After much anticipation, Chichester Priory Park’s season started under bright and sunny skies at Goodwood.
After a promising pre-season, hopes and expectations was high for a positive result.
Providing the first opposition at Chichester’s new home ground were Roffey seconds, making their debut in division three after a restructure of the Sussex League.
Chichester’s new captain Matt Geffen won the toss and invited the visitors to bat.
The honour of claiming Chichester’s first wicket at their new home fell to overseas bowler Abhishek Patel. The New Zealand left-arm bowler bowled Roffey opener Jordan Bell for just five.
Chichester’s bowling was excellent all day, drawing a number of false shots as the visitors were soon reduced to 31-3.
Sachin Naik and Mark Pavlovic provided stubborn resistance and gave the visitors hope of a competitive total. The resistance was soon ended when Naik was bowled by Rob Carver for 20.
Pavlovic departed in the following over for 21, lobbing up a fairly straightforward catch off Mike Smith, his first wicket for the club. The tail was mopped up by Geffen, the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 11, Patel and Ben Caldera as the visitors were bowled out for 97 in just 32 overs.
An excellent all-round fielding display was capped by four catches for the returning Jay Hartard.
A lack of available openers forced Geffen to promote himself to the top of order with Peter Lamb. But the pair struggled to put bat on ball in the early overs.
Things soon settled down as they calmly moved towards the 98 required for victory. Geffen was dropped twice on his way to a senior best batting score of 42 not out. Lamb also stayed to the end, finishing 47 not out to wrap up a ten-wicket victory.
This sends a signal to the rest of the division. They hope to follow this with another victory away to Burgess Hill on Saturday.
West Chiltington & Thakeham v Chichester 2nd
Chichester’s second XI’s debut in the new division five west got off to an stuttering start.
Chichester won the toss and bowled first but the hosts amassed 247 for five in their 45 overs, boosted by a hefty number of extras.
Ollie Reynolds bagged a five-wicket haul, taking five for 53. In reply only captain Sean Dobbs and Ben Hubbard made double figures as Chichester were bowled out for 66 in just 19 overs.
Chichester 3rd v Wisborough Green 2nd
Chichester batted first and 212 for six off 40 overs seemed like a reasonable score. Glen Stanford scored 83 not out on his debut, well backed up by 48 from Steve Parker, 21 from Henry Whitby and 20 from Matthew Creswick.
Wisborough reached the target in the 38th over in a good challenging game for Chichester’s young bowlers.
Stirlands v Hastings
Hastings & St Leonard’s Priory arrived at Stirlands to kick off the new-look division-four season – but it was Stirlands who took maximum points.
Stirlands, buoyed by captain George Coles’ pre-season words and a strong outing in the T20 competition, were searching for a positive start.
Hastings inserted the home side, who sent out Leo Wilkinson-Beal and William Gubbins to open the innings. A strong opening stand saw 44 accumulated before Wilkinson-Beal was caught for 18 off Woodroffe.
Coles joined a fluent Gubbins at the crease looking to build on the start and Stirlands reached 104 for one. Coles fell in the first over after drinks for 27, caught off Marvin, which brought Ian Gooding to the middle - the wicketkeeper batsman back at Stirlands after five seasons away.
A 50-run partnership saw Gubbins bring up his first 50 of the season, falling lbw to to Lucas for 54. The strength of the batting line-up was in good evidence, as Torquil Deacon arrived at the crease on the back of a very strong 2016 with the bat.
Powerful striking and from Deacon and Gooding took the home side past the maximum batting points to finish on 245-5 with Deacon 58 not out.
The Hastings reply suffered two early blows as Coyle was smartly caught by Gooding off Coles for one in the second over and Maharaj-Newman was trapped lbw by Gubbins for two in the next over to leave the score 6-2.
Stirlands kept up the pressure as Coles and Gubbins took a further wicket apiece and George Briance had Lucas caught by Gubbins for nine, with the score 54-5.
Briance picked up another wicket as Woodroffe was superbly caught by Brazier for nine and it looked like the game was set for an early finish at 98-6.
Strong resistance from A Page frustrated the bowlers, who finished on 61 not out when he ran out of partners and the final wicket was taken by David Briance to leave Hastings 144 all out.
The other wicket-takers were J Fuller, A Brazier and Wilkinson-Beal.
This week’s opposition, Findon, will prove much tougher but confidence is sky-high.
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