Sussex Cricket League: Champs can’t end with win – Horsham win on last day – Middleton can celebrate

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The Sussex Cricket League’s 2023 season has finished – some were celebrating, some were not. Here are the final league reports from Cuckfield, Horsham, Roffey, Findon, Goring, Middleton, Bognor, Aldwick, West Wittering, Southwick and others.

Cuckfield v Horsham

Sussex Premier

Despite some midweek rain, the pitch at Cuckfield looked a good one to bat on but unfortunately for the home side, the toss was won by Horsham who opted to bat first. Despite Joe White (1-60) and Will Galbraith-Gibbons (3-42) getting the ball to talk in the first ten overs, Horsham’s openers, Bertie Foreman (83) and Joe Willis (31) saw out the new ball effectively leaving the visitors 93-0.

Cuckfield CC's Sussex Premier League champions | Picture courtesy of Cuckfield CCCuckfield CC's Sussex Premier League champions | Picture courtesy of Cuckfield CC
Cuckfield CC's Sussex Premier League champions | Picture courtesy of Cuckfield CC

Cuckfield turned to spin to make the breakthrough thanks to Will Goss (2-36) bowling Willis. Following this, Oscar Jago-Lewis (1-31) took his first Premier League wicket, dismissing Ollie Haines (4). Jago-Lewis and Ben Candfield’s (2-27) bowling partnership kept Horsham quiet in the middle overs which lead to another Goss breakthrough dismissing Charlie Tear (29).

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Despite a few drop catches Candfield took two wickets in three balls leaving Horsham reeling at 165-5. Some impetus was added by Horsham skipper Nick Oxley (34) before Galbraith-Gibbons and White returned to clean up the tail leaving Horsham 217 all out.

Joe Cambridge (4) and Brad Gayler (29) opened for Cuckfield, however some tight bowling from Ollie Haines (4-40) saw the removal of Cambridge and Alex Thornhill (1). Gayler’s positive batting was effective against the new ball and he found an ally in Ollie Graham (26) moving the score to 43 before Gayler succumbed to Ben Williams (1-33). With Oscar Jago-Lewis (6) unable to repeat his heroics of the previous week, the chase was left to Graham and Aidan Drew (56).

Action from the Findon v Ifield title decider in Division 3 West - which went Ifield's way | Picture: Stephen GoodgerAction from the Findon v Ifield title decider in Division 3 West - which went Ifield's way | Picture: Stephen Goodger
Action from the Findon v Ifield title decider in Division 3 West - which went Ifield's way | Picture: Stephen Goodger

Building a platform to set up the chase, Graham and Drew stroked the ball around and picking up vital runs. Bertie Foreman (1-42) removed Graham to leave the hosts up with the scoring rate at 113-5. Ben Candfield (18) scored at a run a ball but his dismissal, promptly followed by that of Will Goss (1) put Horsham firmly in control.

However, a maiden Premier League fifty for Drew, ably supported by Will Galbraith-Gibbons (12) and Joe White (13 not out) saw Cuckfield moving closer to their target. Will Beer (2-32) removed Drew and with the reintroduction of Haines, Cuckfield came up 19 runs short despite having nearly 10 overs still left to bat.

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Not the result that Cuckfield wanted to end the season on but being crowned champions the week before, the celebrations began throughout the club. A fantastic season for Cuckfield 1st XI, winning 11 of their 15 games played and making club history by winning the Sussex County Premier League for the first time.

Pictured above are Cuckfield’s title-winning squad: Back row (left to right) – Nick Patterson, Alex Thornhill, Ben Candfield, Joe White, Joe Cambridge, Dan Turner, Will Goss, Ollie Graham, Greg Wisdom

Front row (left to right) – Aidan Drew, Brad Gayler, David Reid (Chairman and Scorer), Josh Hayward (Captain), Geoffrey Longfield (President), Oscar Jago-Lewis, Will Galbraith-Gibbons. Not pictured – Wes Marshall, Henry Rogers, Jimmy Anyon, Harry Streak.

The Sussex Premier League cricket season ended on Saturday, with champions Cuckfield losing to visiting Horsham and Roffey losing their season’s final game in a thriller against Bognor, writes Martin Read.

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Eastbourne and Mayfield have been relegated from the premier, while Worthing and Hastings are promoted back into the top flight from Division 2.

