East Sussex Cricket League Division One Plumpton & East Chiltington* 102 Buxted Park 103-9
BUXTED Park continued their winning start to the season with a one-wicket win in this closely-fought low-scoring encounter at Plumpton.
A sticky wicket and slow outfield meant runs were hard to come by, with only eight boundaries struck in the entire match.
The hosts were inserted by the visitors, and a solid start was tempered by the loss of both openers in quick succession. Another period of consolidation was then undone by two quick wickets from Simon Bulteel (4-17) in his first over. George Martin Jnr (20) top-edged a long hop before Danny Hall was expertly yorked by Bulteel, playing in his first game for Park after several years at Bexhill.
From the other end, Craig Olive (4-34) bowled 23 overs unchanged, concentrating on direction rather than pace. From 44-2 the hosts collapsed to 61-7, but the innings was held together by a spirited knock from Chris Spiller, who remained undefeated on 28 from 111 balls. His tenacity helped the hosts to reach three figures when the innings closed an over early. Buxted Park had crawled to 102, and even this required a last wicket stand of 21.
In reply, Buxted’s openers found the going just as tricky, as the old ball proved equally as hard to get away. Slow progress was made, and at 28-4 the target looked to be a long way off.
The decision to take the new ball then coincided with a match-winning partnership of 44 between Steve Harris (31) and Liam Olive. Harris played with intelligence and aggression, working the ball into gaps and choosing the right ball to hit, before an attempt to farm the strike saw him well caught at square leg.
At 92-6 Park looked to be cruising to the win, but a late flurry of wickets swung the match again, including two each for Tim West (2-10) and leg-spinner Richard Ward (2-24).
The game reached a nail-biting climax as Buxted’s last pair of skipper Ben Ferns and wicket keeper Bill Hunter came together with seven still needed.
These two held their nerve to chip away at the deficit, eventually scrambling home the winning single to deliver a victory that could easily have gone the other way.
OTHER RESULTS: Iden 127 (40.5 ov; Michael White 28; Rory Leadsom 4-55) beat Ditchling 89 (45 ov; Jonathan Atkinson 28; David White 3-12).