Cuckfield close in on Sussex Premier League crown – Haywards Heath lose at West Chiltington – Lindfield host MCC

Cuckfield CC’s first XI are closing in on the Sussex Premier League title. Read the reports below from Cuckfield’s various sides, Haywards Heath CC and Lindfield CC.
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Eastbourne 1st XI vs Cuckfield 1st XI

Sussex Premier

Cuckfield travelled to The Saffrons on Saturday with hopes set on retaining their lead at the top of the Premier League. Having won the toss, on what appeared to be a firm and good-looking batting surface, Cuckfield opted to bowl.

Cuckfield second XI | Contributed pictureCuckfield second XI | Contributed picture
Cuckfield second XI | Contributed picture

Skipper Jacob Smith and returning Sussex professional Ali Orr opened the batting for the hosts, as Cuckfield’s attack were surprised by the slow and sticky nature of the pitch.

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Both built slowly, surviving a testing opening spell from Will Galbraith-Gibbons (0-18), sedately moving their way to 50 without loss. Spin was introduced, and Orr quickly took a liking to Will Goss (2-57), striking two big sixes to mark a noticeable increase in scoring.

Joe White (1-28) had other ideas, finding some seam movement to have Orr caught behind for 42, before Goss removed Cooper Luke for 2. Smith’s calm approach had been unsettled by the introduction of the slow bowlers, and he finally succumbed to Josh Hayward (3-18) for 48, top edging one to deep midwicket.

Wes Marshall (1-23) removed Malcolm Johnson (9) with the score on 111, before an un-forecasted band of rain saw the teams leave the pitch. Following the rain delay, Matthew Pope (17) and Jordan Turner (37) played busily as Cuckfield struggled with the waterlogged ball and long grass in the outfield.

Turner capitalised as the bowlers erred before he was removed LBW by Hayward. Cuckfield quickly set out removing Eastbourne’s lower order, with Henry Rogers finishing up with 3-22 – one courtesy of an outstanding catch by Marshall - as the hosts battled to 184 all out.

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While the happier of the two sides at the break, Cuckfield knew it would be hard work on a difficult surface that appeared to be deteriorating towards the end of Eastbourne’s innings.

Eastbourne’s seamers rather drove home just how difficult it would be, and while Joe Cambridge (5) was the only batsman removed in the first 10 overs, both Alex Thornhill and Wes Marshall struggled to score. Eastbourne’s stranglehold continued as they extracted the dogged Thornhill for 20 – a smart stumping from Freddie Ferro off Jacob Smith (1-29) saw an opening with the score on 63 after 24 overs.

Henry Rogers (9) fell soon after before Ollie Graham (18) added some much needed impetus – capitalising on two free hits, one struck strongly for 6 over midwicket. Eastbourne fought hard however, and Graham’s dismissal was shortly followed by Oscar Jago-Lewis (2) as the visitors’ nerves increased markedly.

Marshall stood firm at the other end however, and in Aidan Drew (16) found a more than capable accomplice; both playing some strong shots and running hard. With just 25 needed, Drew fell to Joshua Ansell (3-23) and the hosts were firmly back in the game. Marshall took his chances, but was rewarded for his hard work with a six over cover and a flurry of boundaries – with 3 wickets in hand he took Cuckfield to parity before slicing one up in the air to fall for a priceless 90 off 115 balls containing 10 boundaries.

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Hayward completed the win with a flick through midwicket as Cuckfield recorded their 11th win of the season. With East Grinstead losing, Cuckfield now find themselves requiring just 34 points from the final 3 games to be crowned champions.

West Chiltington v Haywards Heath

Sussex Division 2

Saturday saw the return of the win lose format as Heath headed to second place West Chiltington. Upon winning the toss on what looked a good wicket Heath decided to bat and started watchfully against some tight bowling from the Chilts opening pair. New partnership Menzies and 16 year old Fred wallis began to build and push the runs and reached 75-0 from 15 overs with Heath looking well placed.

The outfield was slow from morning rain but with the boundaries smallish a big score was needed. Hilts ran the changes and kept things tight, Hugo Gillespie bought himself into the attack and mixed up his pace and length well bringing about the first heath wicket of Menzies for a well-made 68. Heath then lost overseas Livingstone first ball LBW to Gillespie and suddenly the game was back in the balance.

Chilts has slowed the scoring down with tight bowling some exceptional fielding squeezing youngster wallis who soon fell for a well-made 37. Heath skipper Smith tried to push the scoring along with Guy moore but both well with overs running out Smith for 30 and Moore for 17 and Heath were now stuttering to 200.

