IT was a disappointing weekend for Middleton, Pagham and Stirlands as they lost their latest Sussex League matches.
Middleton v East Grinstead
Sussex Premier League
MIDDLETON lost their first home game in the Sussex Premier – but took away a number of positives.
The game was preceded by a minute’s silenc in honour of club member Jon Hammond, who died suddenly in April aged 52. Jon was a former Middleton third XI captain.
Sean Heather, the Middleton captain, won the toss and decided to bat first in a fixture that the for book suggested was likely to be one of the toughest Middleton will face this year.
East Grinstead have been in the Premier League for all but one of the past 29 seasons.
Middleton did not get off to the kind of start they were looking for, losing three wickets before reaching 60.
Opener Heather seemed intent on staying in and shared good partnerships first with Jofra Archer (31) then Patrick Colvin (32) before falling for 60 with the score on 168.
All the Middleton batters lost their wickets just as they seemed to be batting comfortably. Middleton finished on an under-par score of 196 all out in the 58th over. The pick of the Grinstead bowlers were Craig Fowle (4-44) and Ian Sturmer (3-40).
East Grinstead got off to just the start they wanted, with Fyn-Hudson Prentice and Olley Graham sharing an opening stand of 91. They lost only a further two wickets in reaching their target in the 43rd over.
For Middleton new boy and left-arm spinner Max Ellis settled into a long spell and took two for 52, one of a number of positives to take from the result.
Pagham v Ifield
Sussex division two
Ifield won the toss and bucked the normal trend by deciding to bat first – and were soon in trouble against the pace bowling of Pete Cotterill (3-26) and accurate bowling by Mike Hales who bowled eight maidens on the trot.
Ifield were struggling at 65 for seven but some sensible batting from Jigar Parekh (30), Daniel Groves (27) and Patrik Patel (15) saw them recover to 143 all out.
Nabib Rehma starred with the ball ending with five for 19.
Although the wicket was not ideal for batting, 143 should not have been a difficult score to chase down – but only Staurt Rutter (22) and Joe Turner (22) could come to terms with the excellent spin bowling of Jigar Parekh (4-39) and Guru Kedamath (3-14).
Pagham were eventually dismissed for 111, recording their first defeat in 11 matches.
Henfield v Stirlands
Sussex League division four
Stirlands slumped to their first league defeat of the season against an obdurate Henfield side.
Having won the toss and elected to bowl, skipper Paul Dorkings sought to take advantage of the potent Stirlands bowling attack that had taken 20 wickets in the first two games.
Dorkings made the breakthrough, removing Fred Stanley after mounting pressure from both ends. After the initial burst, Ajinka Deshpande and Dorkings bowled with pace and discipline but found wickets hard to come by.
The returning Danny Cox found his natural rhythm and troubled the batsmen with pace and length, eventually disposing of Adam Scott after a patient 23.
Cox showed his worth to the team finishing nine miserly overs with one for 13, including three maidens. George Briance and Deshpande chipped in with a wicket apiece before man of the match Jon Philmore was brought on and snared three quick wickets. Bowling with intelligence and accuracy he finished with three for 53.
Brighton Mugochi survived a very confident appeal on just seven to top-score with 38 including three huge sixes. Henfield finished on 214 for eight, with Stirlands probably thinking that was 40 too many given their dominance in the first 35 overs of the innings.
In reply, Stirlands never really threatened to chase down their opponents’ target. Michael Clowes played an uncharacteristically loose shot to a wide delivery before Adam Norris and George Briance rebuilt the innings taking the score past 50.
Norris departed for a promising 18 and Briance made a classy 28 before edging to the keeper.
Torquill Deacon was harshly adjudged lbw before John Fuller was run out by following a mix-up with Cox. Deshpande’s aggressive intent was ended for just three before Cox was brilliantly caught and bowled by Jack Parsons as the innings threatened to peter out – until Phillmore launched a counter attack.
Despite losing partners regularly, Phillmore drove anything loose and worked the gaps on the field, showing the top order how to bat positively, and was cruelly denied a well-deserved half-century being given lbw for 48.
Stirlands finished on 144 rueing the additional 40-odd runs that turned the game in Henfield’s favour. Stirlands travel to Rye this week with increased availability and determined to get back to winning ways.