First and second XI Uckfield Anderida teams won their games at the weekend leaving the first XI top of Division 4.
The first XI travelled the short distance to Newick, and won comfortably with just ten players thanks to a fine batting display from Watson. The second XI beat Denton at the Victoria Ground, writes Tom Grimes.
A quiet confidence surrounds the first XI in these early weeks, largely due to the excellence of its bowlers, and so captain Burns again asked the opposition to bat first on a grassy wicket, confident that opening bowlers Reed and Brady would do the business for him.
There was certainly movement and, occasionally, tennis-ball bounce early on, and soon enough both bowlers were among the wickets.
However, despite 3 early wickets, and some sharp fielding, frustration developed in the visiting team as opening batsman, Viggor (61), dug in and number 5, Rylatt (42), came out determined to concentrate on freeing his arms.
Some lusty drives, including a few 6s, evened up the game a little as Uckfield’s bowlers struggled to contain things.
Hard done by
Indeed Uckfield counted themselves quite hard done by in the number of chances that went through gaps and over heads. But heads refused to drop and the bowlers stuck to their task, with Newick finishing on 203 for 7.
Over a fine tea, with the Victoria Sponge earning notable praise, frustration for Uckfield with the number of runs conceded was contrasted with the knowledge that the wicket was good and the weather set fair.
And, on this basis, opening batsmen, Watson and Burns, ambled out to the middle in positive mood. Some early wayward bowling allowed them to score quickly, with Watson, in particular, looking in fine form – evident in the effortless push off his legs early on that flew to the boundary.
Although Burns (22) received a fine delivery from opening bowler, Hukett, that took his off stump, the scoring rate was unaffected as Tungate came in determined to join Watson in the boundary stakes.
Too many full tosses from the home side made it too easy for the free scoring to continue, with boundaries coming thick and fast, enabling Watson to reach his 50 in very short order.
His Uckfield teammates enjoying the show from the sidelines were willing him to convert it into his first century for the club, but as he reached the nineties, the nerves set in and his timing seemed to dessert him for a few overs.
The free scoring of Tungate (68), who has a happy knack of keeping the strike at will, meant Watson might be denied simply by winning the game too soon.
But on 96 and on strike, Watson was well placed, even more so after a solid shot for two more, leaving him on 98. Cruelly, though, he was denied when he then pushed timidly at a full ball that ballooned straight to mid off.
Nonetheless, he had by then won Uckfield the game, which his teammates quickly pointed out to him after he returned crestfallen to the dressing room. And with the few remaining runs quickly scored, Uckfield won with nine overs to spare.
And so the first XI returned home to the Victoria Ground just in time to see the 2nd XI wrap up a vital win against bottom of the table, Denton, with half centuries from Grenslade and Iswariah, and important wickets for Shelley and Bonniface.
A big weekend for the club, and this correspondent hopes for the same again next week.