Bush and Bognor are too strong for Pagham

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Bognor ended up on top in the derby at home to Pagham to cement second place in division three west of the Sussex League - while Middleton came undone at Findon

On a day dedicated to raising money for Help for Heroes at Bognor, the hosts won the toss and had no hesitation in bowling first in unfavourable batting conditions.

Graham Bush (3-22) and Jim Lee (2-27) opened the bowling with consistency and energy.

Bush claimed Pagham’s Will Rolls and Dave Galea in his opening spell. Bognor continued to press for wickets and soon Pagham were 29 for three.

Lee and Bush supported each other well, controlling the new ball well with the difficult winds.

Pagham’s middle order was unable to establish a required partnership and wickets fell regularly to Rob Willway (2-25) and Michael Spaseski (2-29).

Pagham were 75 for six but formed a rescue attempt with Michael Hales (24) and Sean Rutter (14) remaining at the crease until Rutter was caught by young Michael Harris off the bowling of Spaseski.

Hales battled on with the tail and pushed the score to 141 before Bush claimed his third and final wicket.

Bognor captain Elliot Clarke and Willway provided a stable start to the reply with some offensive strokeplay and defensive stability. Clarke looked in good touch with seven fours, but perished to Hales for 38.

Willway remained, refusing to give his wicket away while Bognor’s middle order were unable to stay with him and the score fell to 81 for four thanks to good swing bowling from Hales (2-44) and spin from Wayne Green (1-39).

Bognor’s newest recruit Andrew Quincy chipped in with some attacking strokeplay all round the ground, hitting a valuable 30 off 28 balls.

Pagham’s Nikki Tabberer’s three overs saw him take two for 12 but even that couldn’t deny Bognor as Willway remained for an important 41 not out to see them home for the full 30 points, continuing their fine start to the season.

Meanwhile, Middleton suffered their first defeat of the season at Findon – and in comprehensive fashion.

They chose to field and got off to a great start when Seb Gallagher removed Graham Manser in the third over. The Bridson brothers stopped Widdleton turning the screw with Bradley and Daniel putting together an excellent partnership of 130 – more than the entire Middleton team were to score later.

Bradley was chief destroyer: riding his luck at times, he hit some tremendous blows down the ground on his way to 86 before he was snaffled by Aaron Madgwick at mid-on off Chris Spedding.

Middleton dug in and Tommy Davies was unlucky to end wicketless after a tight spell.

Spedding was the pick, taking a well-deserved three for 21 off ten overs with a flurry of wickets, although an excellent cameo of 45 from Felix Jordan helped Findon to a strong total of 230.

Young wicketkeeper Will Burrows suffered a double finger dislocation, Findon showing an excellent sporting gesture by allowing one of their men to sub-field but it still meant Middleton were one missing with the bat.

The visitors’ innings went wrong from early on.

Hansford and Warren made a steady if unspectacular start against good new-ball bowling and when Hansford snicked one to Tom Blake, wickets started to fall at an alarming rate.

Soon it was 35 for five, James Iago picking up the next four as he worked up a sweat coming down the hill and nipped the ball back into the batsmen, who had little answer, although a couple of partnerships did at least form a mild salvation.

Brandon hit 31, including a token six for the year that landed on the skipper’s car.

He and Matt Warren added 40 before Iago decided it was time to pick up another four victims, three of whom were lbw.

Adam Rawstrone batted very well again at the end for 38 and he now leads the averages for the season. It was a very poor batting performance but Findon deserved their victory.