Hailsham 1st XI travelled to fellow high-flyers Ditchling with the hope of rising further up the table. With Captain Tom Hicks unavailable, Varun Khullar was leading the side and decided to bat first after winning the toss.
Bobby Wilkinson (11) and Scott Pearce (4) looked to continue on good form and lay the foundations for a decent total. They had a difficult time early on, with Wilkinson playing a particular cautious innings. After 10 overs Hailsham only had as many runs when Pearce and Wilkinson both fell. Paul McDonald (26) successful increased the run rate with my fluid strokes, and partner Varun Khullar (29) pushed the ball around for ones and twos as the field went back to the boundary. Both fell, soon followed by the middle order with Ciaran Peacock (6), Ollie McDonald (2) and Shankar Bala (2) falling quickly. Some tail-end runs from Tom McDonald (13), Shibin Abraham (39) who hit the ball to all parts with some big hitting, and Andrew Anthony (10) at the end helped Hailsham limp onto 154 all out.
Hailsham knew that despite a bad start, we had reached a score that was defendable if we bowled well in the second innings. Beginning with the old ball, Varun Khullar (0-33) and Shankar Bala’s (1-10) off spin opened the bowling, and kept the play tight in the early overs. Some quick work behind the stumps led to an excellent stumping from Will Parsons off the bowling of Bala. Ollie McDonald (0-16) came into the attack to replace Khullar with his leg spin, with both spinners bowling in tandem. Controlled bowling from both spinners looked to cause some trouble for Ditchling as they kept the score ticking over. Andrew Anthony (5-13) replaced Bala and bowled with some control, before Hailsham took the new ball. With Ditchling on 54-1, the game looked to be getting away from Hailsham with a small total to defend, but three quick wickets from Anthony saw Ditchling reduced to 63-4, with the Hailsham swinging firmly in Hailsham’s direction. Tom McDonald replaced Anthony, and bowled a brilliant spell, taking three further quick wickets – supported extremely well by Shibin Abraham bowling tight lines and lengths as always. Having reduced Ditchling to 90-8, Khullar and Anthony came back into the attack to finish off the tail and secure what by this point felt like an inevitable victory for Hailsham. Two wickets from Anthony to remove the final two batsman left Ditchling all out for 114.
The IQ Builders Merchant Man of the Match goes to Shibin Abraham for his quick fire 39 at the end, alongside figures of 1-15. This excellent victory takes Hailsham to the top of Sussex Division 5 East, with Fletching visiting Hailsham Recreation Ground next weekend.
Hailsham 2’s were at home vs Bexhill 3’s. Bexhill won the toss and chose to bowl.
Hailsham openers Mark Renals and James Bellett played positively and both brought up their 50’s in quick time. After Mark was dismissed for 51 ,Tim Mullins joined James at the wicket and put on another 50 partnership. Tim had the best seat in the house watching James bring up his maiden century, smashing it everywhere. Tim departed for 14 and Stan joined the centurion. Stan smacked 28 and James Bellett was unbeaten on a amazing 124. Hailsham 233 for 2.
After a lovely Tea, Hailsham took to the field. Clint Mooiman and Diesel Hallett opened the bowling and bowled tightly with 1 wicket a piece. James Bellett and Matt Anthony carried on the good work with another wicket each. Hailsham kept ringing the changes to try get some wickets with Bexhill were obviously playing for a draw. Warren Downes bowled a fiery spell also picking up a wicket but the pick of the bowlers was Curtis Farley picking up 3 for 22.
Bexhill held out for a draw finishing on 116 for 8. Hailsham 18 points and Bexhill 2 points. The Finance Planning Group Man of the match for a incredible 124 not out and 1 for 0 is James Bellett.
The 3rd XI made the short trip to the Hurstmonceux Recreation Ground and were placed into bat on a dusty wicket.
Openers Robin Sewell and Nick Brady made promising inroads and looked comfortable until Nick was cleaned bowled in the 10th over for 9. Skipper Jon Brettany came and went after a good ball also led to his downfall. Steve Bowden entered the fray and a solid partnership between himself and Sewell kept the scoreboard ticking over until Sewell eventually fell for a competent 38. Nigel Anthony came to the crease and looked in sublime touch however in quick succession himself and Bowden lost their wickets for 27 and 30 respectively.
A batting collapse shortly followed, as the lower order couldn’t maintain partnerships, Wickham (8) and Alex Renals (11) played their shots and hit quick runs to build a total but their were few honourable mentions in the lower order for Hailsham who were eventually all bowled out for 143.
Despite this total, Hailsham were confident it was defendable especially on this wicket. Renals and Garbett opened up and both struggled to find a breakthrough, with Renals looking the more likely but without any luck. Good captaincy from Brettany saw a change of pace required and on came Sam Mills and the captain himself. Eventually, Jon found the breakthrough and Hailsham confidence grew. Wickets were hard to come by as the majority of the Herstmonceux batsman protected their wicket and eased their way to scores of 20s and 30s. Towards the end of the innings, Umair and the re-introduction of Renals led to some pressure as 4 quick wickets fell (3 for Renals and 1 for Umair) but all in all it was too little to late for Hailsham.
A decent fielding performance from Hailsham wasn’t enough to recover from the lower order letting themselves down, after the instructions to bat all the overs, for the second week running. The SPS Man of the Match goes to Robin Sewell who continued his good form to reach a score of 38.