Polegate finally get season off to a start... but it’s with a defeat

East Sussex Cricket League Division Three

Ditchling 2nd XI* 236-9 Polegate & Stone Cross 129

POLEGATE & Stone Cross’s 1st XI finally got their league season underway with an away trip to Ditchling. This saw Ditchling pick up their first win of the season for the 30 points while Polegate picked up just 10. Having won the toss, skipper Stuart Tibble inserted Ditchling in the hope that the attack of Polegate – with seven recognised bowlers available for selection – could do some early damage. As Ditchling reached 180-1, this clearly wasn’t the case. Ian Parks and Nigel Johnson bowled with little luck as a couple of early chances went begging. Johnson finally made the breakthrough trapping Ed Burns lbw for 13 with the score on 25. With the second wicket producing an excellent 155 partnership between Dave Taylor (83) and Mark Prickett (77) – both men playing some sublime shots in amongst some unusually indifferent fielding from usually safe hands. From 180-1, Ditchling then collapsed dramatically to 236-9, with Stuart Conroy being introduced and claiming 3-22, including the scalp of Prickett when he was caught behind by skipper Tibble. Tibble went on to claim two further catches behind the stumps, one from Conroy and the other off Parks who thoroughly deserved his three-wicket reward from his three spells (3-60). In reply, Polegate got off to a poor start as Nick Corbett found himself back in the pavilion without troubling the scorers. Tibble was joined by Steve Hover (17) in a stand of 59 that was beginning to see Polegate take the upper hand. When Hover was unluckily out playing on, Baba Saracouli (17) joined Tibble, and commenced with a couple of cracking cover drives. At 98-2 and all to play for, Polegate then capitulated to 129 all out. Tibble’s controlled innings came to and end when he reached 56 and mistimed a leg glance straight to mid-on. Ditchling wrapped up the last eight wickets in seven overs.

Pevensey* 143 Lewes Saint Michaels 147-6 LEWES St Michaels continued their positive start to the season with a convincing win at Pevensey.

The home side won the toss and elected to bat on a scorching day – on what looked like a hard, flat batting track. However, despite the wicket offering slight variation in bounce on occasions, the Saints opening attack of Ed Salkield and Harry Oliver bowled brilliantly, tearing through the Pevensey top order very early on, to restrict the home side for 22-5.

Oliver finished with a brilliant 4-23 from his six-over spell, with Salkield (a miserly 1-10 off eight overs) providing excellent support with tight bowling that perhaps merited more wickets.

The Pevensey middle order rallied for a period where LSM’s continued persistence with the ball was met with some resistance by Martin Hole (58) and Steve Dallaway (45), who added 101 for the next wicket.

Saints’ patience was rewarded, however, when Theo Whiting and Joe Piller made the breakthroughs to get the wickets tumbling again. Whiting produced a good spell of flighty spin to finish with 3-23, Piller supported him with 2-24, and Pevensey were bowled out for 143. The Saints’ response wobbled slightly in the opening overs, with both openers falling cheaply. But skipper Syd Oliver was the anchor of the innings, scoring a patient 53 which proved important as, despite some support from Piller (25) and Salkield (28) in the middle order, Saints wickets were falling.

Although Oliver’s excellent innings was eventually ended by some of that unfortunately straight variable bounce, the visitors were able see the game home.

Despite the loss of Mark Jordan to a run out, Ash Oliver (17 not out) calmly knocked off the remaining runs, ensuring that LSM won by four wickets, and established a strong start to the season. Graeme Corbishley 3-51.

Dicker 214-9 dec Uckfield Anderida 150-6

UCKFIELD and Dicker met for the first time ever in the league in this draw at the Victoria Pleasure Ground on Saturday.

Things started well for the away side, who won the toss and elected to bat on a hot day and on a dry wicket that looked good for the batsman.

Uckfield opening bowlers, Mark Cullingford and Skipper Gareth Hayes immediately found good lengths and restricted brothers Matthew and Ben Hitchin scoring opportunities – although they couldn’t find a way through.

An unfortunate injury to keeper Pat Phillips, who took a ball to the nose, delayed play but thankfully after treatment he was OK.

The breakthrough came with Hayes, a full and straight delivery catching Matthew Hitchin leg before wicket. Steady progress was made with Cullingford (2-58) and Hayes (4-28) but Ben Hitchin stood firm, driving impressively down the ground and hooking well. Uckfield tried but failed to dislodge this Hitchin who batted very well to reach his century, finally departing for 114 having helped his side to 214-9, Southerland supporting well with his 28 not out. Allan Cutinha again bowling well for the hosts, returning 2-19.

Uckfield reply got off to a terrible start, with openers Sam Oaks and Peter Holman failing to reach double figures. Andy Holman, returning after 10 years, also fell cheaply to the impressive bowling of Rob Preston.

Things went from bad to worse when Cullingford (14) mistimed a drive and Tom Marchant was caught for Preston’s fourth wicket, to leave Uckfield reeling on 38-5.

But then Peter Morris and Phil Douse (22) started Uckfield’s counter attack, with the former going particularly strong. Both Morris and Douse looked to turn the game around and even eyed the possibility of reaching the target. However, overs were fast running out and Uckfield eventually finished on 150-6.

Morris, impressive to the end with an array of cuts and drives, finished on 96 not out, a fine innings that rescued his side when in dour trouble. The pick of the Dicker bowlers was Preston (4-47).

OTHER RESULTS: Tunbridge Wells Borderers 199 (overs unspecified; Callum Wood 62; Andrew Cornford 3-32, Jason Finch 3-34) lost by 7 wickets away to Mayfield 203-7 (overs unspecified; Robert Sharma 70*, Jason Finch 69; Linton Neill 2-56). Newhaven 134 (35.1 ovs; Charlie Durrant 33; Greg Watson 5-43, Nick Toomey 4-51) won by 7 runs at home to Herstmonceux 127 (38.5 ovs; Andrew Standen 32; Danny Pollard 6-30).