Burgess Hill made a good strong start to the season with an exceptional all-round performance against a well-established Chichester Priory 1st X1 on one the most scenic grounds in Sussex.
After winning the toss and deciding to bat first on a green wicket, Hill made a good but steady start. Luke Vick was promoted to opening to batting and was solid in defence against the ever-dangerous Matt Geffen. Tom Trowbridge was at the other end to Vick and was taking advantage of the lose balls.
Vick was however the first to fall for 5 after a good catch at gully. That brought Kevin Ramsay to the crease who started very positively. Ramsay put away the bad balls and most of the good balls! The pair took Hill to passed 100 in the 22nd over with some exceptional running between the wickets. Ramsay was first to go his fifty in the 23rd over, before Trowbridge brought up first fifty the next ball. Ramsay kicked on after his 50 and hit back to back boundaries.
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After a 147 run partnership Ramsay was the first of the pair to fall, left armer Mike Smith got a ball to pop as Ramsay could only hit the ball straight to mid-wicket for 70. Ian Simpson came and went quickly as he was trapped LBW for 3 by Joe De La Fuente. That brought captain Joe Maskell to the crease to join Trowbridge. With Maskell finding his feet, Trowbridge started to take on the bowlers. After hitting a couple of boundaries, he was De La Fuente second wicket as a leading edge to point was his downfall for 66. Hopkins came to the crease with 6 overs left and he started off quickly. 59 run partnership between Maskell and Hopkins in that 6 overs propelled the score above 200 and eventually finished on 229-4. Maskell 34 not out and Hopkins 20 not out.
After the tea interval Hills new signing Junaid Nadir took the new ball with last seasons player of the year Dan Strange. The pair bowled tightly early on to the experienced Peter Lamb and Simon Hasted.
Nadir picked up the first wicket as Hasted good a ball too quick for him and ball took the edge as he was trying to leave the ball. That brought Jay Hartard to the crease and he and Lamb started a strong partnership. The pair were looking comfortable against George Willett, Strange, Maskell and put on 49 run partnership. Willett coming down the hill got the important breakthrough as Hartard left a ball jagging back was adjudge LBW for 8. It didn’t take long for the next wicket to come as Maskell also got a ball to come back into the new batsmen De La Fuente as he was gone LBW for 0. 76-1 became 78-4 as Willett got his second in two overs as a fine delivery between Lambs bat and pad had him bowled for 36. Will Futcher and captain Geffen were tasked with the re-building process for Chichester. They managed to add just 11 before Maskell got his second by bowling Geffen for 5.
At 89-5 the heavens started to open! The rain came down and the players came off the field of play for around 15 minutes before the wind blew away the dark clouds. On their return to the field, it didn’t take long for Hill to take their 6th wicket.
It was Karl Boffey spin that took Futcher wicket, he was caught at Deep Mid-Wicket by Nadir who made excellent ground to take a catch low down the ground. Boffey got his second, not too long after, as he had Mike Smith bowled for 15, leaving Chichester 127-7.
Chichester had a tough ask and required 10 an over for the last 10 overs. Matt Charman came on the bowl and took 2 wickets in 2 balls! Both were LBW and both were bamboozled by the lack of spin and the amount of swing he produced! The last wicket partnership for Chichester was a frustrating 30 for Burgess Hill, but Strange came back in to the attached to take the final wicket. Chichester were 177 All out.
It was a great win for Burgess Hill in their 1st game in Division Two, the highest standard they have ever played. Mentions for the 147 partnership between Trowbridge and Ramsay! Hill welcome Bognor Regis to St Johns Park on Saturday.