Uckfield Anderida first team have won promotion to Division 3, while the second team has finished mid-table in Division 9.
Promotion was in Uckfield’s own hands playing against Lewes St Michael’s, the only team that could mathematically prevent them from going up, writes Joe Burns.
A baking hot day at the Victoria Ground, a very long batting line and yet Uckfield elected to bowl first and pick up the six wickets that they needed in order to guarantee promotion.
With Matt Reed and Chris Brady first and second in the Division 4 bowling charts, it was always going to be a tough ask for Lewes, even under the perfect conditions.
Reed, with his customary in-swing and probing lines was ready from the off, but it was Chris Brady who made the initial breakthrough as the dangerous Mark Jordan chopped on without troubling the scorers.
Whiting replaced him and demonstrated why he’d scored so many runs this season. However, one of the reasons why Uckfield have had such positive results this year stems from them taking the big chances.
The first mistake that Whiting made resulted in his wicket falling – Saunders taking an excellent catch against one of his former teams.
Thereafter, Uckfield were never in too much danger. Reed picked up his 44th wicket of the season with a pearler and there were superb contributions from Saunders and the two Turners – both of whom have been underutilised this summer.
Some resistance from Oliver and Thompson brought the Lewes score to 130, but it looked well below par on what appeared to be an excellent wicket.
Following some of the finest raspberries ever witnessed at a cricket tea, Uckfield’s run machine Watson, and his most regular opening partner, Morton set about knocking off the total.
The Lewes bowlers found a rhythm immediately, but some good running between the wickets and one or two exquisite shots meant that the score board continued to tick over nicely.
Watson was dismissed for 37, trying to pull the ball over mid off. It was a real shame for the season to end in this manner for him but he ends the year with 757 runs at an average of 76. Not bad!
Morton and Tungate continued to play fluently, in spite of some audacious and atrocious strokeplay from Tungate. When Morton was dismissed by a good ball from Jordan, it was left to Tungate, and the club’s all time leading run scorer Pete Holman to see Uckfield over the line. They did so admirably and the promotion celebrations continued long into the night.
Second team face champions elect
Meanwhile the second team travelled to Eastbourne to face champions elect, Kerala Strikers, who duly demonstrated why they were top of the league and going for the Division 9 title.
With excellent bowling early on from Kerala, Uckfield made a slow start, but 50s from Greenslade and Huntley ensured Uckfield reached a respectable total of 163 for 6.
However Uckfield’s bowlers were not tight enough and Kerala reached their target with relative ease, winning by 7 wickets. So the 2nd XI finished a decent season mid table, with good prospects of a push for promotion next year.
Overall a fabulous season for Uckfield that everyone involved should be proud of. Thanks to all members who contributed so well this year.