Uckfield 1st XI missed an opportunity to continue their perfect start to the season at Newhaven, after being frustrated by the resilient tail, while the 2nd XI experienced final over agony trying to secure a draw against Burwash.
On winning the toss, Newhaven skipper, Daryl Tullett, had no hesitation in asking Uckfield to bat first on what looked to be a good surface. Uckfield openers Morton and Moore got the visitors off to a flying start, punishing any bit of width made available. Tullett soon turned to his spin options, however, and the run rate dried up, with the impressive Young making the breakthrough for Newhaven as Morton chipped one to mid-on.
Uckfield continue to press forward until skipper Burns was forced to retire after aggravating a side injury in playing a particularly ugly hoick to cow corner. Turner and Moore played aggressively before Moore was eventually caught for a well made 78. The Uckfield middle order struggled to find the boundaries after some fine death bowling from Pollard and Matt Tullett, and at the break Uckfield felt they were 20 runs short of where they should have been at 221-6.
Cheese and spring onion sandwiches were a highlight of tea, and clearly induced opening bowler Chris Brady into one too many. His opening salvo was not what Uckfield have come to expect of their Mr Dependable. Reed bowled Khan for 8 but Brechin came in at 3 and struck the ball as cleanly as anyone had all day – particularly efficient on the short ball. However, he came unstuck when James Harvey took a superb catch in the deep off the bowling of Uckfield debutante Joe Durling. Durling and Chris Turner stemmed the flow of runs without too much reward, and at drinks the game was finely poised, with all three results still possible. However, the return of Reed changed everything. Tullett smashed one to deep cover and his brother was out the very next ball after a fine catch by McCallum at backward point. Reed (6-45) took three more in quick succession to guarantee his second ‘fifer’ in two weeks. Harvey was introduced into the attack and bowled with real control in his seven overs. He had two relatively simple chances dropped off his bowling and ultimately those drops cost Uckfield the game. Muggeridge managed to tease out Wells Snr, but the final pair of Wells jnr and Turner did well to survive the last 14 overs. Uckfield will be downbeat, but remain towards the head of the division 4 table.
Winning the toss for a second week in a row, the 2nd XI made early inroads into the Burwash batting, leaving them on 68 for 4 from 16 overs. However, Burwash captain, Henry Hadlow, and Thomas Forder then put together a match changing partnership of over 100 with Uckfield’s change bowlers giving away too many easy runs. Some late wickets gave Uckfield 8 bowling points before Burwash declared on 227 for 8.
After a good tea (excellent sandwiches, shop-bought cake), new opening partnership of Tom Grimes and Mark Greenslade played solidly for the opening spell, and after Grimes departed following a gem from Askari, returning wicket keeper/ batsman Matt Taylor played some lovely drives for a quick fire 34. Last minute recruit, Jay, then came in and hung around unexpectedly for half an hour, before more wickets tumbled. However, the overs were ticking by, and Uckfield’s final partnership came together needing to survive four overs to secure a draw. Tash Iswariah, coming in for the last wicket, was rock solid in defence, leaving skipper, Neal Boniface, to see out the last over. With the penultimate ball catching him in the face, there was a brief delay before the final ball of the day scudded through very low, under the skipper’s bat and into the stumps. Agony for Uckfield, though with 28 points from two games without 11 players, not a bad return overall