Preston Nomads, beat Three Bridges to finished as runners up on 364 points – 43 behind Cuckfield – with East Grinstead, whose game against Mayfield was abandoned, third on 344.

Horsham ended fifth, with Roffey seventh after last ditch defeat at home to Bognor.

With a strong-looking squad, Horsham made a good early showing in the campaign, but faded after the halfway point, availability once again being a problem.

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But they finished with a flourish after electing to bat at Cuckfield, where Joe Willis (31), and Bertie Foreman put on 93 for the first wicket.

When Foreman was out for 83 at 165-4 a big score beckoned, with Charlie Tear and skipper Nick Oxley contributing.

But regular wickets fell, Horsham finishing a disappointing 217 all out, Will Galbraith-Gibbons taking 3-42.

Replying, Cuckfield were soon 43-3, but recovered to 113-4 only to lose further wickets despite a determined 56 from Aidan Drew.

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Ollie Haines returned to knock over the tail, grabbing 4-40, and Will Beer taking 2-32 for Horsham to win by 19 runs with nine overs unused.

At Roffey the hosts chose to bat, but were 2-2 until Theo Rivers and Captain Matt Davies (33) put on a century stand.

Jonny Phelps made 37, keeper Sajeer Nizam 38, and when Rivers was out for 72, Sam Henderson entertained with a swashbuckling unbeaten 50 for Roffey to notch up a challenging 263, despite Josh Sargeant’s six-wicket haul.

At the halfway stage, Bognor were 100-2, and with 10 overs to go they needed a further 66 with five wickets left.

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Roffey were catching well, and a spectacular direct hit run out by Shams Suddahazai reduced the equation to 40 required from the last five overs with seven down.

But, Scott Bingham and Jamie Woolnough’s 20s got Bognor over the line from the last available ball after Mike Harris’ 57, Will Fenwick and Davies each taking two wickets.

Bognor skipper Ryan Maskell told the County Times: “That was a great game to round off the season – there was nothing at stake so we just went for it!”

Without key players from 2022, then with the skipper injured and overseas signing Nick Greenwood having to return home for family reasons, it’s been a difficult season for Roffey.

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But, after a poor start, they lost just once in 11 games before the Bognor encounter.

Davies said: “We’ve been able to blood new young players, and we’ll be reviewing our performances to assess how we need to strengthen. our squad for next season.”

Glynde and Beddingham 1st XI v Cuckfield 2nd XI

Cuckfield arrived at Glynde knowing that four points would guarantee them Division 3 cricket next year. After winning the toss and opting to bowl, Cuckfield started well with Sam Candfield (4-28) and Will Rogers (1-12) sharing three wickets in the power-play. The wicket of Charlie Hobden (13) sparked celebrations from the Cuckfield players as safety was guaranteed and Cuckfield were not reliant upon other results.

This good start was continued by Nick Patterson (4-14) and Greg Wisdom (1-41) as wickets continued to fall despite some counter-attacking batting from Matthew Cramp (27) and Michael Brooks (25 not out). Patterson’s dismissal of Louis Barron (15) saw Glynde bowled out for 121 in just 32.4 overs.

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Cuckfield began the chase positively reaching 36 for no loss before Ben Wilsdon (8) chipped Louis Barron (1-20) to Robert Mouland at mid-off. George Galbraith-Gibbons (28) fell shortly after, being bowled by Charlie Hobden (1-19), offering Glynde a glimmer of hope. However, Dan Turner (57) ended any chance of victory smashing eight fours and two sixes before charging past an Ollie Bailey (1-22) leg spinner to be stumpted.

However, Cuckfield eased home with nearly 20 overs to spare and 7 wickets in hand. An impressive performance to end a satisfying season for the Cuckfield players who will look to build on the experiences gained this year and push for promotion next season.

Forest Row 1st XI vs Cuckfield 3rd XI

Cuckfield 3rd XI travelled to Forest Row for the final game of the league season, needing a win to give themselves the chance of a top four finish. The home side elected to bat first and were soon in trouble against Cuckfield's opening attack, with Bertie Sheldon (3-18) and Chris Osborne (3-18) tearing through the top order thanks to some wonderful bowling and some questionable shot selection.

