Our Sussex League cricket teams got their competitive seasons under way with first-round matches in the new T20 Cup - with mixed results.
Pagham v Stirlands
Sussex League T20 Cup
Stirlands got off to winning start as they destroyed Pagham in the new T20 Cup.
Visiting skipper Paul Dorkings lost the toss and Pagham – who will be playing two divisions above Stirlands when the league games get under way – opted to field first. Peter Cotterill and Mike Hales bowled tightly in the opening spell and the new look opening partnership of Adam Norris and Will Gubbins found scoring tough.
After some lusty drives, an entertaining cameo from Norris was ended by Hales and he quickly accounted for Torquill Deacon, victim of a stunning slip catch, and John Fuller, to leave Stirlands reeling at 40 for three.
Dorkings quickly followed before Gubbins took the game to Pagham supported by Ajinkya Deshpande, exploiting the gaps in the field to take the score towards 100.
Batting with calm authority, Gubbins drove and pulled with precision and class. Gubbins’ resistance was ended on 58 and Stirlands finished their 20 overs at 102 for seven, giving the bowlers something of a total to defend.
Pagham started positively with Stuart Rutter latching on to anything overpitched before being yorked by Dorkings. What followed next was an exhibition of line, length and precision from Deshpande and in particular Dorkings.
The much-vaunted Pagham batting line-up was undone by some high-quality swing bowling from both openers, Dorkings accounting for Hales, Joe Metz, Wayne Green, Cotterill and Nabib Rahman to add to Rutter.
Deshpande supported him brilliantly by dismissing the middle order including the dangerous Rathnakye and Stirlands old boy Stuart Hanks as Pagham were reduced to 29 for nine.
Pagham had set a high standard in the field which was matched by the slip catching and outfielding of Stirlands. A late flurry of runs from Ryan Barratt and Kevin Condon saw the score move up to 67 before MoM contender Gubbins snaffled a hard caught-and-bowled chance to start the Stirlands celebrations.
This was a victory that was unexpected but came from determination and quality in the bowling of Deshpande and Dorkings, who led from the front with the ball.
Figures of six for eight from four overs were exceptional and ripped the game from Pagham.
Stirlands will visit Cuckfield in the second round as they chase a league and cup double, while Pagham are left to focus on their division-two campaign.
Steyning v Middleton
Sussex League T20 Cup
Middleton were captained by Sean Heather following the sudden resignation of Brandon Hanley, who has had to stand down because of work commitments.
Heather won the toss and elected to bat first. The main scorers for Middleton were Heather with 55, Will Burrows 37 not out and Patrick Colvin with 35, a 16-ball innings containing five sixes, one off his first ball. Middleton finished on 165 for five.
Steyning in reply were never up with the required run rate and when Ed Lamb went in the 17th over for 40, the game was up. Steyning finished 147 for seven, with Gary Hunt scoring 55.
Middleton face Chichester in round two on June 7.
Wisborough Green v Chichester PP
Sussex League T20 Cup
After a disappointing 2014 season, Chichester are looking to bounce back this year with a solid season.
A few familiar faces have returned to the team this year, along with some promising newcomers.
Although Chichester failed to win any of their pre-season fixtures, their performances were extremely promising and there was a mood of optimism in the air.
The club’s first competitive fixture was in the first round of the Sussex T20 cup at Wisborough Green.
On a chilly, overcast day, Chichester captain Matt Geffen won the toss and elected to field.
Wisborough Green’s openers made a stuttering start but still reached 36 without loss, though their strike rate was poor.
Courtesy of skipper Geffen, Chicheste managed a maiden over, something of a rarity in this form of the game.
A combination of good bowling and Wisborough Green’s need to up the scoring rate meant wickets were soon tumbling. Mark Bamford (2-31) and James Chrissy (2-23) were the pick of Chichester’s bowlers as Wisborough stumbled to 118 for seven in their 20 overs.
In response, Chichester sent overseas player Daniel Weigl out at the top of the order. The Australian showed no signs of jetlag as his first scoring shot in English cricket was a sweetly-struck six.
Boundaries continued to flow for the openers, scoring 36 from the first four overs.
Bamford was soon joining his fellow opener in a feast of boundaries. Bamford (68 from 40 balls) took 20 off one over as he brought up his half-century off 30 balls.
Weigl (51 from 32 balls) also notched a half-century before Bamford hit the winning runs at the end of the 12th over. A convincing ten-wicket victory sees Chichester take their place in the draw for round two.
Chichester begin their Sussex League third-division campaign this Saturday at Haywards Heath.
Findon vs Bognor
Findon won the toss and elected to field. This did not prove a problem for Bognor’s burly openers, Elliott Clarke and Andy Quincey, who put on 80 for the first wicket, Clarke with a fluent 51 and Quincey with a lively 40.
Their departure didn’t slow Bognor as the zesty Joe Ashmore (34 not out) and the powerful Rob Burge (24) saw Bognor to a decent 166 for 5. For Findon, Harry Metters was the pick of the attack with 2 for 18.
In reply Bognor chipped away at the Findon line up, the hosts at one stage 75 for 3. However, a composed 48 from Metters saw Findon to 171 for 5 and a five wicket win, all-rounder Clarke leading the Bognor attack with 2 for 30.