Four wins from five as Cuckfield keep pace at the top

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A cloudy morning and a hint of green on the pitch enticed home side Cuckfield to bowl first against Roffey.

Cuckfield kept runs under control, with White bowling economically in the channel (eventually finishing with figures of 6.2-2-10-1), and Rogers beating both edges. They weren’t met with early reward, however, with openers Rivers and Davies steadily building a strong partnership.

First change seamers Patterson and Nolan continued the trend, again being rebuffed. The batting pair ran well, repeatedly jogging through to whichever of the opening bowlers happened to be at mid-on or -off. Finally, with the score on 116 off 27 overs, a fielding change brought inspiration as Cambridge flattened middle stump from within the ring, to run out Davies for 48.

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The new pair began to rebuild, but when number three Whelpton was trapped in front by left-arm spinner Goss with the first ball after drinks, Cuckfield seized control. The last nine wickets fell for 73 runs, as Roffey were bowled out in the last over for 218.

Cuckfield cricketers are flying high!Cuckfield cricketers are flying high!
Cuckfield cricketers are flying high!

Candfield was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with an impressive 4-41 off his allocation. Rivers was the stand out with the bat, plundering 81 before being stumped down the legside with a smart piece of work by keeper Gayler.

Cambridge and Sear began the response for Cuckfield, the latter being called up to replace unavailable overseas Marshall, and in good form following a knock of 106* for the 2nd XI the previous week.

With the required run rate not being of significant issue, the pair took their time to see off openers Munt and Kalsi. The introduction of Atkins brought about the dismissal of Cambridge for a watchful 14, finding mid-off when looking to accelerate. Nolan and Sear then rebuilt slowly but surely, taking Cuckfield towards the target with a partnership of 93.

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Sear took singles, twos and the odd boundary to reach a long-overdue 1st XI half-century, while Nolan delivered the shot of the day with a lofted cover drive for half a dozen into the carpark. Both eventually fell for 55 and 45 respectively, leaving Cuckfield’s middle order to finish off the chase. Gayler and Graham departed as the required rate touched 6, but Turner kept his head for an extremely well made 50* - his first in the Premier League.

This included a monster six over the long boundary into the field, which he (and the rest of the team) has enjoyed re-watching no end. With three to win, Candfield was deceived by a canny piece of bowling by the left-armer Phelps, finding long-on having not quite read the flight. New man Rogers was the last man required, however, as Turner hit the winning runs over the keeper’s head to seal a well-deserved four-wicket victory. Cuckfield host Middleton next week, as the format changes to the longer red ball.

Cuckfield 2nd XI Vs Portslade 1st XI

Portslade won the toss and elected to bat.

Theo Barker (3-45) struck with an early breakthrough, when opening bat Owen Per hit one straight up to Josh Downey. The Portslade innings began steadily from there. Theo Barker and Sam Candfield bowled well up top.

Candfield going for a mere 24 off his 9 overs, and Barker picking up 3 wickets. Portslade were 80-5. However, Nathan Lettres’ impressive batting, 52(29), revived the Portslade innings to 159-6, until Matt Slinger (4-60) struck a breakthrough.

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The Portslade batsmen kept ticking the scoreboard over. Their scorecard this week reflecting one of equal team contributions.

Batting at 9 and 10, Adam Nash 41(42) and Tom Lettres 17(25) helped Portslade finish their batting innings strongly and post a competitive total of 241 all out. Cuckfield sharing the bowling around through the middle in an attempt to catch the tail.

Cuckfield’s chase started well with Gregory Wisdom and Richard Amer opening. However this was not long lived enough, as Cuckfield were soon 79-4.

Despite this, Chris Taylor at 4 entered back into the side with ease, taking some ownership and anchoring the innings, 64(84). After attempts from the Cuckfield top order, resistance came in the form of Captain Galbraith-Gibbons, 39 (46), who batted nicely with Taylor.

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This week's standout was a gallant effort from Sam Candfield 56(46), who played a clinical innings at No.7. First with Galbraith-Gibbons and then with Barker who hit a handy 12(10).

Cuckfield ended up falling short by just 5 runs in the last over.

However still securing 15 points which very well may prove to be vital later in the season.

Cuckfield 3rd XI Vs Ifield 2nd XI

Cuckfield travelled to league leaders Ifield to play at Ifield Green. Cuckfield won the toss and elected to field on a greenish wicket which looked like it would improve through the afternoon.

