Round-up of action from Week 1 of the East Sussex Cricket League

Division One

Plumpton* 125 lost to Newick 127-8

IN a thrilling first match of the season, the game could not have been more evenly matched.

Newick won the toss and elected to field. Plumpton were bowled out for 125 in 47.1 overs, top scorer Danny Hall with 33. Richard Allum took 3-13 runs off seven overs.

In reply Newick passed the score in the last of their 45 overs for the loss of eight wickets. James Waylett scored 62 not out.

Heathfield Park 223-6 dec drew with Rottingdean* 167-9

AFTER being asked to bat first, visitors Heathfield Park made a patient start on a wicket that offered movement off the seam as well as some low bounce, some balls hardly getting shin high. James Bentley and Callum Matthews shared a 44-run opening stand before the latter was trapped lbw to Alex Potter for 18.

Christian Hart joined Bentley and the pair added 58 but the senior partner mistimed a drive to mid-on having scored 42. Hart soon followed, offering a well-taken catch to extra cover for 20.

There then followed a period of consolidation as new men Terry Penfold and Ian Cox played themselves in, before starting to play more expansively against the older ball. Penfold compiled a well-made 34 before being caught on the boundary, but it was chiefly the aggressive Cox who gave the innings much needed impetus; he finally fell for an even-time 68 before chopping one on.

Captain Cox declared shortly afterwards with the score on 223-6 halfway through the last over. Alex Potter was the most successful bowler with 2-52.

The Rottingdean reply got off to a terrible start as Simon Corrigal was bowled by the second ball, playing an appalling shot against Bentley. Things almost got worse as Heathfield were convinced that they had Henry Ledden caught behind in the same over, but he survived.

A brief flurry of attacking strokes from the injured Najmus Jamil ended as he was plumb lbw for 17 and George Ledden came and went, caught behind off a good delivery from Dan James for 2.

A partnership of 60 between the surviving Ledden and James Grantham (37) looked promising for Rottingdean before Grantham was undone by the extra pace of James Briggs, bowled middle stump.

Briggs repeated that dose twice in an excellent spell of 3-30 as the score went from 94-3 to 112-6. Ledden was then well caught behind by Tom Sanderson off young Billy Hobden for 58 which further exposed the lower order. Mark Smith made an enterprising 26 as Piers Cowley chipped in with two wickets, but the last pair managed to bat out half a dozen overs to leave Heathfield once again frustratingly close to victory, unable to capture the last wicket as the home team finished on 167-9. Cowley (2-6) and Bentley (2-25) were the other main wicket takers.

Chiddingly* 66 lost to Barcombe 70-2

CHIDDINGLY had only their two bowling points to comfort them after this comprehensive defeat at home to local rivals Barcombe.

Visitors Barcombe won the toss and elected to bowl. Chiddingly were 66 all out in 22.3 overs with only Matthew Reed (23) and Patrick Soan (14) breaking into double figures. Just three bowlers were needed: John Petch taking a superb 6-26 in 11.3 overs, while Allan Trower returned 2-19 and Toby Hingston mopped up the other wicket to fall. Barcombe in return reached 70-2 in 16.1 overs, Keith Savage making 29 not out, Josh Wheatley 19 and Ole Callf 10.

Division Two

Battle* 187 lost to Buxted Park 191-9

BUXTED Park won by one wicket in this narrow victory at Battle.

Craig Olive, with four wickets and a century, proved to be the difference between the two sides in a close-fought encounter at the George Meadow ground. Buxted Park skipper Ben Ferns won the toss and, unsurprisingly, chose to bowl first, a decision that was immediately justified by the removal of both openers by Bryan Huxley (3-59) with just 11 on the board. Elliot Scrivener, Craig Davies and Joe Wood all got starts without going on to make decisive scores, but it was Mike Geyde (86 not out) that underpinned the Battle innings.

Olive returned to take three lower-order wickets to finish with 4-37, while Lloyd Burgess (three catches) and wicket-keeper Bill Hunter (four dismissals behind the stumps) had good performances in the field.

