THE LEAGUE cricket season is nearly upon us and teams are well under way with friendlies, and in Middleton’s case a National Cup game.
Here are the latest reports - and don’t miss this week’s (April 30) Observer for a full preview of our local teams’ prospects in the Sussex League, West Sussex Invitation League and Hampshire League.
Portsmouth v Middleton
National Cup first round
Middleton set up a second-round tussle at home to Havant with a fine win at Portsmouth.
Batting first, Middleton were bowled out in 45th over for 209 thanks to a tenth-wicket stand between Shawn Blanks (11) and Anthony Ender (44* in 27 balls).
In reply Portsmouth scored 189 for six in their 45 overs. Pick of the Middleton bowlers were Brandon Hanley (0-25) and James Rufey (0-26).
St Peters II v Aldwick
Aldwick’s early-season trip to Hove to face St Peters was rewarded with another victory prior to the Invitation League campaign starting this Saturday.
St Peters batted first and Aldwick made good use of the fixture to take a look at their bowlers. Throughout winter nets, Adam Rutter has worked hard on his new spin-bowling technique and looks like he will be a useful addition to the first team’s bowling line-up, taking three for 40.
In addition, with two wickets apiece, Ollie Smith and Shakil Molla restricted the home side a below-par 152 all out.
In reply, opener Alex Cooper (36) wasted no time in getting his side off to a winning start but it was when the Robinson brothers, Adam (46*) and Dan (39*) came together and put on 94 for the fourth wicket that an inevitable victory was secured by the visitors.
Aldwick won by seven wickets with seven overs to spare and can look forward to life in a higher division with a fair amount of confidence.
Aldwick II v Arundel Grasshoppers
Aldwick II looked to have hint of early-season malaise as they allowed Arundel Grasshoppers to rattle up 203, taking just four wickets in the process.
Two wickets for Tom Hoare and one apiece for Spencer Bist and Harry Rossor were the home side’s best bowlers but with a century from Liam Roberts (103*) and a good knock from Dave Connelly (51) they visitors had the upper hand at the halfway stage.
Things started well for the home side with a first-wicket partnership of 90 from Tom Hoare (47) and Dion Sampson (38), who gave their side a realistic sniff of a victory.
However, after the good start, Aldwick’s batting lacked any impetus with only Ed Firlotte (22*) making any further meaningful impact.
Grasshoppers rotated their bowlers well as Aldwick finished 56 short of their target with Ryan Budd (2-35) the best bowler for the victors.
Selsey v Aldwick
Aldwick had Selsey on the ropes at 34 for three before top scorer Tony Benham (64), with help from Ray Twyford (28) and Nic Nolan (24) staged a comeback to post a competitive total of 183 for nine.
Good bowling spells from Harry Rosser (2-13) and Adam Rutter (3-55) were key to restricting the home side’s final total but Grant Wilson’s (3-14) spell at the end gave his side a decent chance.
Victory for the visitors was never likely as they gave their wickets away and were soon reeling at 23 for six. Tom Cripps (4-10) did most of the damage but not before Harry Rossor (67*) and Adam Rutter (43*) staged a comeback of sorts to give their team a more respectable final total of 148.
Aldwick Acorns v Angmering
The Acorns batsmen posted a massive 259 for two in their 40 overs with runs from Alex Cooper (26), Josh Sargeant (36*), Adam Robinson (86), and (97*) from Louis Paul to add to his century from the previous weekend.
Angmering gave it their best shot but thanks to the bowling of debutant Tim Spencer (3-28), Ben Bambridge (2-13) and Lara Johnson (2-2), Angmering finished well short of the target on 142.
Witley v Lurgashall
Witley had the better of the game with Lurgashall but the visitors hung on for a draw.
Witley were reduced to 67 for five before O Hickman (56) and G Lyall (59) allowed them them to declare at 187 for five.
The pick of the Lurgashall bowlers was Dan Dillon-Thiselton with two for 31.
Lurgashall were quickly in trouble in reply at 28 for four but opener Aaron Carter (62) was joined by skipper Nathan Kemp (40) and they put on 88.
Two more wickets fell quickly and Lurgashall had to survive a turbulant seven overs to save the game led by Dillon-Thiselton. They ended on 146 for seven.