Hailsham 1st XI travelled to struggling Fletching for a must win game, looking to remain top of the table going into the final weekend. After losing the toss, Hailsham were asked to bowl first.
With the pressure on, Hailsham began well with opening bowlers Varun Khullar (2-28) and Andrew Anthony (2-58) began well, keeping the openers at bay. It was a change it bowling that brought the breakthrough however. Tom McDonald (4-41) came into the attack and continued his stellar recent form, quickly set about removing the Fletching top order with some fantastic line and lengths. James Bellett got a further breakthrough, removing Ben Pullen (13), caught at point. Thanks to McDonald’s spell, Fletching found themselves 46-5. Hailsham’s hopes of running through the tail and leaving themselves an easier run chase weren’t to be however. Fantastic batting performances from McLean (44), as well as Arthur Pickard (90) and Ollie McIntosh (60) saw the scores rise. Anthony and Khullar picked up a further two wickets each, but partnerships between the Fletching middle order saved the innings. Fletching reached 245-9 off 45 overs.
With a hefty chase that looked unlikely earlier in the day, Robert Wilkinson (23) and Scott Pearce (10) set about the task. With Scott Pearce Aaron Norwood (18), Varun Khullar (0) and James Bellett (2) falling, Hailsham found themselves in a similar position to Fletching earlier in the day at 68-4. A partnership between Wilkinson and Matt Dawber helped, with Dawber getting fully into the swing of things and finding some old form as he reached his 50. Wilkinson and Paul McDonald (6) went, before Dawber finally fell for 60. With news coming in from around the grounds and victory looking ever more unlikely, Hailsham knew that they could keep their place at the top of the table if they were to get up to 190 in their run chase. This fell to Tom McDonald (31*) and Andrew Anthony (11*) to keep things together and edge their way up to the required score. Tom McDonald batted extremely well, with a mix of forcefully shots and sensible singles to keep the scoreboard over with Anthony.
Hailsham finally found themselves finish their 45 overs on 200-7.
A disappointing result for Hailsham, creating a lot of work to do in the final weekend. Hailsham remain a mere two points clear at the top of the table, with victory vital against Ringmer next weekend.
The IQ Builders Merchant Man of the Match goes to Tom McDonald for his best bowling performance of the season of 4-41, as well as an excellent 31 not out.
Hailsham hosted Buxted Park looking to build on wins in their last two games. After losing the toss Hailsham were asked to bowl.
Clint Mooiman (1-56) and Matt Anthony (2-25) opened for Hailsham, both bowling well before Mooiman was replaced by Shibin Abraham (2-37). Anthony got the breakthrough, bowling opener Andy Meed (21) before finishing his spell and being replaced by Ollie McDonald (0-24). Abraham then took the wicket of Rob Hunter(15), trapping him lbw. Ed Garbett (0-24) replaced McDonald and bowled tightly to slow the run rate. Some good batting from Steve Harris (52) and Sam Anderson (26) continued to build the visitors innings before Anderson fell to Abraham, caught at cover by Curt Farley. Farley (4-57) replaced Abraham and bowled excellently, bowling George Cyster (10) and taking the wickets of Ben Ferns (3) and Harris, both caught in the deep by Abraham. This left Warwick Barnes (51) and Alfie Hunter (31) in the middle and the pair built a partnership with some hard hitting from Barnes allowing the young Hunter to find the gaps and run well. Mooiman returned and took the wicket of Barnes, before Farley took his fourth wicket, Justin Anderson, who was also caught by Abraham. Anthony bowled the last over of the innings running out Rory Chalmers (3) before bowling Hunter to leave Buxted all out for 227.
Mark Renals (63) and Gareth Morgans (1) opened up for Hailsham but could not get the chase off to a good start, Morgans falling early to Warwick Barnes (5-39), soon followed by Tim Mullins (1) who was bowled by Rory Chalmers (1-32). This brought to the crease Ollie McDonald (46), who came in and began to build a partnership with the opener. Renals fell to the bowling of George Cyster (2-25), caught from a mistimed shot. Robin Sewell (2) and Andrew Swansbrough (3) both fell quickly to Barnes. McDonald also fell to Barnes just short of his fifty leaving Shibin Abraham (10) and Clint Mooiman (16) to try and continue the chase before Abraham became Barnes’ last victim and Mooiman was caught off the bowling of Alfie Hunter (1-25). Curt Farley (10) and Ed Garbett (25*) batted and ran well to keep some hope of a successful chase alive before Farley was run out. This brought Matt Anthony (5) to the crease who was caught in the final over as Hailsham ended on 203 all out.