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Credit goes to Chilts who bowled with great discipline and restriced Heath to 207-8 from their 45. Chilts skipper Gillespie returned impressive figures of 5-36.

On a small ground against a strong batting line up defending 207 was always going to be tough. Chilts started with good intent but Heath struck earlier through Menzies to reduce Chilts to 20-1.

Opener Ben van noort played positively alongside overseas Andrew young and the pair pushed the score to 63 before Heath struck again through skipper Smith. Chilts continued to play positively punishing any bad ball on offer but lost another with the score on 90 and the game was in the balance. Chilts skipper Gillespie came in alongside overseas Young and the pair stepped on the gas and started to take the game away from Heath.

They reached 170 before the 4th wicket fell and with plenty of time left the game was done. Heath struck again quickly to make it 170-5 but with 4 overs to go Chilts passed their total giving Heath only their second loss of the season. Heath bowlers stuck to the task well but 207 was short of a completive total and Chilts now look well set to make the jump up to the Premier league.

Heath entertain leaders Worthing this week at Clair Park.

Cuckfield 2nd XI vs Lindfield 1st XI

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Cuckfield 2nd XI took on Lindfield 1st XI, both looking to secure their place in Division 3 for next season. Cuckfield skipper George Galbraith-Gibbons won the toss and elected to bowl first in the hopes to get the most out of the slightly damp wicket from the morning rain.

James Anyon (3-30) and Nick Patterson (0-41) opened the bowling and bowled tightly during the first power play, Anyon taking critical wickets up top to put Lindfield on the back foot. Cuckfield continued to change the bowling attack to keep the pressure on Lindfield with Sam Canfield (0-52) and Greg Wisdom (0-40) bowling tightly.

However, Lindfield overseas Imesh Udayanga (94) began to take the game away from Cuckfield putting pressure on both the bowlers and fielders. This pressure was soon taken off by Matt Slinger (3-45) who took three crucial wickets towards the end of the innings including Lindfield overseas Imesh Udayanga restricting Lindfield’s total to 230 for 6.

This was considered slightly under-par as Cuckfield knew with their strong batting line up and current winning streak they could take this score on. Opening up for Cuckfield, captain George Galbraith-Gibbons (48) and Dominic Sear (18) got off to a strong start. However, consistently strong bowling from Luke Sowton (2-33) and Simon Shivnarain (1-24) led to a slight collapse in the top order.

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A key batting performance from Dan Turner (33) and Toby Shepperson (29), looked to bring the game back into Cuckfields hands. However, Lindfield overseas Imesh Udayanga (4-41) partnered with Ross Pedley (2-21) managed to keep the pressure on Cuckfield taking the remaining 4 wickets between them. Overall Cuckfield reached 167 before being bowled out.

Cuckfield look to come back stronger for their game against Bexhill 1st XI away next week who are currently bottom of the Division table. Cuckfield are looking to win this game to help secure their place in the Division 3 East competition.

Lindfield Cricket Week

The bi-annual cricket match between Lindfield and the MCC started the club’s cricket week.

MCC, having won the toss, batted first and set an enticing target of 244-5 from 51.4 overs. Opener David Gent hit a controlled 131 which included 16 4s and three 6s before being caught by Toby Colvin off Tommy Nunn.

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The only other batter to make a substantial score was Joe Ludlow (59) who was bowled by Lewis Shivnarain, who along with James Pearce, Tanmay Sharma and Peter Booth helped hold the MCC to below 250.

The reply from Lindfield saw openers Andrew Stillwell (53) and Harry Moorat (51) put on 97 before Stillwell was caught.

Change bowler Alex Rackow took the wickets of Moorat, Gareth Court (4) Lewis Shivnarain (2), Tommy Nunn (21) and Toby Colvin (14) to put Lindfield on 156-6.

James Aggio-Brewe hit a storming 48 which include five 4s and two 6s before being caught. Despite the bowling of Rory Sale, Tanmay Sharma 12 Peter Booth13 and James Pearce 8 secured win with the score ending on 245-9.

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Acton visited the common for their 49th tour of Sussex. Acton batted first in this 40-overs-a-side game, scoring 229-5 from their 40 overs.

Hayden Glassey (34), Ben Birtles (100), Raven Subramoney 32 and Jonathan French 30 scored the bulk of the runs. Linfield bowlers of note were Bradley Bover, Daniel Booth and Dominic Morgan.

