming a formidable partnership and gave the batsmen nothing in an opening spell that reduced St James’s to 15-4 in quick time. Only Hector Loughton (14) and Jordan Rollings (14) were able to withstand the pace, accuracy and movement for any length of time but both were eventually dismissed by Van Rensburg; Loughton falling to a fine Jonny Phelps catch in the slips.
Murray and Joe Gilligan held Heath up with some stubborn defence against change bowlers Callum Smith and Phelps, but the return of Menzies broke the partnership by dismissing Gilligan for 14, and Phelps went on to wrap up the innings with the wickets of Murray (27) and number 11 Sam Rattle. St James’s were all out for 80, taking 10 points from the game to Heath’s 30. Menzies finished with 4 for 33 from 14, and Van Rensburg 4 for 17 from 8.5.