Cuckfield's survival chances take a huge hit after Hastings loss

With a promising weather forecast, Cuckfield CC hosted Hastings & St Leonards Priory CC in a must-win game at the bottom of the Premier Division.

Ollie Graham hit 41 for Cuckfield CC in their game against Hastings & St Leonards Priory CC. Picture by Steve Robards
Ollie Graham hit 41 for Cuckfield CC in their game against Hastings & St Leonards Priory CC. Picture by Steve Robards

The pitch looked great and with a fast-paced outfield, Cuckfield captain Ben Candfield and Hastings skipper Tom Gillespie strode to the middle for the toss.

True to form, Cuckfield lost the toss again and were asked to have a bat.

Joe Ludlow (two) and Joe Cambridge (33) were looking to set the platform for Cuckfield but Adam Barton (2-48) had other ideas, removing Ludlow in the second over.

Nipun Karunanayake (25) and Cambridge started to rebuild, taking the score to 64 before Cambridge was bowled trying to slog-sweep Dilshan De Zoysa (4-40).

Every time a partnership started to form, Hastings managed to strike with Karunanayake, Harry Clark (16) and Candfield (four) all falling in quick succession to leave Cuckfield struggling at 105-5.

Ex-Sussex professional, Jimmy Anyon (45), joined Ollie Graham (41) and manipulated the ball around, reaching 161 before Graham found mid-off with a lofted drive off the bowling of Adam Page (1-33).

Important runs from Connor Bettsworth (19) and Josh Hayward (15) took Cuckfield to 239-9 off of the 50 overs.

It was a slightly below par score given the batting surface but a good recovery after early wickets.

Cuckfield opening bowlers, Will Rogers (3-47) and Anyon (3-52) knew that early wickets would put Cuckfield in a commanding position and they duly delivered removing Harvey Faulkner (six), Jake Woolley (duck), De Zoysa (12) and Harry Scowen (duck) to leave Hastings reeling at 40-4.

Karunanayake (1-25) quickly dismissed Dylan Woolley (20) to reduce the visitors to 44-5 in the 13th over.

However, Gillespie (70) and Will Hutchings (65) dug in to try to drag Hastings into a position where they could chase down the total.

By the time Cuckfield took the sixth wicket in the 45th over, the score had reached 193 and the game was finally balanced.

Unfortunately for Cuckfield, they were unable to see the innings out, with John Morgan striking 37 not out off of 20 balls to take Hastings to victory with five balls to spare.

Cuckfield are left ruing the missed opportunities to claim victory and now have to win against champions Preston Nomads CC next Saturday and hope other results fall their way to stay in the Premier Division.

CUCKFIELD CC 2ND XI

Cuckfield CC 2nd XI lost the toss and were put in the field by Crawley CC in Division 4 West, on a suspicious wicket where runs were going to be hard to come by.

Sam Candfield (2-29) and Joe White (4-23) applied early pressure and White was rewarded for an excellent opening spell, picking up the first three Crawley wickets.

The introduction of Will Galbraith-Gibbons (1-21) and Henry Rogers (1-7 off six overs) continued to apply the pressure on Crawley.

However, a minor stand between Shahbaz Haroon (17) and Abdul Khan (28) offered some hope of a Crawley resurgence.

However, Rogers and Greg Wisdom (1-20) removed the Crawley pair and only a late innings stand between Zohaib Kashif (20) and Inzamam Ul Haq (19*) enabled Crawley to post 150.

Cuckfield were confident going into the second half of the match but lost the early wicket of Will Rossiter (one), before Wisdom (54) and Dom Sear (56) showed that with application and positive intent, runs could be scored.

A slight wobble followed, as Abdul Khan (3-36) removed both Wisdom and Sear, but Rogers (nine*) and Chris Taylor (none*) comfortably saw the game home for Cuckfield with 13.2 overs to spare.

A convincing win for Cuckfield who solidify their fourth-place standing and face East Preston CC next week in the last match of the season.

CUCKFIELD CC 3RD XI

With the end of the season in sight, Cuckfield CC 3rd XI travelled to Hammerwood Cricket Club to take on East Grinstead CC 3rd XI in Division 7 Central.

Once again looking to avenge a disappointing loss from earlier in the season, stand-in captain, Jack Best, won the toss and chose to bat.

The wicket was green and promised to do a bit for the bowlers but Best was confident that, on a very small ground, his batting line up could produce a good total.

The returning Jason Oates was paired with Sammy Hart to open the innings. After a few loose overs to start the innings, Avinash Ashok (1-39) and Kristian Hunt (1-23) found some good areas and started to apply pressure to the Cuckfield batsmen.

