Heather gets Middleton over line ... Bognor and Chichester off to losing starts

Bognor CC line up for the 2019 season / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Bognor CC line up for the 2019 season / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Middleton got their 1st Central Sussex Cricket League campaign off to a winning start but Chichester Priory Park and Bognor lost. Find out how the local teams fared on the first full weeekend of 2019 league action.

Three Bridges v Middleton

Sussex Premier

Coloured clothing and pink cricket balls were the order of the day in the Premier League for the first time - and Middleton marked the new era with a win at Three Bridges.

The day was overcast and cold and on winning the toss captain Sean Heather decided Middleton would bowl first.

The first five games of the season are 50-over-a-side matches, and the Middleton bowlers didn’t have it all their own way as openers Regan Derham and Conor Golding put on 124 for the first wicket.

Derham was the first to go on 46, lbw to Harry Hovey. Golding went on to make 78 and Kiwi David Winn was third out for 46 with the score on 217.

Bridges finished on 277-7 from their 50 overs.

Middleton’s reply could not have got off to a worse start, with opener Hovey caught behind of the first ball.

Jack Dawling joined Heather and the pair shared a partnership of 104 before Dawling fell lbw for 33. Heather was joined by Ben Ferbrache and the pair put on an unbroken partnership of 158, taking Middleton past a rain-adjusted total of 260 to win in just 41 overs.

Heather finished on 139 and Ferbrache 63. Heather’s innings included 18 fours and two sixes.

Middleton are at home on Saturday to East Grinstead.

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Chichester v Burgess Hill

Div 2

After six long months, Sussex League cricket returned to Goodwood as Chichester Priory Park started their 2019 campaign against newly promoted Burgess Hill.

All eyes were on the newly laid wicket to see how it would perform in its first competitive game. The visitors got first use of the pitch as they won the toss and elected to bat first.

The hosts struck early, captain Matt Geffen removing Luke Vick with just 13 on the board. The Chichester bowling attack was missing a couple of regulars and it began to show.

Tom Trowbridge (66) and Kevin Ramsay (70) put on 147 for the second wicket as the hosts toiled under the spring sunshine. Even the dismissal of the two batsmen brought little relief as Joe Maskell (34no) and Ben Hopkins (20no) pushed the visitors total to 229-4 from their 45 overs.

The hosts reply never truly gained momentum, and of the top order only Peter Lamb (36) got into double figures. The next top scorer was Owen Spicer (24), an excellent achievement for the youngster on his first team debut.

Despite Burgess Hill gifting the hosts 56 extras, Chichester always looked second best. They fell to a 52-run defeat after being bowled out for 177.

A disappointing start, but there is long season ahead. Chichester travel to Lindfield on Saturday.

Bognor v Haywards Heath

Div 2

Haywards Heath were invited to bat on a re-laid Bognor square. This was of no consequence to big Scott Bingham who with his customary sweet swing gathered 3-36, including the wicket of top scorer Ben Matthew for 59.

A late-innings hurrah from Ollie Bailey with 48 saw Haywards Heath finish on 166-5.

In reply it was a stuttering affair from Bognor and apart from veteran Jim Fallick’s 36 the batsmen didn’t get going, Bognor bowled out for 132 and losing by 34 runs.

Pagham II v West Wittering

Div 5 West

Pagham asked the visitors to bat and runs were shared around but regular wickets fell as soon as batsmen were settled.

James Munro with 68, Joe Pink 55 and Aaron Newman with 39 were the mainstays with David Leader (3-42) and Alex Mackay (2-20) the main wicket-takers as West Wittering set a respectable target of 216-7 off 40 overs.

Pagham lost a few wickets and had a retirement at the start but nerves soon settled and Aidan Drake (33) batted well before the game taken away from Wittering by Wayne Green (73no)and Alex MacKay (47no) that competed a well-deserved Pagham win with seven overs left.

Aldwick v Rustington

Div 6 West

Aldwick posted their first victory of the 2019 league campaign with a victory that was as exciting as it was close.