In response, Buxted lost a flurry of top-order wickets, with Henry Francis (3-29) making the early inroads. At 49-5, the visitors looked to be in real trouble, but the arrival of Olive (108) to the crease brought both stability and a good scoring rate to the innings.

A stand of 75 with Luke Miles (21) took Buxted to within 60 runs, but Miles’ departure – combined with two run-outs in quick succession – turned the match again in Battle’s favour. Taking the majority of the strike to shield the tail, Olive brought up his century from 85 balls, before being bowled by Geyde with just a couple of runs needed by the last pair to take Buxted over the line.

Maresfield 316-6 bt Ringmer II* 90

MARESFIELD won their first match of the season in just about the most comprehensive fashion possible.

Visitors Maresfield won the toss and elected to bat. James Poplett continued his outstanding form of 2010 with a magnificent innings of 86.

The more sedate Steve Veal posted an excellent 121 and, with solid contributions from Harry Mcleod (45) and his father Mark (40), Maresfield were able to declare at 316-6 from 47 overs. The Ringmer batsmen found life very different when they batted and were easily dismissed for 90.

Ray Russell (30) and Chris Beech (10) were the only scorers in double figures as Poplett took best bowling figures of 3-12. Harry McLeod, Veal and Simon Aldis each took two of the remaining wickets.

Maresfield won by 226 runs which is one of their highest ever margins of victory in the East Sussex Cricket League. If they continue in this vein then they could be serious contenders for promotion this year.

Division Three

Bells Yew Green 133-8 drew with Blackboys 111-7*

BLACKBOYS entertained Bells Yew Green and, on a pitch with variable bounce due to overnight rain, they asked their visitors to bat first.

Batting was a struggle and, in the face of some good bowling from Gary Funnell who took 6-53 off 25 overs, Bells Yew Green struggled up to 133-8.

In reply, Blackboys found conditions just as difficult and slumped to 33-5. However, Mark Dann, with an a great knock of 48, and Funnell, with 22, steadied the ship but not enough to earn a victory.

The game ended a fair draw with the home side closing on 111-7.

Polegate & Stone Cross 134 beat Tunbridge Wells Borderers* 121

POLEGATE made the perfect start to the season, taking maximum points from a hard-fought away fixture against Tunbridge Wells Borderers.

Thirty points looked an unlikely prospect, however, when Polegate, put in to bat, reached 64-3, before losing four more wickets without adding a single run.

Paceman Linton Neill was proving to be something of a handful and, by that stage, the only prolonged resistance had come from Steve Hover (28) and Nick Corbett (21).

But now came the stand that was to offer Polegate a degree of hope, as 56 runs were added for the eighth wicket. Liam Conroy (12) was happy to play second fiddle, with Nigel Johnson hitting three sixes and two fours in the day’s top score of 40.

In the end, both fell to Neill and 120-8 soon became 134 all out. Neill, having bowled a total of 21 overs, 16 of them on the trot, ended with figures of 6-48. It hardly looked a guaranteed winning total. But Polegate’s opening bowlers, Ben Davis and Nigel Johnson, were quickly out of the blocks, snapping up a wicket apiece to reduce Tunbridge Wells to 14-2 after four overs. Davis by now had the taste for blood. His first spell ended with figures of 3-27 off 11 overs. Phil Osborne, outstanding in the field, chipped in with the vital wicket of Nick Edwards, caught by Clive Harris for 17. And at 75-5, it was anybody’s game.

A smart catch by wicketkeeper Stuart Tibble gave very occasional bowler Ben Hughes a wicket, before the home side passed one hundred with three wickets still in hand.

But it was to be Polegate’s day: some sharp bowling by Conroy sent the Tunbridge Wells tail reeling – and suddenly they were all out for 121, just 14 runs short of victory.

The last wicket went to that man Davis, dismissing Tunbridge’s top scorer Paul Havell for 28, to end with a return of 15-7-29-4. Conroy finished with 3-19, off eight overs.

Division Four

Heathfield Park II* 125 drew with Rottingdean II 75

HEATHFIELD Park won a dramatic and low-scoring match by a comfortable 50 runs on a difficult day for batting. An overnight downpour resulted in a rain-affected wicket which had the bowlers licking their lips at what is normally a batsman’s paradise at Heathfield Park.