An entertaining game finished with Buxted taking 30 points home while Hailsham’s efforts earned them 19 points to take into the final week of the season.
Hailsham won a very close and tense game to all but ensure promotion. Bells Yew Green won the toss and elected to bat. After a careful start (Kai Lalor bowled 4 consecutive maidens to start his spell) Bells Yew reached 50 without loss. After Alex Renals, Jon Brettany and Brad Aldridge had all bowled without success skipper Harry Gent turned to Lewis Williams and Warren Downs. 7 wickets between them and the away team were reeling. A careful partnership saw them creep to 126 off 40 overs.
Hailsham sent out Cameron Ballard and Jon Brettany. Cameron smashed a lightning 33 but away seamer Tom Mawson and removed both openers. In a crazy spell of kamikaze batting suddenly they were 60 odd for 5! Lewis joined Harry Chatfield who was batting sensibly and between them saw off the threat of Mawson who was far and away the best bowler. They got the score into the 80s but when both fell it looked ominous. 2 more wickets and Hailsham were 105-9 still needing 22! Harry Gent joined Kai Lalor. Some excellent defence mixed with occasional attack and the runs were obtained, the post match drinks tasted better and only 2 points are needed next week to go up!
The SPS Man of the Match was Lewis Williams for his economical 3 wicket haul and excellent batting. One to go, promotion here we come!
Hailsham travelled to Westfield after the second three week break of the season. After winning yet another toss, skipper John Cole chose to field and Westfield went out to bat.
James Renals opened the bowling with Bobby Williams, as Williams that struck first, bowling H Legg early on. Renals struggled with line and length and Cole came into the attack. D Legg was quick to pick up anything wayward. Cole dismissed skipper Edwards with a good catch at gully from Gavin Muller, and Ed Brook came on to replace Williams. Brook and Cole slowed down the scoring rate as brook claimed an lbw, and Cole picked up a further two wickets. Amrit Jayan replaced brook and took the wicket of Legg just after he made his 50. Cole bowled through and Westfield were 8 down. Veteran Andy Pearson continued to made life frustrating for Hailsham as they searched in vain for another wicket. As they did, the concentration in the field lapsed at times and despite rotating bowlers, Hailsham were unable to finish the Job as Westfield reached 183 for 8. Kayleigh Pavitt bowled well, as did Ed Brook, and in his last couple of overs James Renals showed the pace and accuracy he can deliver. Hailsham let them have more runs than they should have done and maybe that comes about from these breaks in the season.
After a pep talk and obligatory team photo, Hailsham started their reply, welcoming back Steve Bowden to open the innings with new partner Bobby Williams. This worked well as through a mixture of careful defence and punishing counter attacking, Hailsham increased the scoring rate and both of the openers made their fifties, including a very well deserved maiden 50 for Bobby who really applied himself and has shown what hard work and dedication can achieve! First wicket fell for 117 with Bobby falling to a very good catch on the boundary . This brought Wayne Pettigrew out who immediately got on the offensive and began looking very dangerous, he was unfortunately out lbw for 10. Ed Brook made his way out at number four and looked very assured and batted well with Steve until he was caught on the boundary going for his third six of the innings. One going a long way, the other nearly hitting a spectator. He departed for a superb 70 which with Williams had all but guaranteed victory. We do love the odd batting collapse, and when Amrit Jayan fell for one, with four down and 16 to win, it was regulation sensible batting from Brook and Muller to see us home for a much needed and well deserved win. Bowling wise, Cole 3/26 off 9, Jayan 2/15 off 6, Williams 2/15 off 5, brook 1/30 off 6.
A well played game against a good set of opposition who very kindly invited us back to their local for food. Lovely establishment, the new inn, Westfield if you are ever down that neck of the woods.
Special mentions to Ed Brook for continued performances this season, real progress being made, and to KP for ever improving bowling. The Roots Gardening Man of the Match goes to Bobby Williams for his hard work and application that has seen him achieve one of his goals, a fifty, in a careful constructed innings, and also some good bowling. Well deserved chap!
Our last game is home next week against Little Common Ramblers, with the chance to finish third if we beat them! The last game ended in a nail biting 1 wicket defeat and the guys are keen to reverse that at home!