Burgess Hill won a tight game at St John’s Park by just 10 runs.
It seemed unlikely that the game would be played at all let alone completed on a day of intermittent rain.
It was a credit to the umpires that so little time was lost in the match.
Crawley captain Paul Clifford had no hesitation in asking Hill to bat when winning the toss. Openers Tom Trowbridge and Jack Simpson were watchful as Kunal Kapoor and Nadkem Nasapat bowled with control and guile in the first few overs.
Simpson let loose with a straight six off Kapoor before edging behind the very next ball. Kirk Proto joined Trowbridge and was stubbornly resistant as Trowbridge started to bat fluently finding the boundary five times as any loose balls were punished.
However he departed to a stunning catch at gully off Najapat for 24 and Proto quickly followed to the same bowler. At 40-3 some rebuilding was needed and the in-form Ian Simpson and Zain Patel batted without alarm whilst steadily accumulating runs before Patel was adjudged LBW for 22 off Sudess Ali with the score on 74 .
Hari Choudhary was brought into the attack and was to bowl unchanged for the rest of the innings. He bowled with control and variation and quickly accounted for Nathan Cooper (2).
Joe Maskell (12) joined Simpson and the pair were putting together a telling partnership until Maskell inexplicably danced down the wicket to Choudhary and was stumped by a distance.
The luckless Luke Vick departed cheaply and when Simpson was caught by Ali off Clifford trying to force the pace, for a measured and assured 40, Hill were starting to pray for rain.
However a 32 run partnership for the ninth wicket between George Willett (18) and Dan Strange (13 not out) which was a combination of defence and controlled hitting saw Hill to a total of 156 in the 50th over . Choudhary finished with an impressive return of 5 for 25 off 16.4 overs.
Dan Strange opened the bowling and immediately struggled to find a foothold and was despatched for successive boundaries before Zubhair Syed gifted Patel a catch off the fourth ball.
Willett found pace and rhythm immediately and had Clifford(9) caught smartly at slip by Trowbridge in his first over.
When Hari Choudhary was given out LBW to Strange in the next over , Crawley were rocking at 10-3.
The prolific Kanal Kapoor (12)was starting to find his form until Willett produced a stunning over going past Kapoor’s bat a number of times before inducing the edge to a grateful Vick .
However there then followed real resistance from Crawley as Raz Hussain and Meredydd Hayne put together a 50 run partnership with Hussain in particular looking very assured. The introduction of Jack Simpson proved to be pivotal in the match.
He accounted for Hayne (17) LBW and kept the runs down as Crawley again put together a steady partnership for the sixth wicket . Simpson then bowled Singh for 17 quickly followed by Thomas.
At 111-7 , Hill were sniffing victory but Crawley refused to lie down. Strange brought on Joe Maskell (1-3) who immediately accounted for Matthew Leese caught by Jack Simpson. With Hussain still there having made an excellent half-century, Crawley were still as likely to win the match as Hill. Simpson then had him caught and bowled for 54 and finally bowled Najabat for 5 and Hill got home by 10 runs in the 42nd over.
Jack finished with 5-35 in 13.2 overs in an excellent team performance in a nail-biting finish.
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