Dramatic last over ensures a thrilling tie between Buxted Park and Rottingdean

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East Sussex Cricket League Division One

Buxted Park* 205-7 Rottingdean 205

BUXTED Park maintained their unbeaten start to the season by salvaging a tie in a dramatic final over of their game at home against Rottingdean.

Last year’s national village cup finalists put the hosts into bat and opener Andy Meed (62) and Lloyd Burgess (70) built a century partnership for the third wicket which saw them reach 147-2 with 10 overs left. Park then stumbled in the face of some accurate slow bowling from George Ledden (3-67) and Mark Smith (2-47), before closing the innings five runs shy of maximum batting points, thanks largely to some judicious hitting from Craig Olive (17) and Ben Ferns (15 not out).

In reply, the visitors made a steady start but stumbled as the ball softened on a wearing pitch. At 71-4, Rottingdean’s chances looked bleak but Park had failed to dislodge the left-handed opener Henry Ledden (108 not out) and this was to prove decisive. Ledden helped himself to some wayward bowling and, with the help of Smith (17), he dragged Rottingdean into the batting points, and then kicked on for victory, compiling an impressive century that deserved to win any game.

With just 10 runs needed and four wickets in hand, things looked good for the visitors, but overs were fast running out and an attempt to farm the strike to Ledden produced a run-out that removed Smith.

This exposed the tail to the off-spin of Craig Olive (4-78), an opening which proved decisive.

Entering the final over, Rottingdean still required five to win with three wickets in hand, but – crucially – Ledden was at the non-striker’s end.

A dot and a firmly struck boundary from Adam Crassweller bought the scores level, before Olive trapped him in two minds and bowled him.

After a dot ball, Olive then bowled Alex Potter, to leave last man James Yates facing one ball to score one run to secure the win. A whirl of the bat produced an outside edge, which flew high and over the close field behind the bat on the offside. But Rob Raymond showed the presence of mind and dexterity to complete a difficult overhead running catch that decided the game as that rarest of cricket results, a tie. Bryan Huxley took 3-71.

Ditchling 299-4 dec Ringmer* 210-7

What a difference two weeks makes to playing conditions for the club cricketer!

From playing on soft, rain-soaked wickets to now playing on something resembling The Oval, players in the East Sussex League have experienced quite an improvement in batting conditions – as the scores in this match proved.

Ditchling arrived at Ringmer Green on a true summer’s day bringing a few new faces with them – most notably Karl Stevenson, who soon decided he didn’t fancy much running in this heat, once Ditchling had lost the toss and were asked to bat first. From the off he crashed boundaries from balls that were far from poor as it soon became evident that this was a good wicket to bat on. Stevenson knew it, trusting the bounce to hit over the top whenever he had the chance.

Stevenson quickly bought up his 50, and more quickly his century with just 134 on the board.

Dave Page then removed Stevenson’s fellow opening batsman, Guy Walsh, for 23, in his second over, trapping him lbw.

But another 50 partnership flourished between Stevenson and skipper Jonathan Atkinson, who both took advantage of the conditions and the fact they had wickets in hand.

Freddie Wade finally struck, clean bowling Stevenson, who finished with 145 off 86 balls, including 14 fours and a remarkable 10 sixes.

Atkinson then fell for 60 to a stunning one-handed catch from Will Saunders off the bowling of Mat Savage.

With the run rate still high but starting to drop, the Ringmer side were sensing a declaration with the score nearly at 250. But Ditchling continued to bat, with Adam Cubbage hitting 40 off 21 balls.

Finally, with 299 runs on the board, the Ditchling skipper called his batsmen in just five overs from the end. Wade was once again leading wicket-taker, finishing with 2-72 off 12.

Ringmer, in reply, got off to a solid start, with openers Neil Harris and Steve Barnett adding 44 for the first wicket.

But once again the Ringmer middle order misfired as, after losing Steve Barnett for 36 off 35 balls, the home side lost five wickets for 42 runs.

This bought skipper Page and Murray Barnett together to boost the Ringmer total with a great partnership of 99 runs. With the Ditchling field in attack mode, this left the two batsmen free reign to hit the bad balls to the boundary with ease.

Although Ditchling had plenty of chances of breaking this partnership – dropping six catches in total –Barnett was still there to bring up his 50 with a crashing boundary.

Page finally departed for 29 after being caught off the bowling of man of the moment Stevenson.

Freddie Wade then rotated the strike well to make sure that Barnett was on strike to chase the final 10 runs needed off the last over to reach the 10 batting points.

Barnett flicked Stevenson off his hips for a six into the pond, and then crunched the penultimate ball to the cover boundary to bring Ringmer to their 210-8 before running out of overs, Barnett finishing on 80 not out. James Earwicker finished with 3-34 and Cubbage 2-50.

Plumpton 176 Heathfield Park* 124

Plumpton elected to bat first at Heathfield and their total of 176 revolved around a magnificent 95 by George Martin. For Heathfield James Howie was the pick of the bowlers, with 4- 20.

Chasing a modest target, the hosts lost wickets at regular intervals, with only only Oliver Robertshaw (54) making a significant contribution. All four Pumpton bowlers got amongst the wickets (Chris Batchelor took 3-22 while Derrick Taylor, Richard Ward and Paul Edmunds all took two wickets apiece) to give Plumpton a more comfortable victory than seemed likely at the halfway point.

OTHER RESULTS: Barcombe 65 (28.4 ovs; Josh Wheatley 13; Gary Rens 5-11 off 10.4 overs, Mark Kitching 3-16) lost by 10 wickets away to Iden 69-0 (9.3 ovs; Phil Shanks 47*). Willingdon 125 (overs unspecified; Michael Krause 35; Alex Coomber 4-68, Rodney Mutiah 3-20, Phil Smith 3-32) won by 16 runs away to St Peters, Brighton 109 (overs unspecified; Jack Birmingham 24; Jack Hepburn 5-53).