There was a Brighton defeat for Middleton and a loss at Billingshurst for Chichester - but Bognor won a thriller and Stirlands and Pagham are both on a roll. Here are the latest reports from the 1st Central Sussex Cricket League.
Brighton v Middleton
Middleton’s batting crumbled as they lost to Brighton in their first red-ball fixture of the season.
The start was delayed by 30 minutes in the hope the prevailing strong wind would further dry out the wicket. Brighton won the toss and decided to bat first.
Two quick wickets came for Middleton, including that Sussex player Delray Rawlins, dismissed for 0. But Matt Machan, a former Sussex player, joined opener Bryce Hounsome and the pair shared what was to prove a match-winning partnership of 104.
Machan was next to go with his score on 42 and Hounsome was fifth man out for 75 with the score on 123. The Middleton bowlers were unable to get their lengths right on a wicket where anything pitched short was punished.
Chris Atherton (31) and Adam Mates (18) were the only other two batsmen to reach double figures. The Brighton innings closed on 179 all out.
Sean Heather (5-60) and Russell Tallman (3-67) were the pick of the Middleton bowlers.
Middleton got off to a sensible start, but the Brighton bowlers know how to bowl on their wicket. They bowled in the right areas and tied the Middleton batters down. Opening bowler and captain Simon Hetherton bowled 18 overs for just 34 runs.
Only Harry Hovey (19), Patrick Colvin (23) and Mahesh Rawat (21) got into double figures as the Middleton innings crumbled to 100 all out. Hetherton finished with five wickets.
Middleton will be keen to put this result behind them as they prepare to host Cuckfield this Saturday.
Goring v Bognor
It was less the Thrilla-in-Manila and more the Gripper-in-Goring as a nail-biter took place on the coast.
Bowling first, Bognor reduced the hosts to 99 all out as Josh Sargeant snaffled 6-24 with Goring’s Kellon Carmichael top-scoring with 51.
However the damp pitch played its part as Matt Keen bagged 8-43 for Goring, evened out by Bognor skipper Ryan Maskell top-scoring with 45.
A tight finish ensued but Sargeant and burly Sam Adams saw Bognor home by one wicket, leaving Maskell’s men in fourth place.
Billingshurst v Chichester
After two wins on the bounce, Chichester faced tougher opponents in promotion-chasing Billingshurst.
Persistent rain delayed the start by more than an hour and the weather was a factor all afternoon. Chichester won the toss and elected to bat.
A couple of early wickets left the visitors 17-2 before Matt Bennison and Abhishek Raut began to rebuild. Their efforts were interrupted by another heavy shower and when the players returned, Raut fell for 19.
He was followed back to the pavilion by Bennison (40) and the lower order folded. Only Joe Nichols (12) reached double figures as Chichester were bowled out for 94.
With rain clouds gathering again, Billingshurst couldn’t afford to hang around. Jordan Willoughby (50no) anchored the innings to ensure victory.
Jay Hartard took two wickets in an over which made sure Chichester’s picked up at least a point. The hosts wrapped up victory inside 16 overs to win by eight wickets.
Chichester must put this result behind them as they host St James’ Montefiore on Saturday.
Pagham v West Chiltington
Div 3 West
Having elected to bat first, West Chiltington made a steady start – reaching 58 before they lost their first wicket.
Wickets fell at regular intervals with no meaningful partnerships. The Pagham bowlers shared the wickets with Nick Smith, Justin Scott, Nikki Tabberer and Gareth Davies getting two each.
Mathew wood top-scored with 38 for the visitors, who ended up 143 all out.
Pagham made a poor start with captain Stuart Hanks caught behind without scoring, but man of the moment Jack Stannard yet again settled the ship with a gritty 60 not out and was ably supported by a flamboyant 64 from Smith.
Pagham cruised to victory with 23 overs to spare and other results meant they went top of the table
Stirlands v Roffey II
Div 3 West
After an entertaining and necessary win last week, Stirlands built on their momentum with a win over Roffey.
After they won the toss and decided to bat, the plan started to show cracks as Jake Moores fell for a second-ball duck but Will Gubbins and George Briance added some runs and stability.
Gubbins fell to a yorker and soon Sam Caldera was run out after a mix-up with Briance.
Building on his ton a week earlier, George Coles kept the run rate ticking over with Briance aiding him. Coles fell for 28 and Ed Clarke accelerated the rate, reaching 50 off 49 balls.
Briance also reached his 50 but then succumbed to a good ball. Clarke had togo after attempting a ramp shot and seeing his middle stump clattered. The tail wagged strongly and added another 25 runs before the innings came to a close on 246-7.
Hopes were high as Stirlands came out to bowl and Nat Clowes and Henry Anscombe picked up early wickets through great catches by Dom Fecher.
A partnership was built by Roffey and signs of a fightback were on, but Dan Mugford squashed any hopes Roffey may have had, picking up 7-25 off seven overs.
