The new-look Sussex Cricket League is up and running - here are reports from the first games of the season Middleton, Chichester Priory Park, Bognor, Stirlands and Pagham and a second outing for West Wittering.
Middleton v Roffey
Middleton opened their 2018 Sussex League premier-division season with a tough day at the office against Roffey, champions three times in the past four years.
Sean Heather, the Middleton captain, put Roffey into bat on winning the toss. Roffey batsmen Theo Rivers and Rohit Jagota got them away to a good start and the first wicket didn’t fall until the pair had put on 60. Heather struck in his first over, bowling Jagota for 29.
A second-wicket partnership between Rivers and Jibra Khan of 90 was broken when Craig Fowle caught Rivers off Russell Talman for 65.
At 58-4 the game was in the balance but Rico Webb swung it in Pagham’s favour smashing 56 in 27 balls
Khan went on to score 55 and some hard hitting by Ben Manenti took him to 60 before he fell to a catch on the boundary by Brandon Hanley off Heather.
Roffey’s innings closed after 50 overs on 281 for seven. Heather, with 3-50 from his ten overs, was the pick of the Middleton bowlers.
Middleton’s reply to the challenging total was made all the more difficult when Ben Hansford was second to go with the score on just 16, both openers falling to Sussex pace bowler Stuart Whittingham.
Heather, batting at three, was joined by Indian Mahesh Rawat, the club’s overseas player this year. The pair put on 32 before Heather was out lbw to Leigh Harrison.
Mahesh was himself adjudged lbw to the same bowler with only a further five added to the total for 23. Harrison finished with 5-19 including a hat-trick.
Only Patrick Colvin (24) and Charlie Terry (22) put up any resistance and Middleton’s last wicket fell when the score was just 117. Middleton take just six points on a disappointing day.
On Saturday Middleton travel to play Hastings.
Chichester v Lindfield
Goodwood offered a fantastic setting for the opening day of the season as Chichester Priory Park commenced life back in division two with a win.
Opponents Lindfield, on paper, looked a strong test of Chichester’s potential in the division.
Visiting captain Simon Shivnarain won the toss and invited Chichester to bat first.
Openers Simon Hasted and Jimmy Lamberson put on 64 for the first wicket. The introduction of left-arm spinner Tom Hindley proved a turning point as Hasted (24), Matt Bennison (0) and Lamberson (39) departed in quick succession.
New arrival from Pagham Joe De La Fuente (44) provided stability in the middle order, putting on solid partnerships with Jay Hartard (15) and Mike Smith (24). A burst of acceleration at the end saw Chichester close on 197 for seven from their allotted 45 overs.
In response Lindfield shrugged off the early losses of Nathan Pugh (2) and Shivnarain (10) and began making steady progress.
Chichester kept chipping away, taking regular wickets. At the mid-innings drinks break Lingfield stood at a promising 104 for five.
The over after drinks was the crucial one as Jay Hartard (3-24) took three wickets in four balls to knock the stuffing out of the visitors. They kept plugging away, chipping a few runs off at a time.
But Chichester held their nerve as captain Matt Geffen removed Scott Pedley (16) and Hasted ran out Steve Pearce (3) to give Chichester victory by 47 runs.
Chichester make the long trip to face Bexhill on Saturday.
Haywards Heath v Bognor
Newly-promoted Haywards Heath turned in a strong all-round performance to beat Bognor.
The visitors won the toss and Richard Cox had Chris Blunt caught behind in just the third over. Overseas debutant Alastair Templeton and Jonny Phelps took the score past 50 before Templeton was out lbw to Charlie Laforet.
Phelps went on to make 60 batting with Calum Smith before he was run out at the non-striker’s end when a Smith drive touched the fingertips of bowler Joel Baker.
Max Barson, Ollie Bailey, Dan Woodfield and Ed Long fell quickly to leave the home side reeling at 137 for seven with more than 20 overs left. But Smith was going nicely and was soon joined by Steve Goulds.
In a partnership of 90, Goulds struck four sixes on his way to a quick-fire 50 that propelled Heath past the 200 mark before he became Tom Woolnough’s fourth scalp.
