Cricket: Middleton have hard graft ahead but Bognor are buoyant

Bognor enjoyed a fine win over Pagham Picture by Louise Adams
Bognor enjoyed a fine win over Pagham Picture by Louise Adams

Action from divisions two and three west of the Sussex League, the West Sussex Invitation League and the Hampshire League - plus a sprinkling of village friendlies - features in our local cricket round-up, below.

Get involved in the Observer’s coverage by sending your reports to steve.bone@chiobserver.co.uk - we need them by first thing Tuesday for same-week publication.

Middleton v Findon

Sussex League division two

Middleton need to be wary, as the inconsistency that has plagued them all season continued on Saturday with a crushing defeat at the hands of neighbours Findon – and could yet see them dragged into the relegation mix.

Electing to bat, Middleton lost early wickets at regular intervals until Jamie Thompson (28*) joined opener Will Burrows (52) at the crease at 90 for three. The pair were looking for a steady partnership, hoping to keep wickets in the hand towards the end of the innings to push the total close to 180 or 200.

But this never happened. When Burrows was removed, Middleton lost their final six wickets for just 30 runs.

Findon skipper James Iago helped himself to five for 41 from his 15 overs, thanks to some good bowling but also some suspect

batting, as the hosts finished on a disappointing 162 all out after 49.5 overs.

Middleton knew they had to bowl well and take early wickets to have any chance of picking up an unlikely win and completing the treble over Findon, having beaten them earlier in the season in the league and cup.

The opening pace bowlers proved ineffective and it wasn’t until the introduction of spinners Willway and Hanley that the Findon openers looked in any trouble at all.

But the runs were flowing and the game was quickly running away from Middleton with the Findon top two, B Bridson (69*) and J Metters (63), in bullish moods to finish off the victory in style.

Middleton did remove Metters with the score at 152, but this was mere consolation and Findon completed the formalities of a nine-wicket win.

Middleton head to Glynde on Saturday, knowing more performances like this and they could yet find themselves playing Division 3 cricket once again next year.

Bognor Regis v Pagham

Sussex League division three (west)

Bognor moved up to fifth in the table with a convincing 83-run victory in this intriguing local derby.

After being put into bat, all Bognor’s batsmen contributed in a total of 188 for seven, Charlie La Foret top scoring with 36 with support from skipper Elliott Clarke (34) and vice-captain Luke Seward (33).

In reply, Bognor’s bowlers were in excellent combative form, none more so than Josh Broad, who finished with excellent figures of four for 10.

He received good support from burly paceman Jim Lee and Elliott Clarke, who took two wickets each as Pagham were bowled out for 105.

Bognor Regis II v Pagham II

Sussex League division three (west)

The decision to bat backfired somewhat on Bognor who were in a precarious position at 84 for five, but wicketkeeper Josh Seward, who hit a fine 71, and Mikey Wake (35*) saw Bognor to a respectable score of 182 for six. Nikki Tabberer was the pick of the Pagham attack with four for 54.

Pagham also got off to a rocky start and were foundering on three for two, but a fine partnership between skipper Ian Dyer (79 not out) and Dave Galea (51) saw Pagham to the brink of victory.

Bognor skipper Andy McGregor (three for 35) and Mikey Wake (three for 64) kept their side in the game but Pagham finally eased to a three-wicket victory.

Selsey I v Southwater

Invitation League division one

Selsey stunned promotion-chasing Southwater with a last-over victory to keep their survival hopes alive.

Defeat against fellow strugglers Littlehampton the week before looked to have put paid to their slim hopes, but they battled back superbly.

They are now 31 points behind Littlehampton – and safety – but they still have to play East Preston, who are also part of the relegation dogfight.

This week they have a home clash with West Chiltington, and a victory would give them real hope of avoiding the drop.

They go into the game in fine fettle after an enthralling win against Southwater.

Selsey asked their hosts to bat, but it looked to have backfired when Southwater got away quickly, reaching 62 for two in the first ten overs, thanks to Nick Baker’s 36.

Selsey plugged away and managed to slow the scoring thanks to Tom Amis (one for 57) and Pete Horner (three for 51). Horner took three quick wickets to reduce Southwater to 120 for five, but Johann Brouwer (101*) and Greg Young (38*) put on 106 and skipper Alex Harding declared on 226 for five, giving Selsey a crucial extra five overs.

Opening pair Jacob Miles (74) and Matt Leclere (39) set the foundation, putting on 118 for the first wicket in 20 overs.

Tensions were running high as Selsey were clearly frustrating their hosts, but Southwater snared three wickets as they slipped to 131 for three.

Nick Horner (32) and Andy Horner (12) steadied the ship to reach 168 for four, leaving Selsey requiring 59 from the last ten overs.

James Chaloner scored 11 in ten balls and skipper Dave Benham struck a 22-ball 26, but he fell to Brouwer (three for 53) with Selsey still needing eight to win and two wickets left.

