Division One: Buxted Park 1st XI 150-7; Heathfield Park 1st XI* 103 all out
As a club that has waited over a decade for a return to first division cricket, the abandonment of the first league game of the season was all the more frustrating for Buxted Park.
And with puddles dotted around the outfield just two days before the second game, groundsman Geoff Peddie deserves credit for this match going ahead at all. Both sides were keen to take advantage, knowing that a positive result would be particularly beneficial on a day when other fixtures were likely to be rain-affected.
It was Heathfield that made the early inroads, winning the toss and inserting Buxted Park, who quickly found themselves two wickets down with just four runs on the board. A good 34 from Rob Raymond put the innings back on an even keel, but the bowler-friendly conditions inevitably made runs hard to come by. An excellent, patient innings of 51 from Lloyd Burgess, supported by Ben Ferms (21) and Luke Miles (14 not out), led Buxted to 150-7 from their 50 overs, a modest total in normal circumstances, but in these conditions an eminently defendable one. James Bentley (2-32), James Briggs (2-34) and Callum Matthews (2-21) all bowled well for Heathfield, ensuring pressure was always maintained on the home side’s batsmen.
The slow-but-true nature of the pitch saw Buxted captain Ben Ferns decide to open the bowling with his spinner Aaron Saunders, a decision which was rewarded with the wicket of opener Tom Sanderson. But it was from the other end that much of the damage was done, with Craig Olive bowling excellently to return 4-31, knocking over the Heathfield top order and leaving the away side struggling at 61-6.
Some diligent batting from the tail briefly made it look possible that Heathfield would salvage a draw from the match, but the reintroduction of Saunders proved to be crucial. A catch at mid-off from his bowling proved to be the breakthrough Buxted needed, before his next over saw him take two very sharp caught-and-bowled chances – making it three such dismissals for him in the match – to reduce Heathfield to 97-9.
It was only right that it was he who took the last wicket, in his next over, to complete a well-deserved five-for and secure the full 30 points for Buxted.
Notable Performances: Lloyd Burgess, Buxted Park 51, Aaron Saunders, Buxted Park 5-42, Craig Olive, Buxted Park 4-31.