East Grinstead won the toss and elected to bat on what looked like a wonderful batting wicket on the first outing of the summer! Shortland and Haynes opened up in the absence of Adkin at the top of the order, but lost Shortland early – clean bowled by Shaw. Ollie Graham came in at 3 in the absence of Cammish but didn’t last long either – again being bowled by the threatening Shaw for 8. This brought Sturmer to the crease who began as normal with some lusty blows to the boundary early on. Haynes meanwhile was beginning to find his feet hitting some fine drives to the fence. After Shaw vacated the attack, Grinstead began picking up the run rate. Sturmer hit the first 6 of the 2020 season over mid off, coming from the bowling of Henry Cope before smashing a half volley straight into the biggest set of hands of Jordan Rollings at extra cover. Haynes moved past 50 just before Rebbetts came to the crease. Grinstead continued to pick up the pace as Rebbetts got the ones to get Haynes back onto strike as he found his feet early on. Bertie Foreman did continue to threaten and finished with the most economical figures for St James with 4 overs 0-21. Haynes did finish with a flurry and managed two back to back sixes off short balls from Shaw in the penultimate over to take Grinstead to 183-3 with Haynes finishing 72* and Rebbetts 34* off 27 balls as the pair compiled 92 unbeaten from the final 9 overs.
St James didn’t begin the chase well, losing two early wickets to the returning Pettman – great to see him back in a Grinstead shirt this season, he will be a big threat all season. Grinstead’s most improved seam bowler last year Will Taylor also got an early wicket with an excellent yorker to bowl Toby Pullen for just 6. However a partnership began to build between the dangerous previous Sussex man Jordan Rollings and Jordan Shaw who put on 88 in quick time as Rebbetts changed his bowlers. Sam Rattle got his first bowl for Grinstead after his signing from St James! He looked dangerous and is looking like a real threat this season alongside Brad Hatchett who had his most successful season last year. George Cave bowled with pace and some excellent slower balls picking up the dangerous Rollings who smashed 71 off 49 balls, including 3 huge sixes. Cave looks like a good prospect for this season. Rebbetts bowled economically without and wickets before Pettman returned to pick up another two wickets to finish with the exceptional figures of 3 overs, 4 wickets for 5 runs. StJames finished on a very respectable 143-7 off their 20 overs. Grinstead winning by 40 runs.
After the teams took their lunch, the second 2020 commenced. Grinstead batting first once again. With the pitch showing a bit more ware and bowlers finding their lines and lengths more than the first game, scoring was more difficult. This game, it was the slow seam of Pullen that was the tough to score from and he began by taking an excellent caught and bowled to have Shortland removed before trapping Graham LBW and Sturmer bowled! He ended with excellent figures of 4 overs 3-12! Haynes however looked more dangerous than everm taking the attack to the bowlers hurtling his way to 38 off just 23 balls before being caught at mid wicket off Riaz. This left it to Rebbetts and De Souza (having his first bat of the season), to rebuild from 49-4. It began slowly, but Rebbetts got away two reverse sweeps for four to get him moving before De Souza found 2 conventional sweeps of his own for 4 as they tried to accelerate. Rebbetts joined the 6 club (bomb squad, pulling Davies into the astroturf as the rate climbed. Rebbetts clipped the final ball of the innings for 4 over mid wicket off Shaw to complete the rebuild as Grinstead finished on 117-4. Rebbetts finishing on 35* off 34 balls and De Souza finished off 30 off 36 balls. The partnership unbeaten on 68. Some good form shown by De Sousa is a positive sign for the youngster looking to push into the first team this summer.
With 66 fewer runs that the first game, Grinstead looked to defend a much lower total. Pettman again began economically, however, The St James batsmen took to the attack taking Taylor for a few early boundaries forcing early changes by Rebbetts. Cave was also unsuccessful as pace seemed easier to score off on the waring surface and fast outfield. Rebbetts turned to his medium seamers of his own and the spin of Rattle to slow the stem of runs and this proved successful as Rattle got 2-19 off his four overs and Rebbetts 2-18 off his 4 allocated overs including the wicket of Pullen who scored 34 off 25 balls to end his excellent match contribution. The off spin of Haynes continued to tie down the middle order as well as the returning Pettman who ended with excellent figures of 1-17 off his four overs. He ended the day with 5-24 off 7 overs. However, St James edged their way over the line comfortably with 2 overs remaining.Their attacking intent during the powerplay in the end was the main difference between the sides in the second game. Shaw unbeaten again on 15 and Riaz 12 not out. Grinstead would like to cut down on the 20+ extras the game the opposition in each game, but with some batting and bowling form shown by many over the two games, it builds for an exciting lead into the August cup.
A really successful day at East Grinstead CC with both sides playing really well within the new constraints and spirit of the game. It was a pleasure hosting St James and the first XI return on Saturday welcoming Haywards Heath to Saint Hill in two 2020s. We look forward to seeing more supporters again at the weekend.
Darryl Rebbetts (First XI Captain)