With the business end of the season now looming, Hailsham CC1st XI met Ditchling at home knowing that a loss would most likely see them drop off their position at the top of the table with only a few games to spare. Having won the toss, captain Aaron Norwood elected to bowl first.
The innings started with near perfection as Varun Khullar (4-16) got a wicket with just the second ball of the innings. Tight spells from Khullar and Andrew Anthony (2-7) kept Ditchling under pressure right from the off. Tom McDonald (3-11) came into the attack and bowled a near perfect spell taking three crucial quick wickets to keep him on the back foot. James Bellett (1-44) was first change at the other end, and bowled a tight spell, while picking up the crucial wicket of Dan Gorringe for 16. Varun Khullar and Andrew Anthony returned to the attack looking to get the innings finished, and did just that. Ditchling found themselves bowled out for just 89, leaving the tie very firmly in Hailsham’s grasp. It was not just the bowling that was impressive from Hailsham, but the fielding too, leading to a thoroughly impressive first half of the match.
Rob Wilkinson (30*) and Paul McDonald (4) opened the batting for Hailsham, and may have given Ditchling a slight glimmer of hope when McDonald dragged on off his gloves early in the innings. Any hope would soon be dashed, however, with Wilkinson and Norwood looking comfortable and composed at the crease, and continuing their good form. The wicket of McDonald would prove to be the last as Hailsham eased home to a nine wicket victory off just 21.4 overs.
This was just the sort of all-round performance Hailsham needed to bounce back from some poor form, and keep the top spot going into two final crunch weekends. Their fate is in their own hands next week against bottom the table Fletching.
The IQ Builders Merchant Man of the Match goes to the entire team for a fantastic fielding effort that was free of mistakes and an all-round team performance.
Hailsham 2’s travelled away to Bexhill and bowled first. Opener Ed Garbett (0-9) bowled a restrictive spell whilst at the other end Clint Mooiman (2-18) announced his arrival with an exceptional spell. 1st changers Toby Funnel (1-13) and Curtis Farley (2-24) had a similarly effective day in terms of economy and wicket taking. Shibin Abraham’s (2-23) bowling hit the Bexhill 3rd XI like a runaway train and Hailshams very own Lazarus, Martin Cleveland (3-6) announced his return to the club with a sterling effort. After a great effort in the field Hailsham had the home team all out for 98.
Hailsham went out with confidence and despite Robin Sewells early departure Gareth Morgan’s pressed on with Tim Mullins (19) throughout the innings Morgans played exceptionally assisted by Stan Garbett’s 11* Hailsham finished the game with copious overs to spare and Morgans on 62*.
The Finance Planning Group Man of the Match goes to Gareth Morgans for his 62 not out on his return from injury.
Hailsham 3s won a nervy and tight game on Saturday. Win the toss, stick them in, bowl them out cheaply, chase down the runs. Simples. Anything but! The first 3 criteria were met perfectly fine. The 4th wasn’t. Hailsham won the toss. 1. Stuck Herstmonceux in. 2. All out for 120. 3. Kei Lalor took 3 wickets, Jon Brettany 2, Omar Pathan 2 and Warren Downs had the remarkable figures of 9 overs 2-14. In a limited 40 overs game!! Hailsham are profiting well thanks to their African imports! Three of the above four hail from South Africa, one from Tanzania. 120 shouldn’t be a difficult chase….
Hailsham opened with Cameron Ballard and Jon Brettany. As is his wont, Cameron treated every ball with disdain and brutality. After 4 overs Hailsham were 36-2. Cameron was out with 34 runs. Lee Wigglesworth joined Jon after Jason Head came and went cheaply. Lee hit some lovely shots before being caught on the boundary. 66-3. Wickets continued to fall to see the score creep to 110-6. 11 runs, 4 wickets in hand. Simples! 115 for 8! Not so simples now! Lewis Williams was batting sensibly; smashing bad balls for 4 and taking singles off decent ones. Alex Renals who had earlier bowled nicely was caught in the deep so Hailsham only had 2 wickets left. Kei joined Lewis. At 119, needing 2 to win, the youngster caressed a classic cover drive to win the game, his grin lighting up a slightly gloomy day. Hailsham 30 points, Herstmonceux 9.
The SPS man of the match could have gone several players; but Warren Downs edges it for a beautifully economical spell, runs and catches. 2 games to go, 2 wins and Halsham will have yet another promotion! Everyone is looking forward to entertaining Bells Yew Green next week!