On another balmy day at the Victoria ground, Uckfield were largely indebted to Kevin Morton and Chris Turner for securing a win against Pett.
To almost everyone’s dismay, Pett won the toss and elected to have a bat. Reed wasn’t able to repeat last week’s heroics and were it not for a truly stunning catch by skipper Matt McCallum, Pett really would have been off to a flyer. Burns dismissed the dangerous Perrin, but the runs continued to flow through the third man region, and it appeared that Uckfield would be set a daunting total.
Skipper McCallum turned to his triumvirate of slower bowling in the shape of Andy Turner, David Tungate and James Harvey. Turner bowled a magnificent 8 over spell of swing bowling. He was extremely unlucky not be awarded with a wicket, but his tight lines forced the Pett batsmen to take risks at other end. Harvey nicked off Cross and Tungate had top scorer Clemence LBW for a fine 57.
However, the heat began to tell on the Uckfield fielding performance. Lethargy crept in, and the run rate increased dramatically. Brady returned to grab a couple of late wickets, and Uckfield had some mixed emotions at tea. They’d bowled Pett out for 200 on what appeared to be an excellent batting wicket, but really should have restricted them to 170 odd.
After an exquisite tea, the Uckfield innings got off to a bad start when David Tungate was very unlucky to be bowled off his pad attempting to clear the tennis courts. McCallum and Morton began the rebuilding process, but found runs extremely hard to come by.
Tight lines from the Pett bowlers coupled with a quickly deteriorating pitch meant that Uckfield were 20-1 off 10 overs. When McCallum was bowled off an inside edge, Reed and Morton began to up the rate through a combination of excellent running and Morton beginning to find a little more fluency. Reed was eventually bowled by an excellent quicker delivery and Spice soon followed – again unlucky to be bowled off his pad.
Chris Turner returned to the first team after a couple of weeks off and batted intelligently with Morton who was steadily approaching a maiden 1st team hundred. However, with runs required running out, Morton (90) was bowled playing a shot he wouldn’t have done ordinarily to bring a fine innings to an end. It was left to Chris Turner to hit the winning runs, and he accumulated a fine 43* very quickly to ensure that Uckfield finish the 1st half of the season, 4th in the table and with a realistic prospect of promotion in consecutive years. However, with multiple absences next week, playing host to league leaders Pevensey will be a very tough ask.
Meanwhile the 2nd XI travelled to an away fixture against Buxted and secured a comprehensive victory against their local rivals after hitting 267 runs for the loss 5 wickets and bowling out a depleted Buxted batting lineup for 170.
All images Ron Hill (Hill Photographic)