Cricketers aim for a sizzling summer in Sussex

Middleton and Bognor meet last summer - and they'll be rivals again this year in Sussex division three west
Middleton and Bognor meet last summer - and they'll be rivals again this year in Sussex division three west
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We’ve had plenty of cricket weather - so now it’s time for some cricket.

The Sussex League and West sussex Invitation League swing back into action this weekend, with other leagues following suit a week later.

Here is our guide to who’s in and who’s at, and what the season may hold, for our top local teams.

CHICHESTER PRIORY PARK

Division: Sussex Premier League

Captain: Mark Bamford

Players in: Matt Gregory (Australian overseas cricketer. Played at Pagham a couple of years ago. Good batsmen and can bowl some leg spin), Richard Browning (Runs the League Cricketers’ Association with Richard Logan, which provides a community for league cricketers and the also delivers coaching courses, all rounder, captain of Leeds/Bradford University Cricket Academy before he graduated last year. Has played regular county 2nd X1 cricket and played in a Pro-40 game for Derbyshire).

Players out: Chris Kirkham (currently in Australia and unlikely to return before the end of the season).

Realistic aim for the season: To build on return to Premier League last year when they finished fourth. ‘Kirks’ will be a big loss, but mid-table is a minimum expectation and they would love to improve on their position last year.

What else is new? Bamford says: “We look forward to the potential Priory Park redevelopment (if funds allow) and the replacement of the white pavilion. Junior cricket will go from strength to strength with coaching organised by the LCA. They have a fourth team this year that will play on Saturdays too.”

STIRLANDS

Division: Sussex League division two

Captain: David Briance

Players in: Alex Garlick (overseas from Adelaide)

Players out: Sean Heather (emigrated), Struan Cameron (Pulborough)

Realistic aim: Middle to top half of the table. Quite a big rebuilding job after the loss of Sean Heather.

What else is new? Aiming to bring some of the club’s promising youth players through into league cricket. Give them more responsibility to see how they develop and cope with it. New second XI captain in Michael Clowes. Big things are expected of Nick Gubbins when he plays from end of June onwards. At 16, he scored an unbeaten half-century in last years 20/20 semi-final against Premier champions Preston Nomads.

BOGNOR

Division: Sussex League div three west

Captain: 1st XI: Elliott Clarke, taking over from Glenn West.

Players in: Michael Spaseski (overseas player from Queanbeyan DCC, ACT, Australia), Andy Quincey (Sedgefield CC, Durham), James Kliber (Shenfield CC, Essex), Ryan Maskell (Aldwick CC).

Players out: Glenn West (retired through injury), Tom La Foret (has moved to London).

Realistic aim: 1st XI – compete for the title for as long as possible; 2nd XI – introduce more players from their talented youth section.

What else is new? Bognor were a national showcase club for this year’s CricketForce event. Some great projects were undertaken to rejuvenate facilities, with the help of Mike Gatting, Holly Colvin, Chris Tremlett, Chris Liddle and Jordan Rollings.

MIDDLETON

Division: Sussex League div three west

Captain: Matt Warren

Players in: Warren says: “We have a couple of guys who have been away at uni around for the whole season this year – Sean Rebbetts and Ben Hansford – and an overseas in for the whole year - Seb Gallagher, who actually came over and played for Arundel a few years ago, so we’re excited about having him join up with us.”

Players out: None

Realistic aim: Warren says: “We’re looking to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. I think the league looks pretty open again. Billingshurst will certainly be the team to watch – they shouldn’t have come down last year and will undoubtedly be looking to rejoin the division-two ranks ASAP, so they will probably start as favourites. In my mind anyone that finishes above them will more than likely be going up.”

PAGHAM

Division: Sussex League div three west

Captain: Staurt Rutter

Players in: Mark Ross (New Zealand)

Players out: Jo Metz, Matt Colban

Realistic aim: Top four

MIDHURST

Division: Hampshire League division one

Captain: Tim Powell

Players in: Mark Zadawski, Mike Davidson, Ryan Lewis (welcome back, former Midhurst junior).

Players out: None

Realistic aim: Top six finish

What else is new? Generally more opportunities for juniors to break into all teams. One or two places in first team could be open with opportunities therefore lower down. Junior registration is Friday, May 6, at The Ruins (6.30pm); junior practice for those who play with soft ball (under-nine and below) Fridays and for others, Tuesdays, at the Ruins at 6.30 (after May 6); senior nets Thursdays from May 5.

BOSHAM

Division: Hampshire League south-east

division two

Captain: Martin Farrell

Players in: Young players who only got the odd game last year will aim to establish themselves a regular place in the team – such as James Ellis, Olly Mann, James Cox and Fred Kelly.

Players out: None but they will be missing George Barratt in the early season because he’s at university.

Realistic aim: Farrell said: “To win more than we lose would be a good outcome.”

What else is new? The club’s ambition is to play their league fixtures at their new Delling Close ground once the standard of the square is improved sufficiently so this could be one of the last years of playing at Oaklands Park.