With Stirlands taking their catches and applying heavy pressure in the field, it wasn’t long before the last wicket fell and Roffey were skittled out for just 77 – and Stirlands had attained their goal of another 30 points, winning by 139 runs.
Barns Green v West Wittering
Div 5 West
At windswept Barns Green,West Wittering lost the toss and were put into bat on a damp wicket in a game reduced to 36 overs per side.
Joe Pink and Liam Bates got the Meadowers off to a flyer with Pink scoring a patient 50. Gareth Lendrum scored a quickfire 26 and after big hitting from Harry Staight and some decisive running from Kieran Baker and Alex Fitzgerald, West Wittering posted a competitive 171-9.
The sensational opening bowling spells of Staight and Joe Sissons kept the lid on Barns Green’s scoring capabilities. The instinctive captaincy of Carl Tupper, bringing Lendrum on to bowl his leg spin, put West Wittering in charge with three quick wickets.
A superb fielding performance came from the whole side, with notable mentions for Sam Caddy, Baker Bates, safe hands Brandon Trimmer and Steve Clunie’s infectious energy. However, stand-out moments of the day came from Sissons.
Despite being blinded by the setting sun, he took two logic-defying catches which sapped the life out of the batting side. Barns Green needed 15 from the last over and Wittering won by six runs.
Aldwick v Crawley Eagles
Div 6 West
Aldwick easily disposed of Crawley Eagles IIs to remain leaders with a top-drawer bowling display after making a below-par 173 all out in 37 overs.
Batting first, Aldwick got off to another solid start with openers Ed White (29) and Richard Gadd (63) piling on 70 runs for the first wicket.
However, after the good start an indifferent batting display followed from the rest of the batting order apart from Ian Guppy (23) and Tom Hoare (17), who made valuable contributions.
The home side’s tail-enders were decimated by Sardar Sohail Khan (4-23) who reduced Aldwick from 166-7 to 173 all out. Other good bowling spells came from Aamir Malik (2-39) and Mehran Khan (2-24).
Victory for Aldwick came in over 29 as the visitors were rolled over for just 101, with a winning margin of 72 runs.
Leader of the bowling pack was Ben Bambridge (3-17) backed up by Harry Rossor (2-15) and one wicket apiece for Jamie Murphy (1-18), Ollie Smith (1-27), Tom Hoare (1-23) with two run-outs.
A brave effort from Wagas Hafiz (42) and a decent knock from tail ender Usman Hussain (24) were the only batting highlights for the Eagles.
This week Aldwick will intend to prove they are worthy table toppers as they visit second-placed Clymping.
Bognor II v Horsham III
Div 7 West
At the Regis Oval, Bognor youngster Ben Woolnough was the pick of the attack with 4-18 as Horsham were dismissed for 100.
This score was not as issue for Bognor’s men as the slick Ollie Adams clouted a hale-and-hearty 73 not out from 63 balls as Bognor sprinted to a ten-wicket win to leave’s Harry Hood’s men in fifth place.
West Wittering II v Barns Green II
Div 9 West
West Wittering captain Andy Priest won the toss and opted to bowl on a slightly damp wicket.
Priest and spinner Ben Doyle opened the bowling and Priest picked up four wickets, with two catches by Will Finch, one bowled and an a lbw.
Makeshift wicketkeeper Dom Daplyn took a catch behind off Doyle’s bowling.
Mark Brien created a chance that was dropped by Jack Harte, who picked up two wickets. Injury meant Brien only bowled four overs before being replaced by the pace of Trevor Delderfield, whose speed brought the final three wickets and Barns Green were all out for 96.
West Wittering made hard work chasing down the low score. Openers Kev Allsobrook (10) and Delderfield (3) started steadily.
Doyle scored 11 and Rob Gray 15, taking Witterings to 43-4. The middle order had little impact and after Finch (3), Daplyn (0), Priest (9) and Harte (0) were out the target was reached thanks to MoM Steve Day, who carried the team home with top score of 31*, supported by Simon Lowther (6*). Witterings won by two wickets.
Broadwater III v Aldwick II
Div 11 West South
A great bowling performance coupled with a confident batting display means Aldwick remain in seocnd place below Chichester fours.
The centrepiece of the victory was a veritable all-round performamce from Aiden Miles, who was top wicket-taker with 3-14 and the best bat of the day with an unbeaten 60.
Batting first, Broadwater found it tough going against the Aldwick bowling attack despite the good start made by openers Mark Sinsbury (23) and Rajalingham Paheerathan (23).
After the openers fell, no other batsman made double figures as they were shot out in less than 33 overs by Miles, Josh Kemp (1-25), Dion Sampson (2-33), Jake Merrett (2-9) and Oliver Duffin (1-0).
Aldwick raced to victory in the 22nd over losing only one wicket along the way with Dean Stokes (27*) and man of the match Aiden Miles featuring in an unbroken 106-run 2nd wicket stand. James Wilson (1-13) was the sole wicket-taker.
Aldwick II now have two Saturdays off.