‘’How are the troops?’’ ……They’ve seen better days….
Nuthurst troops surrender on home soil as Henfield chase down modest total with 8 wickets to spare.
First game back at home after Tour, the Nutters gathered at the Common to welcome back Henfield to Mannings Heath. Having had such an excellent battle the previous year against a very strong Henfield side the Nutters were expecting Henfield to come back with another well drilled outfit. On a slow surface and slightly damp track, Nuthurst were confident they had the firepower to win the game and knew a first innings total of 140 would have been more than competitive.
Captain Samways, fresh off a hundred against the ‘colts’ from Sarisbury was feeling in good form with the bat and must have been pleased to have seen a handful of younger players in the Henfield ranks. Winning the toss, Bob sent in Jonty Greenwood and Gywllim ‘’Strike-Rate’’ Jones to open the innings against the Henfield opening bowlers T. Helps and Mendis. Mendis bowled some testing out-swing along with some deliveries the Nuthurst pair were frustrated they failed to hit to the rope. Scoring was slow upfront and Gwyllim’s eyes lit up at a rank long-hop from Mendis, which was promptly popped straight to mid-off. Jonty edged behind not long later for Mendis’ second wicket in a good opening spell. In at 3, Bob Samways dug in as wickets began to fall and the scoring rate slowed. DT was caught off change bowler B. Beard, Charlie South fell to the off-breaks of Rogers before Samways himself was bowled for 21 in the 20th over. Nathan Williams and Graham Prior came and went before the over was out as Rogers (5-1-7-4) bowled a triple wicket maiden. Nuthurst finding themselves 49-7 and in a spot of bother.
Raggy Singh battled for his 19, determined not to risk any quick singles, attempted to lead the counter-attack and guide Nuthurst to a defendable total. Simon Whitehouse ran himself out before Singh himself was bowled. The returning T.C. Weston and the lesser-seen Jeremy James tried their best to muscle the ball off the square off the bowling of Bayross and Younger, Jezza finishing 7 not out as Nuthurst found themselves bowled out for just 83 in 27.3 overs. Pick of the bowlers Mendis (5-2-8-2) and Rogers with his off-spin.
Prior and Greenwood were the men given the task of striking early and getting a couple of wickets before the Tea break but were left unrewarded for their efforts as the Henfield batsmen defended their wickets against the opening spell. An excellent tea from Eileen Le-Rossignol helped to motivate the troops morale, but they knew they would have to bowl extremely well after Tea to defend what remained of their total. Jez came on after Tea and bowled 2 maidens out of his first three, with the aim to set up scoreboard pressure and make the Henfield batsmen make mistakes. However Grinstead (22), who looked very handy with the bat, only struck out at the rare bad balls and looked to be playing the game situation perfectly. Raggy Singh replaced Prior and came round the wicket to Grinstead who was well caught by Charlie South, from a ball fired across him from Singh. At the other end, T. Helps had showed good maturity and patience to blunt the Nuthurst attack and was beginning to play some aggressive shots before being trapped in front LBW to Jeremy James. Unfortunately, that was the last event that the Nutters were able to celebrate as Henfield numbers 3 and 4 Griffiths and A. Younger were able to come in and hit 21 and 27 not out respectively. Younger playing some expansive drives over the top as the game ended and an 8 wicket win for Henfield was wrapped up with plenty of overs to spare.
Nuthurst were left to retreat to the Black Horse to lick their wounds and begin formulating their battle plan for next years duel. An unfortunate result for the Nutters but a fixture always played in excellent spirits.
2019 Umpire, R.Keen