Unsurprisingly the visitors inserted the Park, who were soon in trouble at 9-3 and 25-4 due to some injudicious shots against some great bowling from skipper Chris Osborne (2-28) and Ross Hubbard, who ended up with 4-22. Veteran Mick March and Simon Gayton each made 24 to repair some of the damage but it was 17-year-old Liam Matthews, with 33, who gave the home side some slender hope.

After the best tea seen at the Park for many years a focused home side came out and quickly grabbed the prized wicket of Peter Gray.

The visitors soon collapsed to 21-6 in the face of some outstanding bowling by Tim Russell and two promising left arm seamers in Dave Williams and Simon Briggs.

However, skipper Osborne played some cracking shots, hitting 10 boundaries in a quick-fire 43 before Russell saw Park home by 50 runs as he finished with 6-33 in 12.4 overs.

March, who kept wicket outstandingly, heaped praise on young Matthews: “He had a difficult year last year but has undoubted class and temperament.”

Firle 126 lost to Lewes St Michael’s* 129-3

LEWES St Michael’s won the toss and fielded first. The Firle innings started with a run out by Jack Allsobrook before Dan Seagar picked up two wickets with some quick bowling. Edward Salkield also picked up two wickets but Tony Wakeley was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-12 off eight overs. Neil Trott (37) and Karoki Lewis (19) were main run-scorers for Firle. Allsobrook took the catch to end the Firle innings.

Lewes then took the field for eight overs before tea and lost just the one wicket. The return to the middle saw two more wickets fall, but Ash Oliver – top scorer with 47 not out – and Salkield (35 not out) batted sensibly and saw St Michael’s home. The pick of the bowlers for Firle was Ned Wyndham with 2-27 off 13 overs.

East Dean* 140-9 beat Little Common Ramblers 126

AFTER being put in by their visitors Dean were quickly 14-2 and in trouble. Scott Lipa (29) with the help of Piers Manktelow steadied the ship before Manktelow finally fell for 39.

Progress was slow in the face of good tight bowling from Delroy Reid and captain Berwick Smith. Useful runs were added by Graham Primett (21) and Steven Edwards (18) but the innings continued to labour and at the end of the 50 overs East Dean had amassed a way below par 140-9.

Little Common’s openers were positive in their reply, with both openers playing their shots. Andrew Crathern, with a fluent 29, and Andy Meredith, with a quick-fire 17, got the visitors off to a energetic start. East Dean did not help themselves by dropping four catches before the score had reached 43.

Daubney was himself introduced at the other end and these two showed all of their experience to put the brakes on and rip out the middle order. A fine spell by Daubney resulted in him returning figures of 3-25 off nine overs. Primett, meanwhile, was by now into his stride and conceding very few runs to put the pressure back on the visitors.

However, opposition captain Berwick Smith played a brilliant counter attacking innings to take his side close to victory. But old warrior Primett had other ideas and produced yet another match-winning performance to rip through the tail, finishing with amazing figures of 6-21 off 15 overs. Theo Dowse was last man out for 50 with his side 15 runs short.

Pett 191* lost to Mayfield 192-8

MAYFIELD started their 2011 campaign with a two-wicket win away to Pett.

Mayfield won the toss and decided to field.

The Pett top and middle order failed to make an impression against penetrative bowling from Sunny Mohammed (4-50) and Rob Sharma (2-22).

They were in serious trouble at 65-7, but they were rescued by D Ahmed (44) and skipper Ben Linklater (72) – batting at Nos.8 and 9 respectively – to post a respectable 191 all out in just 33 overs.

First change bowler Andy Parker took 2-40.

Mayfield’s response was unconvincing and, at 80-6, they looked to be heading for an opening day defeat.

However, Jimmy Hortle, with 52 from just 31 balls on his league debut for the club, and Warren Wright (26) sparked the recovery.

Ahmed took 3-30 in a good all-round performance, and John Fitton 3-37.

But it was not quite enough as Mayfield got over the finishing line with two wickets to spare.

Mayfield host East Dean & Friston this week.