With just two balls to go, Rustington required just three runs to make 229 for victory but Aldwick only needed one wicket so it was anybody’s game. Rustington No10 Ben Kimber hit the ball towards fielder Dean Stokes, who at first mis-fielded the ball, Kimber pursued an important second run to tie the scores but was run out with Alan Hodgson (1* ) stranded at the other end and Aldwick victorious by just one run.

Rustington’s early batting line-up were certainly up for the challenge of overcoming the home side’s very competitive 228-9 with the first seven all making double figures.

There were important knocks from Finlay Gardner (57) and Mishal Patel (38) who gave their side a strong sniff of victory but top bowling performances from Tom Hoare (4-36) and Ian Guppy (3-37) curbed their ambitions and with Richard Gabb taking three catches, Aldwick just held on.

Earlier, Aldwick openers Alex Cooper (53) and Richard Gabb (66) built a solid platform with an 114-run partnership which was the perfect start to build a defendable total.

After added impetus coming from Guppy (32) and Jamie Murphy (36), Aldwick were slightly pegged down at the end with a good late spell from Benjamin Gardner (3-27) with the other main wicket-takers being Gardner ( 2-24 ) and Prabhakar (2-47).

Aldwick are away to Goring II this week.

Selsey v Crawley II

Div 7 West

Winning the toss and bowling first, Selsey reduced Crawley to 32-4 and 70-7. Tom Cripps (4-19) caused the early damage with Matt Weller (2-31) keeping it tight at the other end.

Farhan Bhutta (2-30) and Paul Stevens (1-23) cleaned up and Crawley were all out for 134.

Tim Fewster (53) and Will Smith opened the reply and were soon rattling off the runs. A pivotal partnership between Fewster and Nick Horner took the game away from Crawley before Horner was run out.

Nic Nolan came in to see Selsey home with 17 overs to spare and secure maximum points.

Slinfold II v Bognor II

Div 7 West

Slinfold won the toss and elected to bat but their progress was checked at various intervals by Bognor’s bowlers, four of whom took two wickets apiece as the hosts were bowled out for 137.

The stage was set for the evergreen Bernie Burns, who provided the backbone of the innings with a dogged 38 as Bognor won the match by four wickets.

West Wittering II v Billingshurst II

Div 9 West

West Wittering elected to bowl and Kieran Baker and Spike Western started well but after four overs, skipper Andy Priest showed tactical brilliance by switching them to opposite end and reaped rewards immediately.

After 20 overs, Billingshurst were 50-6 thanks to Baker (3-17) and Western 3-27. An excellent catch by Zack Stewart and run outs by Ben Doyle (direct hit) and Baker boosted them.

Priest and Allsobrook (2-6) bowled well, the latter taking his club wicket total to 150. Billingshurst were bowled out for 78.

Marc Slowey (35no) and Allsobrook (36 not out) opened the reply and played some lovely shots to win the game in the 17th over.

West Wittering top the league at this early stage and go to East Preston this week.

Chi Priory Park 4th XI v Aldwick II

Div 11 West South

Aldwick won the toss in a chilly wind and opted to field first and Chichester scored 243-7 off 40 overs despite two batsmen retiring injured.

Steve Parker scored a very effective 65 while Callum Peyman scored 59 on debut. David Graham-Wood hit 39 from 18 balls and Martin O’Brien struck 23.

Morgan Bambridge took 3-82 - and Dan Cox took 2-26.

With Aldwick 19-4 Chichester looked to be safe and dry, but Aldwick were not going to give in. Cox scored a determined 90 not out, ably supported

by Jonny Knapp (22) and Herman Paul (32).

Peyman, brought on for the final overs, took 3-6 off two overs. Aldwick finished on 178-9.

Bognor III v Goring III

Div 11 West South

Cricket returned to West Meads as Bognor invited the visitors to bat. In a see-saw innings, Goring finished on 142-8 with Arosh top scoring with 59 not out.

For Bognor the mercurial Babs Ahmed with 4-28 was the pick of the attack. In response Ahmed (44) and Nick Baker (34) saw Bognor forward but Arosh’s brisk leg-breaks saw off the hosts, the Goring man taking 5-30 to clinch a 14-run win.