However, Amis and Tom Cripps held their nerve in the last over to win with a ball to spare – and keep those survival hopes intact.

Aldwick v Eastergate

Invitation League div three

An emphatic eight-wicket victory gave Aldwick maximum points and lifted them to second place in the table, with just three matches to play.

Eastergate were rolled over for just 104 after 38 overs with only Andrew Smith (15), Peter Smith (22) and Robert Lea(22) making double-figure scores.

Adam Robinson(1-23) and Ollie Smith (3-32) made the early inroads but the centrepiece of the home side’s bowling attack was Liam Hick’s 8.3 overs, taking 4-12, with good support at the other end from John Young (2-19).

Greg Thwaites (1-32) removed Aldwick opener Amit Chauhan without troubling the scorers but after this hiccup Aldwick strolled to victory – mainly thanks to a confident unbeaten knock from skipper Joel Lodge (52*) with good support from Dean Stokes (22) and Adam Rutter (15*) – in the 26th over.

Aldwick are confident of beating bottom clubs Worthing III and Barns Green I in their next two games, which will set up nicely a final fixture against promotion rivals Dome Mission 1.

West Wittering I v Ram II

Invitation League division five

This five-wicket victory has put West Wittering on the brink of their third successive promotion.

They next travel to second-placed West Chiltington knowing a win will guarantee promotion for the third season.

After being asked to field by Ram II, they performed with real style. Wickets fell from the off, Pramod the only resistance for Ram with a battling 49.

Kevin Allsobrook was the pick of the bowlers with three for 15, and Joe Pink and Alex Salmon both picked up a couple each, as did James Staight, topped off with a direct-hit run out as Ram were dismissed for 97.

Mark Taylor (26) and James White (59*) batted brilliantly, taking the score to 79 before Taylor was out leg before. Carl Tupper, Mitch Hackshaw and Richard Hammond were the victims of a Wittering wobble, all out without troubling the scorers, but Rob Gray joined White at the crease and knocked off the last few runs with ease, securing 30 points for Wittering – and setting up that table-topping clash.

Broadbridge Heath II v Aldwick II

Invitation League div seven

A good consistent batting performance from the Aldwick line-up produced a very defendable 188 all out, which was clearly enough as Broadbridge Heath hung on for a draw by the skin of their teeth with 153 for nine after their 47 overs.

The Aldwick run makers were Jordan Bist (22), Matt Robinson (30), Tom Hoare (33) and Will Pegg on an unbeaten 34. Ben Johnson was easily the home side’s best bowler with four for 49.

Aldwick skipper Grant Wilson rotated his bowlers well but in the end was frustrated that they could not get the final wicket needed for victory.

Wilson (3-36) and Harry Rosser (3-42) put their side on course for victory, aided by the fielding ability of Matt Robinson, who took five catches). Heath’s number seven batsman James Baker was there at the end unbeaten on 52 and earned his side a draw as Aldwick tried everything for victory, which featured Jordan Bist’s two for 37.

Hampshire League

Cricket fans can catch the Ashes – and have plenty do to apart from watching the latest humiliation of the Aussies – at Salthill’s open day on Saturday.

Apart from the cricket being screened, there is table tennis and skittles in the main hall for all age groups, a raffle with plenty of prizes donated from local business, and an evening barbecue with fresh meat and salad.

Doors open at 10.30am and visitors are welcome.

Salthill v Waterlooville III

A night of heavy rain and lightning left Salthill wondering what to expect from the pitch at Waterlooville. Winning the toss, captain Alec Wallsgrove put the home side into bat – and that proved to be a wise decision.

Salthill’s opening bowlers soon made inroads, with Ashley Court (three for 16) causing the most damage. Only the opener James held his ground (40), later joined by Grier (43) when the side had already lost six wickets.

The Salthill bowlers never let up the pressure, and when Lee Russell (four for 17) took the final wicket, the hosts were all out for 131.

The going wasn’t a lot easier for Salthill. The wicket and useful bowling made it tough, with none of the batsman managing to

make a big score. However, thanks to the efforts of Trevor Almack (25), Jack Holder (28 not out) and Patrick Elsbury (23), they just did enough, and with Jamie Heather (16) and Russell (14 not out) later contributing useful runs, Holder was able to hit the winning runs.

The hard-fought three-wicket victory – their seventh of the season – leaves Salthill handily placed near the top of the table.

Around the grounds

Aldwick v Selsey

Matt Leclere (48) and Nic Nolan (63) took Selsey to 229 for nine, with Ian Guppy returning excellent bowling figures of four for 25. Grant Wilson and Ollie Smith took two wickets apiece.

In reply, Ollie Smith carried his bat for an unbeaten 50 and he put on 71 for the first wicket with Matt Robinson (44). James Miles (three for 30) was Selsey’s best bowler, while Kieron Lee and Tom Cripps also bagged three wickets apiece which helped restrict Aldwick to 164 for nine.

