Eastergate slipped to a rare home defeat but there were better fortunes for West Wittering and Aldwick in the latest round of West sussex Invitation League games.
Read the latest reports from the league - including news of a hospital trip for Aldwick twos skip Ian Guppy - below.
Eastergate v Henfield
Invitation League division one
In the first league match between the sides for many years, on a rain-affected wicket the toss proved crucial – and Eastergate were beaten for the first time at home since 2015.
Heavy overnight rain had left a damp but perfectly playable wicket and the Henfield skipper asked Eastergate to bat.
The opening batsmen fell cheaply but Doug Bentley and Josh Cole put on a steady 58 runs for the third wicket before Cole went for 33 and Bentley for 26.
Henfield spinners Jack Parsons and Jordon Smith bowled in partnership for 20 overs, finding regular turn on a drying wicket. With wickets falling regularly, 16-year-old Smith finished with excellent figures of 5-28 from 12 overs. Eastergate could only reach 127 all out from 46.5 overs in tricky batting conditions.
In reply, Henfield lost their first wicket with only three on the board, clean bowled by Pete Smith. However, Liam Vallois and Parsons added a brisk 60 runs for the second wicket to leave the away team in firm control.
Parsons went for 36 and some tight bowling from Eastergate restricted the scoring rate and with further wickets falling, Eastergate still had a thin chance.
Opener Vallois proved the mainstay of the innings and guided Henfield to victory, finishing on an excellent 59 not out. Henfield won by five wickets, reaching 129 for 5 from 38.3 overs and benefitting from a dry wicket and sunny conditions during the second half of the game.
After five games Eastergate are fifth in division one with two wins, a draw and two defeats. They travel to top of the table Southwater on Saturday.
West Wittering v Broadbridge Heath
On a balmy day in West Wittering, the home side won the toss and elected to bowl first. In the fifth over Steve Day took a blinding catch running backwards at third man off Harry Staight to leave Broadbridge Heath at 17 for 1.
Broadbridge Heath consolidated and started to build some momentum with Wells (26), Booker (17), Atkins (48) and Ovington (50) digging in and striking some lusty blows to get them to a reasonable total before a collapse in the last four overs of their innings left them 170 all out.
The pick of the West Wittering bowlers were Harry Staight (6-60 off 14.1) and James Staight (3-29 off 15).
The home side started their reply with Gareth Lendrum (64) and Jack Allsobrook (24) getting them off to a strong start. Broadbridge Heath were guilty of dropping a number of chances early in the innings, and their frustration was palpable.
However, Jordan Ruff (3-55 off 15) and John Dawes (5-25 off 13) started to build pressure and with regular wickets falling there was a bit of a Wittering Wobble before a combination of obdurate defending (particularly from Andy Priest) and some hitting out relieved the pressure and helped the home team get over the line for the loss of eight wickets.
Aldwick v Three Bridges 3rd
After last week’s heavy defeat to Belgrave Adelaide, Aldwick bounced back with an emphatic win over Three Bridges thirds by ten wickets – just the tonic skipper Alex Cooper wanted for his troops.
All the Aldwick bowlers were in wicket-taking mood as they rolled over the visitors for just 77 in the 23th over. Only Sachit Patel (14), Jack Blackman (11), and Iain Roe (16) managed double figures as the home side bowlers took wickets with ease.
The wicket-taking line-up was headed by Tom Hare (3-15), followed by John Young (2-8), Liam Hicks (2-11), Ollie Smith (2-20) and Ben Bambridge (1-14).
All apart from openers Ed White and Dean Stokes then relaxed in the sun as they watched White (35*) and Stokes (42*) seal the victory in an unbroken opening wicket partnership completed in time for both teams to make it home for the start of the cup final.
This week Aldwick go to Clymping with renewed confidence.
Portslade 3rd v Aldwick 2nd
Aldwick seconds lost again but were equal participants in game full of incident and drama that produced nearly 500 runs and victory for Portslade with just four balls to spare.
Batting first, Aldwick got off to a good start with openers Paul Gibbs (23) and Arthur Bradbury (18) making a decent start. Luke Spindler made a quick 30 before a bizarre incident.
Skipper Ian Guppy had made 20 but was not satisfied with his bat so called out to change it – then proceeded to whack himself in the face with it and was run out while lying on the floor in agony and out of his crease.
Portslade skipper Matt Mill reinstated Guppy but his must have regretted his admiral fair-minded decision as the blow to the head sent the patched-up Aldwick skipper into the form of his life as his pummelled the home side’s bowling with an amazing ten sixes and six fours in a maiden century knock of 115.
When Guppy was out he headed to A&E for five stiches and left his team to defend 247-6.
Aldwick had started a player short, so with the skipper gone they were down to nine men and a bowler short. However, the bowlers defended their total with gusto with opener Johnny Knapp (3-30) bowling a great spell.
Eddie Brown (78) played well until he was outdone by Knapp. Wickets tumbled, and Aldwick were back in the game until a solid partnership between Owen Piper (42) and unbeaten 51 from Max Radcliffe put Portslade back in the frame.
Radcliffe, with assistance from George Morrison (17*) got his side past the post in the final over when it could easily have gone either way.
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