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EGCC 1st XI v Hastings

Week Two of the August Cup brought 33 degrees of heat on the south coast at Horntye Park vs Hastings. On what could be described as the driest wicket in the UK, Grinstead thankfully won the toss and elected to bat. Hastings did hit their straps early though, making it tough for returning opener Adkin and previously the very fluent Haynes. In the final over of the powerplay, Adkin was bowled round his legs; showing the degree of spin on offer, by Page for a well made 27 off just 34 balls. Unfortunately, that was the first of three quick wickets to fall for grinstead as Haynes was caught at mid off for 18 before Sturmer fell first ball to Hooper.

Rebbetts and Leo looked to  rebuild against the left arm off spin duo of Hooper and O’Brien who did so much damage in the previous week against Haywards Heath. They saw off O’Brien who went wicketless but for only 16 off his 8 overs. But with other bowlers struggling, Cammish and Rebbetts were able to up the run rate against the seam of Morgan and off spin of page, taking their partnership to 76 before Rebbetts fell to the returning Barton for a well made 43. Now sitting at 131-4, Grinstead went into the last 10 overs looking to get to the 200 mark which they knew would be very tricky on a turning wicket. Margetts was the ingoing batsmen and started excellently with quickly run singles mixed with a couple of boundaries to accelerate up towards the 200 mark. Cammish by this point had started taking on the left arm seam of Barton with a flurry of boundaries including two huge sixes. A brilliant innings by Cammish came to an end at 77 of just 79 balls showed the rest of the team how to play on a turning wicket and gave Grinstead the impetus the innings needed. A couple of late wickets in the final over saw Hooper register his 5fer, but Margetts ensured they made 200 before he fell. Grinstead ended on a very respectable 201/8 off their 40 overs.

After a short interval; still 33 degrees, Grinstead took the field looking to do what they do best and defend their total with good fielding and accurate bowling. Unfortunately, opener Joe Billings had different ideas and started very brightly as the seam of Pettman and Taylor didn’t look at all threatening on the slow wicket. Some average fielding on a very bumpy dry outfield also gave Hastings the start they wanted and it was up to the new signing of Sam Rattle to take the first wicket to slow the scoring, catching Gillespie on the crease LBW for just 11. At 85/1 in the twelfth over, Hastings were clear favourites with the rate required under 4 an over and 9 wickets in hand. However, Grinstead felt they were still in the game and picked up a second just after the drinks break as Wooley hit Rattle straight to mid off where Margetts did the rest. This meant the dangerous partnership of Hooper and Billings was the one to break. They calmly moved to 122-2 meaning just 80 were needed from the final 20 overs. The returning Margetts with his left arm spin was the man to break the partnership as Billings looked to take him on by running down, but thankfully missed and Cammish stumped easily. Billings made 77 off just 72 balls. With more and more left handers arriving at the crease, Grinstead stuck to slow bowling which went away from the bat with Tom Haynes bowling excellently in his first spell without reward. Rebbetts brought himself on to bowl and was immediately rewarded with the prize wicket of Hooper as he also ran down the wicket and top edged to Adkin at extra cover who took an excellent catch over his shoulder.

Grinstead were now confident of running through the middle order now the experienced batters had been removed. Rebbetts also took Devlin as he looked to attack once more and was caught superbly at deep mid wicket by Sturmer, before O’Brien was removed first ball trying to ramp Rebbetts unnecessarily and was bowled. This took them to 146-6 as Hastings lost their 4 middle order batters for just 24 runs! Hastings next three batsmen of Barton, Morgan and Hutchings did combine to take the score to 181 before Rebbetts bowled Hutchings for 29 with his penultimate ball to take his figures to 4/33 off his 8 overs, Rebbetts second best figures in a Grinstead shirt. With four overs to go, Hastings needed just 16, but with Rattle to bowl his final two and Haynes to bowl his final two, Grinstead were confident of raping up the victory. They somehow took seven streaky runs from Rattle’s over to take them within 10 of victory, but Haynes showed excellent bottle to firstly bowl Barton and next ball bowl Page to take Grinstead to victory! An excellent display of catching and a resurgence in the second half of Hastings’ innings showed the capability of this Grinstead side. Special mention to Tom Beswick who made his debut and fielded excellently, showing the true value of every run in the field. Grinstead look to continue their 100% record as they host Haywards Heath on Saturday. With Hatchett and Ollie Graham returning against his former side, Grinstead can go into this with lots of confidence.

Darryl Rebbetts