Forest Row found themselves 34-6, despite an aggressive innings by Andrew Thilagarajan (26) which was ended by a great, steepling catch at mid-on by Matt Power. This soon became 34 for 7 after a terrible mix up led to Adam Gilmour being run out. Despite some brief resistance from Samuel McCarthy (28), aided by 2 dropped catches in 2 balls, Matthew Power (2-29) and Josh Downey (1-1) took the remaining wickets to leave Forest Row all out for just 75.

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In reply, Cuckfield openers Josh Downey and Billy Harris attacked from the very first ball with Downey walking down the wicket and powerfully hitting a six over wide long-off. Harris was not to be overshadowed, however, playing just as aggressive and impressive shots with the best being a lofted drive over extra cover for six.

With boundaries coming almost at will, the target was reached in just the 6th over without loss, Downey finishing on 24 not out (off 15 balls) and Harris on 49 (off just 20 balls), to seal a very early and convincing 10 wicket victory.

With Ifield, one place above Cuckfield at the start of the day, subsequently losing their final game, this meant a fourth place finish in Division 7 Central for the 3rd XI. This was a great achievement for a side that included many under 18s for the majority of the season and leaves the Club in a strong position to seriously challenge for promotion to Division 6 next year.

Cuckfield 4th XI vs Newhaven 2nd XI

A bright and warm day, combined with a beautifully prepared wicket, and the sweet waft of an impending hog roast and club awards, set the scene for the final game of the season for Cuckfield 4th XI versus bottom of the table Newhaven 2nd XI. Having lost the toss, Skipper Adam Jull was asked to bat, which, given the strength of the Cuckfield side, suggested they were likely to be the last to the get their Pork baps.

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Skipper Jull asked the ever-dependable Iain Pringle (13) and Julian Ward (24) to open, and they promptly kicked things off with 9 off the first over. The run rate continued, with Rob Willsdon (58) taking over from Pringle, and getting to work on some short bowling from Newhaven, with some sublime drives, and big sixes before falling to Will Lovell (1-56).

Ward also batted well, but was ultimately bowled by an absolute beauty of an inswinger from Connor Read (2-24), which also nipped in off the seam and took the bails off the middle stump. Caleb Hawkins then arrived at the crease as the Newhaven bowling attack started to tighten their line and find some accuracy, being bowled for 13 (which would have been 17 had his own skipper not managed to stop a boundary bound leg glance while umpiring at square leg).

With the score at 122-3 off 18 overs Sam Shepherd (68) and Mat Sears (62) steadied the middle order, facing a variety of rockets, and big turners, and put on a 131 run partnership off 130 balls. Both falling to Andrew French (3-65) as the inevitable bigger hits came out in the closing overs. Cuckfield finished with an impressive 276-7 off their 40 overs.

Once tea had been consumed, Cuckfield 4th XI regrouped in a sweaty huddle, pulling together as skipper Jull unleashed an inspired, and spine tingling speech, calling on all players to “go on and give it their best”, which they very well did. Jamie Tuddenham (1-31) and leggy Ben Mitchell (2-52) opened up with some heroic bowling, keeping it to only 3 an over, and removing Newhaven’s top 3 before the 10th over was bowled.

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This didn't last, however. Enter Newhaven’s Daniel Netting (79) and Will Lovell (31) who started accumulating after their openers’ slow start, directing punches and off drives at Iain Pringle and Adam Jull, who were kept incredibly busy in the covers, as was Mitchell at fine leg. Archie Nicholas (2-19), Seb Sheldon (0-28) and Sam Shepherd (0-19) then rotated in the attack, with the young Nicholas bowling some very impressive seamers at a decent pace.

Things were beginning to slow down again though, as Newhaven dropped anchor for no real reason, but the introduction of Mat Sears (4-8) to the party with an almost endless bag of variety balls, including Caleb Hawkins’ extraordinary “juggle-7-times-before grasping-it” catch at deep square leg, ensured Cuckfield 4th XI got the season finished in great style – comfortably winning by 101 runs.

Joy for Goring CC – agony for Findon CC.The final day of the Sussex Cricket League season could not have been more different for the two promotion and title chasers.

In Division 3 West, Goring hosted Ifield in a title decider and it went Ifield’s way. meaning they win automatic promotion to Division 2 for 2024.

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Findon’s loss – coupled with a last-day win for Steyning – means they miss out on the play-off spot. Steyning will play the Division 3 East runners-up for a place in next season’s second tier.