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If Ifield’s innings was a play it would have been in two acts with the 28th over being the intermission. Cuckfield was very much on top for the first act with Christopher Osborne taking the wicket of Joshua Medley (5) from a signature gully catch by Caleb Hawkins in his second over. Bowling in tandem with Jack Best the pair limited Ifield to 29 runs off the first nine overs.

The pressure was then maintained when 15 year old Jo Thorpe joined the attack, taking the wicket of Jack Biden (9) in his first over. Osborne completed his spell with the score on just 49 with figures of 8 overs, 2 maidens, one for 21. Ayan Chakravartty then entered stage left taking the wickets of Vineet Vaish (17), Shabaz Kahn (17) and Harry Chaudhary (1) leaving him with fine figures of 8 overs, 2 maidens, 4 for 40.

By the end of the 28th over Ifield were only 104 for 5 with Cuckfield firmly in control. The game was then changed by Kulbir Gill who hit a masterful 77 before being stumped by Adam Bennet off the bowling of Will Ward. His destructive innings, which included 7 sixes, transformed the run rate from 3.7 per over to 10.9 per over in the last 12 overs.

Will Ward then wrapped up the innings taking the last 4 wickets but by then the damage had been done, leaving Ifield on 235 all out. Overall this was possibly a par score for the conditions but far more than looked likely before Gill’s innings.

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In reply, Ifield’s opening bowlers followed Cuckfield’s example with two excellent spells from Sudess Ali and Vish Patel who quickly removed Cuckfield’s openers, David Downey (0) and Hugo Tanous (2). Caleb Hawkins and Ayan Chakravartty then combined to almost see off the opening spell before Hawkins was bowled by Patel in the 14th over for a battling 15. Bowling unchanged the pair ended with figures of 8 overs, four maidens 1 for 22 for Ali and 8 overs, 1 maiden 2 for 23 for Patel.

Iain Pringle and Chakravartty then started the fight back taking the total to 115 before Chakravartty was bowled by Gill in the 28th over for 37. Cuckfield then lost wickets regularly as they continued to chase but with no other batsman reaching double figures Pringle was left high and dry on 67 not out with the innings ending at 170 all out in the thirty-sixth over.

Overall a game that wasn't as tight as it might have been, transformed by man-of-the-match Kilbir Gill who’s clean hitting made the difference between the two sides in the end.

Two wins and three losses still leaves us in mid-table, however, ahead of a home game against Bolney next week.

Cuckfield 4th XI Vs Keynes and Hassocks 2nd XI

4th XI v Keynes and Hassocks

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Cuckfield lost the toss and were put into bat on a slightly chilly, but pleasant afternoon on the North field at Cuckfield.

A fast paced opening partnership of 8870 by Buckeridge (114) and Ward (35) saw off the opening bowlers. Mole (11) ably supported Buckeridge with a partnership of 81. He was replaced by Sears (60) who batted with conviction to speed up a slowing run rate.

Buckeridge was finally dismissed after a masterful innings that even saw a reverse sweep dusted off from his locker. Taites E (10) closed out the innings with an exciting display of nicely timed shots and Cuckfield finished on 263. Keynes and Hassocks were very strong in the field with many of their younger players fielding particularly well.

Jull (9 overs, 2 maidens, 26 runs and 3 wickets) and Sheldon (8 overs, 2 maidens, 34 runs and 3 wickets) opened the bowling. Kuriakose took the first wicket off Jull with an outstanding catch. Next it was the turn of Mole with another outstanding catch off Jull. Jull displaying a wide range of flight and pace to keep the batsman guessing.

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Sheldon taking a wicket LBW meant that Keynes and Hassocks were 44-3. After some impressive juggling in the slip cordon saw the ball dropped, Jull took it upon himself to take the next wicket. Buckeridge at Wicket Keeper took a fantastic stumping off of the faster of Sears’ (6 overs, 1 maiden, 25 runs and 1 wicket) balls, who also showed a vast range of flight and pace.

Baker (7 over, 0 maidens, 32 runs and 0 tickets) supported well, but unfortunately saw no wickets for his efforts. Kuriakose (2 overs, 0 maidens, 21 runs and 1 wicket) enticed the next wicket with plenty of cunning. Not wishing to be left out; Mole (4.2 overs, 0 maidens, 20 runs and 1 wicket) bowled the next wicket, before father and son Taites R (2 overs, 1 maiden, 5 runs and 1 wicket) put one through for Buckeridge to catch and Taites E (1 over, 0 maiden, 9 runs and 1 wicket) took his first Adult wicket.

Finally Kuriakose ran out the last wicket and saw Keynes and Hassocks lose by 79 runs; all out for 184. Cuckfield were also athletic in the field with a fine all round and overall performance.

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