On a warm and breezy Saturday the 1st XI headed to Maresfield intent on establishing local bragging rights early in the season, writes Tom Grimes.
Having been asked to bowl first on a slightly damp wicket, Uckfield were quite content with their their main strike bowler, Matt Reed, returning to the side.
And when Reed struck early on to remove Whitlock, that contentment was reinforced, as it was further with A. Turner getting Matt Lucas out LBW with the run rate very low.
The slow start was no doubt caused by the wicket with variable bounce and some deliveries keeping very low.
However, Maresfield’ middle order consolidated well, with Terry Lucas driving and sweeping the ball nicely, and Patrick crashing the ball to all parts for an entertaining, aerial 61, the highlight being a lofted drive for 4 off his very first delivery.
Lucas was a touch unlucky to get out for 28 to a ball that ricocheted off pad and bat before hitting the stumps, while Patrick was caught well by C Turner on the boundary.
Walsom played some fine shots on the way to a quick fire 36, but Uckfield bowlers stuck manfully to their task to bowl out Maresfield for 206, with special mention to bowlers Brady, Harvey and Phillips, who kept plugging away.
During a well earned tea, of which ham and piccalilli sandwiches were the highlight, Uckfield felt they should have kept the home side to a lower total, but were very much in the game.
And, with opening batsman Morton getting off to slow but solid start, despite losing his partner early, Uckfield seemed well placed to push for the win, despite the slow, low wicket.
Tungate came in and quickly began scoring off anything too full, and after Mortons departure, was joined by captain MacCallum with much the same approach.
These two batting excellently, particularly with Walsom bowling well from the playground end, but with field spread they were unable to find the boundary with enough regularity.
After they both reached fine 50s they recognised the need to push the scoring along further and both fell to that end.
However, time ran out for Uckfield, with a rejigged middle order of C Turner and C Brady unable to hit the big shots needed in the final overs, leaving them 20 runs short with 4 wickets down to draw the game.
Meanwhile the 2nd XIs of both sides fought out an even tighter game at the Victoria Ground.
With Maresfield getting 173 all out, Uckfield needed 3 runs off the final 2 balls to win in reply, but were agonisingly 1 run short, leaving them level and the game tied. Special mention to 14-year-old Jonny Griffiths for Uckfield, who scored a superb 56 not out on his debut.
Next week sees the 1st XI host Bell Yew Green and the 2nd XI travel to Burwash.