Findon were put in and limped to 36-5 before Matt Glover (25) and Jabe Rogers (24) led a recovery, the innings closing on 131-9 thanks to a late 20 not out by Drew Hammersley.

Ifield got home by five wickets to the win the game, the league and promotion. Archie Cairns took 3-45.

But Goring are Division 4 West winners and will be in 3 West in 2024.

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They clinched it with an eight-wicket win at home to Crawley. Sonu Jacob took 5-13 as the visitors were all ovt for 173 and 61 from Alex Maynard helped the hosts home by eight wickets.

Selsey v Goring

Division 8 West

Selsey knew eight points would seal the title, but losing the toss and being inserted on a wet pitch was not going to be easy.

Tim Fewster and Tom Cripps set about getting to 150 for the points required. Fewster (47) shone after seeing off the opening bowlers.

But at 71-0 the Goring spinner came on and turned the game in their favour, having Cripps bowled for 24, followed by another wicket.

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Fewster and Nick Horner (23) started the rebuild until a flurry of wickets saw the score dip to 125-8 leaving it to father and son Pete and George Horner to get them to 150.

The crowning moment came when 13-year-old Horner’s cover drive took the score past 150 to clinch the title.

After Selsey totalled 183-8, Goring batted well despite a spell of 3-23 from Cripps and George Horner having four catches put down before he got the wicket he deserved.

Selsey spinners Gibbons and Anderson almost made a game of it but Goring got home by three wickets.

Arundel 2nd v West Wittering 2nd

Division 8 West

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West Wittering’s last game started with a hint of promotion still in the air.

The hosts decided to bat first with only nine West Wittering players having arrived and Gareth Swales and Charlie Forster made hay in the sun.

Wickets did start to fall but excellent batting with periods of great bowling meant the innings ended on 212-8. Pick of the bowlers were Kev Allsobrook 4-22 and Jack Harte 2-48.

West Wittering never got up with the run rate. Joe Sissons top scored with a excellent 38, with Rohit Chauhan 18 and Kaelan Baker 14 the only others to make double figures as they were all out for 125.

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West Wittering were top of the league for the first half of the season but with selection issues and poor availability, they ended fourth.

But this is an excellent achievement as this was the first time at this level for the team, but they were disappointed they did not stay top.

Highlights of the season included evergreen skipper Allsobrook in his 45th senior league cricket season taking 43 wickets at a cost of 7.67 each, ending up top wicket taker in the league.

Top of the run charts was Steve Day with 264 at an average of 37.71 with three half centuries.

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Overall 52 different players played amid a great atmosphere. Contributions from Rohit Chauhan, Mark Taylor, Jack Rowland-Harte, Trent O'Connor and Paul Owen made them superstars to the skipper.

Middleton CC

A brilliant end to the season for Middleton saw both the 2nd and 3rd XIs promoted.

The 2nds had secured promotion before last weekend but still having a shot at winning the league, they stumbled at the last hurdle to a strong Worthing Chipps team on a wet wicket at the Rotary ground.

Losing the toss was a bad start and thngs didn’t really get better from there as a steady flow of wickets meant Middleton were 107 all out.

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The home side seemed much happier to grind the runs out, eventually secuiring the win in the 27th over for loss of just four wickets.

It doesn’t taint what has been a superb season for the 2nd XI,and special mention must go to Nick Gibb whose 790 runs and 27 wickets has made a massive difference.

Middleton’s 3rd XI concluded with a fine run of four wins and one abandoned game from their last five games to win the league by just five points.The season has seen a good mixture of 14 and 15-year-olds and some seasoned players happy to drop down and find the more relaxed atmosphere of threes cricket has a lot of positives, but still with that competitive will to win.

The final weekend saw them bowl out Eagles for 54 with Ravi taking three wickets and Chris Spedding taking four for the second week running. The runs were comfortably chased with Ozzy Rishman scoring 36 not out.The threes and twos still have September 24’s T20 finals at Hove to look forward to.

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Back at Middleton the 1st XI ended the season with a thrilling seven-wicket victory against Eastbourne. The visitors batted first and amassed 280-8, with Malcolm Johnson top scoring with 81.

Middleton lost two quick wickets in their reply but a superb partnership of 225 between Mason Robinson (123 from 100 balls) and James Barker (100 from 155 balls) saw the home side chase the runs down in the final over of the season.

