Pagham got their Sussex League division three season off to a winning start in an opening-day rain-hit derby at Bognor.
The visitors won the toss and elected to bat first but got off to a nightmare start with opener Stuart Rutter clean-bowled by Charlie La Foret for a duck in the third over.
Michael Hales led the recovery, timing the ball beautifully, and put on a 108-run partnership with Justin Scott.
Scott fell five short of his half-century, which brought about some quick wickets with Hales eventually being bowled by Joe Ashmore for an impressive 72, leaving Pagham on 144 for five.
Billy Turner-Hogg hit a quick-fire 20 but when he was caught off La Foret, the Pagham tail failed to offer much resistance, eventually finishing on 195 for eight, which looked below par.
Bognor opener Mikey Harris played well but lacked a partner to stick with him as the rest of the top order failed to manage double figures and when he was caught off Michael Hales, Bognor looked in disarray.
Louis Paul counter-attacked well, showing maturity well beyond his 16 years. But again, no batsman could form a partnership with him, forcing him to take risks, which largely proved effective.
Pagham bowler Nabib Rahman tore through the middle-order picking up four for 41 off 13 overs, and finally managed to sneak one through the defences of Paul the ball afterhe had reached his half-century.
That spelled the end of Bognor’s hopes and when Josh Broad was stupidly run out when playing for the draw, the match was over, handing Pagham a 69-run victory to get their season up and running.
Pagham vice-captain Justin Scott said: “It was a good win and I put it down to the solid partnership (between Scott and Hales) which provided a good base and put pressure on their bowlers.
“Michael Hales batted really well and as we haven’t got an overseas player yet he’s gone up the order and has excelled - everyone’s chuffed to bits for him.
“Promotion is the target, we can’t think of anything else. The other key issue is to make sure we get a couple more players in.”
Bognor skipper Luke Seward said: “Our batting let us down but the lads have learned a lot going into the next couple of games as we are a very young team - and we did bowl extremely well to restrict them to 190-odd.
“Louis Paul batted very well showing great maturity and another youngster Charlie La Foret, who’s only 19, bowled exceptionally well - it’s really handy having him back from university.
“We need to bounce back from this and the target for the rest of the season is to at least match the third-placed finish we recorded last year. Hopefully this is just a blip.”
Billingshurst II v Bognor II
Billingshurst won the toss and put Bognor in, but a fine opening 153-run opening partnership between the burly Andy Quincey (81) and old-hand Bernie Burns (53) gave Bognor an excellent start.
With contributions from the middle order, including a composed 22 not out from Sussex’s Tanya Wake, Bognor declared on 253 for six.
Billingshurst were in a spot of bother on 70 for four as veteran Jon Denby (3-56) rolled back the years with a fine spell. However, an excellent counter-attacking century from Rob Woodman (101) put the game in the balance but up stepped skipper Andy Lee (4-43) to break the partnership. The overs ran out for Bognor with Billingshurst finishing on 228 for nine for a draw.