With the heavy torrential rain of Friday night finally relenting and the sun peeking through, Seaford travelled to league leaders Polegate in the latest round of league matches.
Fortunately the pitch had been covered so although quite damp and soft, at least it was playable. It was an important toss to win as clearly neither team wanted to bat on the pitch with it drying out fast and looked like it would be much easier to bat on later. The toss was made and with no surprise was lost by Seaford....again (I know, one job to do and can't even do that right). The Polegate skipper didn't hesitate to put Seaford into bat.
With a weakened batting line up and a damp pitch Seaford decided to open with usual opener Billy Wootten and Skipper and resident holder of the number 11 spot Jon Milham in an attempt to see off the openers and try not to lose early wickets. Great plan, but as with great plans they don't always go to plan and in the first over Billy guided the ball perfectly into second slips hands for a duck after last weeks excellent 60. In came Jonny Brown and together with Jon Milham ground their way through almost 10 overs and when Milham fell for a turgid 9, the score was 25-2, but had all but seen off the openers. Sadly though Stuart Conroy (3-33) had other ideas and ripped through the rest of the top order and Seaford were soon at 28-4 with all the big name batsmen back in the hutch with just 1 run between them. Fortunately for Seaford Jonny Brown (63) shone out like a golden light and a partnership of 48 with the "wall" Rahul Dravid...sorry Richard Benvenisti, and then a Ben Edmonds (25) wackaday helped Seaford to end on 150-9. A well run 2 between Jake Moore and Steve Hearsey off the last ball sneaking in the extra 2 bonus points. I think Jake was quite happy with the single, but Steve was on the ball and quietly asked him to run the second! After the difficult start, ending up on 150-9 was a great effort, and gave Seaford at least something to defend. Stuart Conroy picking up three, as well as Dan Bartlett (3-21) both taking the bowling plaudits.
After tea Seaford knew they needed wickets as the pitch was drying fast and had definitely got easier to bat on as the afternoon had gone on. Steve Hearsey (3-22) sent back Polegate skipper Andy Williams (5) to a low diving grab at slip by Jon Milham, prompting calls from Billy of "remember the Bermuda guy at the world cup a few years back" I really hope he was referring to the diving one handed catch and not the ample size of Dwayne Leverock....I will let you all decide! Another quick wicket fell as Justin Squires (2-22) clean bowled Dion Saracouli (12) followed by Clive Harris (1) lbw. When Steve Hearsey took the next two wickets Polegate were on the rack at 40-5 and Seaford well on top. However as seems to be the 3s norm recently, they allowed Polegate to get back into the game through Stuart Conroy (60) with some serious power hitting, and some massive 6s. There was then a lengthy delay in the game as Oscar Miller fielding at mid wicket took the full force of a Conroy pull straight into his mouth/chin area. It looked a really nasty blow, and was bleeding badly from a bad cut inside his mouth, and his teeth certainly were not as straight as they had started the day, and was lucky not to have lost a few of them. Credit must be given to the Polegate lads who administered aid quickly. A long evening in the hospital and dentists to straighten him up for poor Oscar.
No one like to see someone get hurt on a cricket pitch, and this clearly affected the players. Although it was a total accident you could see that Stuart Conroy was devastated about it, as well as others who were also quite affected. The game finally restarted and after a couple more lusty 6s in between being dropped twice, Conroy finally fell and the score was 132-6 and the game all but safe for Polegate. A couple of late wickets for Seaford made the scoreline look a bit closer than it was as Polegate ran out winners by 2 wickets. A partnership of 92 between Conroy and Nick Corbett (15) ultimately proving decisive.
Summing up, Seaford probably once again lost a game they could have won and will again be looking over their shoulders nervously. The injury to Oscar didn't help as that added to losing another fielder, who had to go early meant that Seaford had just 9 on the pitch for several overs towards the end and a few catchable balls went through gaps that fielders would have been. That added to the escalating number of needless extras conceded allowed Polegate to ease to victory.
A good game, totally marred by the Oscar injury. Man of the match was a close one between Jonny Brown (63 & 2-20) and Stuart Conroy (60 & 3-33) but in the end it goes to Stuart Conroy not just for his batting and bowling, but also for getting changed as soon as he was out and going straight to the hospital to see Oscar. Sometimes in life humanity has a way of showing itself in strange ways, total respect to Stuart for that.
Seaford 12pts - Polegate 28 pts
Author: Jon Milham