Middleton enjoy perfect premier start

Middleton's class of 2017 / Picture by Kate ShemiltMiddleton's class of 2017 / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Middleton's class of 2017 / Picture by Kate Shemilt

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Middleton and Pagham enjoyed wins as the Sussex Cricket League got into full swing - but Bognor lost a close game.

Read the latest reports from our local teams below and get all the cricket action in the Observer, out on Thursday.

Middleton v Bexhill

Sussex Premier League

Newly-promoted Middleton had a perfect 30-point win to start the season when they entertained Bexhill at Sea Lane.

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Sean Heather, the Middleton captain, won the toss and elected to bat and Middleton opened with a new pairing of Angus Robson and newly-arrived South African Gerhardt Abrahams.

Bexhill struck early with Robson bowled by a top-class delivery with the score on just four. Heather joined Abrahams and shared a partnership of 66 before Abrahams was adjudged lbw for 42 off just 34 balls.

Patrick Colvin put on 45 with Heather before being the fourth man to fall at 119. Jamie Thompson and Heather added 89 for the fifth wicket before Heather dragged a ball back onto his stumps for 81.

Thompson was ninth wicket to fall for 53, and Middleton’s innings ended in the final of their allotted 50 overs with their score on 249.

Pick of the Bexhill bowlers was Shawn Johnson (3-30).

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There was belief at the interval among the Bexhill players that the fast outfield made the total achievable.

Their innings, however, got off to a bad start with Tommy Davies rearranging opener Lewis’s stumps in the opening over – just the start Middleton wanted. Davies struck again in his third over this time bowling the talented Johnson.

Bexhill started to lose regular wickets and the introduction of Heather into the bowling attack proved hugely important, and he ended with four for 20 off eight overs.

Craig Fowle took the last wicket to fall in the 42nd over with the Bexhill innings finishing on 165. Fowle ended with 3-32.

Bognor v Billingshurst

Sussex League division two

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Bognor began their season with a narrow defeat at the hands of Billingshurst.

Bowling first, the home side faced a flurry of boundaries from the Billingshurst openers, but three wickets for Sam Adams pegged back the run rate, leaving Mike Burroughs (32) and Ed Verrall to rebuild.

Despite Verrall’s 65, regular wickets for Bognor meant the Billingshurst innings never really kicked on, and they were eventually bowled out for 202, Joe Ashmore the pick with 4-28.

In reply, Bognor stuttered, losing early wickets to the very aggressive Andy Barr, who was clearly aggrieved at something throughout the second innings.

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Mike Harris and Elliott Clarke rebuilt the innings, and although they lost wickets at intervals, Bognor remained in the hunt. Harris upped the scoring rate, much to the disdain of the petulant Barr, aided by Josh Seward, who hit an excellent 30.

However the quick wickets of Harris (77) and Seward to Tom Haynes meant Bognor faltered at the death, losing by five runs. But it was still a positive start to the season.

Brighton & Hove 2nds v Pagham

Sussex League division three

On the opening day of the new season, Pagham travelled to Brighton and lost the toss. Brighton chose to field first on what proved early on to be a poor batting wicket, with dust coming up from ball one.

Pagham applied themselves well with Aiden Zammit (27) and Staurt Rutter (16) putting on 30 in five overs but the wickets started to fall regularly.

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A cultured knock of 92 from Joe De La Fuente ensured the scoreboard kept ticking. With a belligerent 39 from Billy Turner-Hogg, Pagham were eventually all out for a more-than-respectable 239.

The pick of the Brighton bowlers was captain Fergus Guppy (4-39).

With the wicket taking spin Pagham soon turned to Wayne Green, which proved a good decision as he picked up three for 12 in nine overs. At 63 for five Brighton were in danger of getting less than 100 but 43 from Abhjeet Khilare and 30 not out from Kurt John saw them get to 121 before the spin of Sean Rutter resulted in another batting collapse with the last five wickets falling for 37.

Sean Rutter finished with four for 28 from nine overs and Pagham collected the maximum 30 points.

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