For both it was their first Premier League centuries, a fitting end for the team who end up a comfortable fourth in the table, a great achievement from a young side that had a number of changes from previous years.

Roffey v Bognor

Sussex Premier

Bognor pulled off a remarkable run chase in their final game of the season at Roffey.

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Bowling first on a sweltering day, two early wickets reduced Roffey for 2-2, before Theo Rivers (72) and Matt Davies (33) rebuilt. Davies holed out to a good running catch by Mike Harris off the excellent Jamie Woolnough (1-35).

Roffey continued to attack as Jonny Phelps (37), Sajeer Nizam (38) and Sam Henderson (54*) all scored at faster than a run a ball.

However, Bognor picked up regular wickets thanks to some good outfield catching, and Josh Sargeant was the excellent at the death, taking his maiden Premier League five-wicket haul and finishing with figures of 6-50. Roffey's 263 all out felt a little over the par score.

Bognor started well in response, and despite the wicket of Tom Woolnough, the stage was set by Lachie Walsh (39) and Harris (57). Walsh's innings confirmed him as the leading run scorer in the Premier League for 2023, a brilliant achievement.

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Harris was an excellent foil, and although both departed alongside Ryan Maskell, Bognor had belief at the halfway stage.

What followed was extraordinary, as Taylor Jaycocks (43) and Ben Woolnough embarked on a six-hitting competition, complete with TikTok-inspired dancing for every maximum struck.

An increasingly irate Roffey side ramped up the tension with some huge wicket celebrations in dismissing both batsmen.

At 209-7, Bognor looked like they would fall just short, but Jamie Woolnough (27*) and Scott Bingham (21*) combined intelligent cricket with crucial boundaries and more dubious mid-pitch antics to bring the equation to 2 off the last ball.

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With the field up, Woolnough looked to clear the rope, and a brilliant piece of fielding by Henderson prevented him, catching the ball one handed over the line and throwing it back in. But with no other fielders nearby, Bognor came back for the second to win by three wickets in one of the games of the season.

Bognor's season was a challenging one overall, as the loss of key players Nick Ballamy and Joe Ashmore saw a depleted squad struggle for consistency.

Walsh was the undoubted star with 685 runs, and a strong team ethic saw Bognor win superbly away from home on four occasions.

A sole home win against Middleton in a superb bowling display was the highlight of a disappointing set of performances at the Regis Oval, and Bognor must find a way to make their home a fortress again to compete next season.

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However, with the second XI securing promotion to Division 5 West on the final day of the year, the club will be hopeful of attracting ambitious local talent looking to play Premier League cricket in the 2024 season.

Crawley v Aldwick

Division 6 West

Aldwick travelled to league winners Crawley with hope and 90 from Joel Lodge took them to 206. Harry Chaudhary 43 pushed Crawley towards their target.

Crawley's captain was given out lbw but Aldwick realised that he had hit it, so withdrew their appeal. Thanks to three wickets from Ben Bambridge and Tom Hoare, Crawley were bowled out for 169.

Aldwick managed to hold on to third place. They look forward to improving next season.

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It was a case of what could have been, being so close to promotion, missing out by 25 points.

Having an influx of new and returning players helped them progress but losses to teams at the bottom of the table cost them dearly.

Aldwick's second team had a mixed season – having been near the top for most of the season, they eventually finished fifth. However, they are hoping to push for promotion next season.

Aldwick also enjoyed a successful season in their blossoming junior and women's sections.

Smallfield Manor v Southwick

Division 8 Central

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A couple of late withdrawals meant Southwick first XI debuts were given to 14-year-old Pacey Hull and 70-year-old Kevin Peel.

Captain Paul Grennan won the toss and decided to field, and the batters were tied down at first by tight bowling from Grennan and Gary Mussen.

Wickets fell at regular intervals but 99 from 124 balls by opener Dominic Glossop (dropped on 20) saw Manor to a decent total of 198-8 from 40 overs.

Grennan snatched three wickets which left him second top bowler in the division with 27, Craig Dawson took two in his only spell of the season and a delighted Hull took his first senior victim.

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Southwick began well in reply but soon fell behind the rate. An anchoring 44 by Kallum Howell allowed Dean Ghasemi (21 and his 300th run of the season), Craig Dawson (20) and Adam Walter (27) to join the chase but scoreboard pressure saw batters get themselves out.

Wickers finished a creditable fourth in the table.