Oates was disappointed to fall to a full toss for six. In-form Dom Seed joined Hart at the crease and the young pair batted watchfully.

Runs started to dry up and scoreboard pressure started to build. This came to a head as Hart was caught trying to up the rate for 13 off of Hunt.

This brought Best to the crease with EG looking to capitalise on some good overs. Some loose shots and questionable running kept East Grinstead interested, but Seed and Best worked well to keep the score board ticking.

Seed fell to Nathan Austen (2-20) the over before drinks for a well-made 34 and was swiftly followed by Best for 30 to Rohan Patel (1-30).

Tom Wright replaced Seed and Piers Harrison came in for Best and looked to build on a solid foundation.

With two new bats at the crease, East Grinstead were aggressive and were rewarded with the wicked of Wright for two after a vicious yorker from Simon Faulkner (3-25).

Wickets fell at regular intervals, but Harrison remained constant. Waiting for his chance to utilise the short, straight boundaries, the veteran fashioned a chanceless 43 to help guide Cuckfield to 209.

A solid batting performance on a wicket that offered plenty of encouragement for both seam and spin meant that Cuckfield’s tails were up as they came out to bowl.

Eager to get on top and stay there, the proven partnership of Rodney Candfield (3-14) and Josh Downey (0-18) opened the bowling.

In a surprise to absolutely nobody, the pair bowled as they have all season. The swing and control from both proving far too good for the East Grinstead top order.

Candfield picked up three wickets and Downey continued to defy all reason to finish wicketless - despite beating the bat on innumerable occasions.

To add to both East Grinstead and Downey’s woes, Greg Seed (3-16) replaced the young seamer up the hill and removed the dangerous Hunt (11) with a rank long hop, with major thanks to a one-handed grab from Theo Barker.

Barker (3-11) replaced Candfield from the top, after the amaranthine seamer removed East Grinstead captain, James Adkin, for three.

The rest of the East Grinstead line up offered little resistance as Seed and Barker tore through them to end their innings on 61.

A dominant performance from Cuckfield 3rd XI as they look to steal third place away from Hurstpierpoint CC who they play next week.

CUCKFIELD CC 4TH XI

With stand-in skipper James Buckeridge in charge, Cuckfield CC 4th XI actually won the toss and against Division 11 Central (North) champions-elect Haywards Heath CC 3rd XI, who bowled Cuckfield out in the reverse fixture for 56 he chose to bat on what looked like a good batting track.

The opening partnership of James Buckeridge (65) and Bertie Sheldon (71) started steadily and, with the bowlers struggling to hit the right spots on what was proving to be a good batting track, pushed the run rate and got through to drinks at 20 overs with the score a healthy 119 without loss.

The opening bowlers of Anuk Perera (0-32) and Ben Pearson (0-17) had good control. The bowling changes – Matthew Patterson (0-58), Johnny Rutherford (0-31), Ben Morris (1-59), skipper Dipak Karki (1-43) and Charlie Mifsud (0-20) was where the run rate was increased.

Shortly after the mid-innings drinks break, Buckeridge pulled his hamstring taking a quick single and had to retire on 65.

This brought Richard Loveridge to the crease who hit a quick fire 30 pushing the run rate before failing to hit a straight one and was lbw to Karki.

Into the last dozen overs, Ellis Buckeridge (31) continued to push the score alongside Sheldon. With Sheldon then run out, Shepherd (37*) and Ellis Buckeridge kept the runs flowing before Buckeridge was caught by David Woodfield off of Morris.

This brought youngster Oliver Barnaby-Hay (two*) on his debut to the crease and he and Shepherd pushed the final score to 265 from the 40 overs.

Haywards Heath started the run chase scoring at around four runs per over, but the opening bowlers of Shepherd (2-44) and Sheldon (2-40) took a wicket each leaving Haywards Heath on 45-2 after the first 10 and Cuckfield appeared to have the game under control.

Haywards Heath – not the champions elect for no reason - had other ideas and a partnership between Rutherford (76) and Karki with a fantastic knock of 112 kept Heath on track to chase down the big total.

A couple of late wickets saw Heath still requiring 30 runs from the last six overs and with the Cuckfield fielders looking to protect boundaries, the calm heads of Ben Morris (17*) and Greg Dagger (10*) saw Heath over the line in the 39th over.

With Cuckfield fielding five academy players, this was a fantastic performance all round, pushing a very good Haywards Heath side all the way.