In reply Opener Oscar Jesperson hit 71 with eight 4s and two 6s while fellow opener Ed Newey got a duck – but Harry Moorat joined Jesperson and they put on 176.

It was left to Dominic Morgan 20 and Peter Booth 5 to secure the seven-wicket win.

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Then came the annual visit from Kenya Kongonis, which was rain interupted. Lindfield won the toss and reduced the Kongonis to 51-4.

The bowling of Steve Peace, Yashveer Yakkar, Imesh Udayanga, Daniel Booth and Harry Moorat resulted in the visitors reaching 206-8.

For Lindfield Jake Brooks with 24, Imesh Udayanga 31 and Dominic Morgan 46* could not stop them being bowled out for 135.

Cuckfield 3rd XI vs Horsted Keynes 1st XI

Cuckfield 3rd XI lost the toss and were put into bat under cloudy conditions. Horsted Keynes’ opening bowler Harvey James took advantage of the conditions with the new ball, taking the valuable wicket of Josh Downey (10).

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Stewart Fuller removed Cuckfield skipper Dave Downey for 13 soon afterwards (pulling one straight to square leg) before taking a great, sharp return catch to end Will Rogers' innings - just as he was starting to dominate - for 31. Cuckfield managed to recover from the loss of these valuable wickets, with Ellis Buckeridge scoring a magnificent 59 (his first half century for the 3rd XI) before being bowled by a clever cross-seamer from James.

Will Burch - making his first appearance of the season - played some lovely shots for a well-made 26, before being trapped LBW to become Fuller's third victim. Then the spotlight fell on to Sam Shepherd who scored a mesmerizing 111 (his third league century of the season), sharing a hundred partnership with Max Webb (30 not out), who played a great supporting role at a critical point of the innings.

This enabled Cuckfield to post an excellent total of 308 for 6 off their 40 overs. Pick of the bowlers for the visitors were Fuller (3-52) and James (2-59).

Horsted Keynes had the difficult task of taking on Cuckfield’s opening bowling attack of Chris Osborne and Josh Downey. Cuckfield started well with Osborne bowling Dave Lancaster for a duck. The visitors responded well, though, with opener Stuart Dennis making a classy 61 before being stumped by Will Burch (who kept extremely tidily despite a long lay-off) off Greg Seed’s bowling.

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As well as being in the wickets, Stewart Fuller was also in the runs - keeping his team in the fight. However, a brilliant one-handed catch at mid-wicket from Dave Downey off the bowling of Matthew Power brought the end to Fuller’s innings for 69. Danger man Harvey James looked very threatening until a brilliant steepling catch from Matthew Power at long-off, off (man of the match) Sam Shepherd’s bowling, brought the end to his innings for a typically destructive 40.

Horsted Keynes’ innings was always going to struggle after this key dismissal, and it did - losing five wickets in a short period of time due to brilliant bowling from Matthew Power who took 5-39 (his first ever 5 wicket haul). The visitors ending their innings on 267 for 9 - a valiant run chase.

The win moves Cuckfield 3rd XI up one place to 5th, with the possibility of moving up to 4th with another win next week away at Ansty.

St Peters 5th XI vs Cuckfield 4th XI

A rainy day greeted Cuckfield 4th XI at the Velodrome to play St Peters 5th XI. Soon after the toss which Cuckfield won, the game was able to start on time. A bold start by St Peters openers, Suresh Navaratnam (91) and Adrian Colley (23), mainly due to pace on bowling on a wet wicket flying the ball to all parts.

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St Peters batted well for 15 overs reaching 80 runs without loss. The change came with Seb Sheldon (4-26) bowling some great off spin and being backed up well by Ben Mitchell (0-17) and Adam Jull (2-26) with some tight bowling. Cuckfield did well to restrict the score to 212 for 8 after 40 overs.

Cuckfield in reply made a slow start only reaching 30 after 10 overs. It was only Jason Oates (42) and Joe Thorpe (38) really contributing with solid performances with the bat that supported Adam Bennett (84 not out) managed to get Cuckfield close with the final over requiring only 7 runs. Wickets were shared by Luke Rhodes Doyle (3-29), Anthony Else (2-23) and Rohit Gupta (2-44).

St Peters stuck to their task well and even in that final over managed to take 2 wickets and conceding only 4 runs meaning they won a very tight game in the last over. Cricket was the real winner!