Hayling Island v Aldwick Acorns

M Hallett starred for Hayling with 84 as they finished on 213 for seven, with wickets coming from Scott Bingham (two for 23), Adam Robinson, Dave Robinson, Josh Sargeant and Lara Johnson.

Alex Cooper (52) and Scott Bingham (35) put on 68 for the first wicket, and with 22 from Tom Hoare and an unbeaten 21 from Josh Sargeant, Acorns finished 29 runs short of their target. S Martin took three 37 and there were two wickets from H Adams, M Hallett and G Martin.

Kirdford v Graffham

Kirdford continued their winning streak with a good seven-run win at Graffham.

Batting first on a slow-paced wicket, Kirdford opener J Lywood (98) made it look easy against some good opening bowling, while B Jeffery weighed in with 12.

G Short continued in the same vein, hitting a glorious unbeaten 79 as the side finished on 215 for two off their 35 overs.

Skipper R Riddril (47) got the Graffham response off to a flyer, and in conjunction with L Fouria (31), seemed to give the home team a chance.

Good bowling by J Upton (two for 43), S Pett (one for 24) and J Gillett (one for 4) put paid to Graffham’s victory drive and only J Cowell (40 not out) remained to try for glory.

But the target of 11 runs off the last over was a bridge too far and Graffham lost by seven runs.

Honourable mention goes to the lovely new pavilion being constructed by Graffham, which will be fully operational next season.

Fernhurst v Badshot Lea

Badshot Lea recovered from losing one of their openers in the first over to score at a brisk rate, and did not lose another wicket until the 23rd over, by which time the score had moved on to 83.

Opener V Richards stood firm but from then on wickets fell at regular intervals, thanks to some steady bowling from Triston Rissik (four for 41) and Ryan Lewis (four for 45). Richards was eventually out for 105, and B Gray hit 27 as Badshot Lea were dismissed for 183 in the 46th over.

With an asking rate just over four an over, the Fernhurst openers Mike Allen (52) and James Bristow (27) got them off to a good start.

Ryan Lewis (39) and Harry Lambert (30) carried on the good work and Fernhurst were well ahead of the clock. But after their dismissal and with rather a long tail to follow, having to play three juniors, Fernhurst were all out for 170 in the 38th over, 14 short of their target. M Bout (four for 46) was the main wicket taker.

Fernhurst Vets v Twickenham Vets

Fernhurst Vets – a side made up of players aged over 45 – contained stars of the 1980s and 1990s as they entertained Twickenham Vets in a 35-over match.

And they stormed to a magnificent win thanks to the efforts of their captain Mike Allen, who blasted a quickfire century after his side had been languishing at 20 for six.

Twickenham had earlier made a steady start against an aged but skilful Fernhurst attack, limiting Twickenham to 165 for five. Best Twickenham batsmen were M Horley (64) and M Johnson (44*), while Carl Cobbold took three for 15 from his seven overs.

With an asking rate of nearly five an over, Fernhurst lost wickets at regular intervals, and after 20 overs they stood at 20 for six.

But then captain Mike Allen entered the fray and started dispatching the Twickenham bowlers to all parts of the ground, ably supported by Carl Cobbold and Andy Whittington.

He completed a two-wicket victory with a six in the 34th over, his unbeaten 103 in 14 overs containing 82 in boundaries, made up of 13 fours and five sixes.

Bognor Regis Rebels Sunday XI v Littlehampton

Littlehampton elected to bat on a fine Bognor wicket, but the bowlers took the initiative with Charlie La Foret’s zesty pace taking two for 20 early on. A double bowling change saw Bognor surge forward as Aussie all-rounder Sam Taylor snared three for 19 with his unheralded off-spinners and veteran Jon Denby took three for 24 as Littlehampton were bowled out for 137, Amit Midha top scoring with 24.

In reply, Bognor were quickly reduced to 19 for two but a patient 62-run partnership between Harry Hood (19) and La Foret saw Bognor edge towards their target.

A couple of wickets for Littlehampton’s Perry (two for 31) put the game in the balance but Bognor had the answer in feisty Louis Paul, whose 40 off of 22 balls, along with La Foret’s well-paced unbeaten 50, saw the Rebels to a six-wicket win.

Lurgashall v Bramley

I Anson League division three

Leaders Lurgashall eased to a convincing victory over second-placed Bramley in a match made memorable because a batsman was out for handling the ball.

Bramley were quickly reduced to 17 for three, and although Kelly (22) and Darwen (41) restored some respectability, Kelly was dismissed after stopping a ball with his hand to prevent an attempted run out.

Darwen batted well but after he was out, the innings ended on 118 in the 47th over, with Darren Hodd (3-22) and Aaron Evans (2-19) the main wicket takers.

Lurgashalll made batting look much easier as Derw Clark (36) and Paul White (52no) put on 73 for the first wicket, and White and Ollie Pearce (31no) finished the job in style in the 15th over at 119 for one.