Smith reached his own half-century as Heath totalled 248.
In reply, player-coach Max Barson took the new ball but it was spinner Jonny Phelps that took the prize wicket of Ryan Maskell in the second over.
Barson was rewarded with the wicket of Tom Woolnough. Bognor were not able to keep up with the rate and were pegged back further when Tim Upchurch bowled Josh Seward for 15.
After a fightback led by Baker, Smith took the wickets of Taylor Jaycocks and Mark Woolnough.
A sharp run-out by Barson meant Bognor were a long way from victory and when Smith removed Baker for a well-made 76 the chase was all but over.
Josh Sargeant (24*) played nicely with Cox (16) before Blunt had that latter caught at mid-wicket. Smith wrapped up the game to end with 5-18 and Bognor were 183 all out.
Worthing v Pagham
Div 3 West
Worthing won the toss and elected to bat first but Pagham’s new overseas man Rico Webb proved quite a handful and quickly took the first three wickets with only 30 on the board.
Worthing overseas Cameron New had no difficulty with the conditions and scored a cultured 50 in 60 balls before falling lbw to Nick Tabberer. Wickets continued to fall regularly and Worthing were all out for 144, Webb finishing with 4-32 from his nine overs.
Pagham made their usual poor start losing Stuart Rutter and Stuart Hanks with only five on the board.
Pagham’s new opener Jack Stannard held the innings together with a patient 33. At 58-4 the game was in the balance but Webb swung it in Pagham’s favour smashing 56 in 27 balls, including four sixes, before he was out with 127 on the board.
Justin Scott’s sensible 20 not out saw Pagham home.
Stirlands v Slinfold
Div 3 West
League cricket returned to Birdham as Stirlands beat long-time rivals Slinfold in their first fixture in the new-look Sussex League.
Home captain George Coles invited Slinfold to bat first under blue sky. Slinfold’s openers were tested from the first delivery as Jamaine Bullen bowled with pace and hostility while David Briance offered few scoring opportunities.
Pressure created by Briance quickly brought success; first pinning Steven Haines lbw for 12 before snaring captain Jonathan Hughes to leave Slinfold on 33 for two.
The left-arm spin of George Briance posed problems for the visitors. He and dad David reduced Slinfold to 46 for six before lusty blows from Imran Shah brought temporary salvation for Slinfold.
Bullen returned for two wickets in three balls before Daniel Graycon grafted his way to 28 to earn his side batting points before George Briance was able to trap him lbw, bowling Slinfold out for 121.
David Briance’s nine overs saw him take 4-20.
For Stirlands, after the early loss of Will Gubbins, trapped for four by Kemar Small, George Briance showed maturity as he left well and punished loose deliveries.
Briance was caught behind to give Slinfold a glimmer of hope. This was quickly extinguished as Coles was joined by Bullen and the pair looked to build on the platform set by Briance and Torquil Deacon, peppering the boundary with ease and stealing singles before Coles mistimed a loose delivery from Small to depart for an aggressive 24.
Bullen steered his side to victory, ending on an unbeaten 41 and ensuring the full 30 points stayed.
Next up for Stirlands is a trip to Goring.
Barns Green v West Wittering
Div 5 West
Wittering skipper Carl Tupper lost the toss and was asked to bat. Barns Green made an early breakthrough removing dangerman Gareth Lendrum early on.
Tupper joined James White at the crease and they took the score to 71 before Tupper (31) creamed one to cover.
Wittering’s batsmen all came and contributed, with White finishing on 30, Brandon Trimmer, Harry Staight and James Staight all in the 20s.
Wittering finished 218 all out.
The Barns Green Social Club band took to the stage, playing a three-and-a-half hour set during the entire innings, which made it difficult for Wittering.
Barns Green got off to a flyer, with opener Paul Cockley (35) hitting a couple of sixes early on. He was removed by Andy Priest to make it 43-1. From that moment, Barns Green batsman shut up shop.
Wittering were clever with their bowling for the next 30 overs, with both Staights, Tupper, Priest and Jewiss claiming victims. Barns Green finished on 148-8 off their 45 overs and the match was drawn. Wittering host Chipps this weekend.