There was a defeat and a win for Middleton, a loss for Bognor, wins for Pagham and West Wittering and draws for Chichester Priory Park and Stirlands in the latest games at the top end of the Sussex League.
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Middleton v Eastbourne
Middleton found newly-promoted Eastbourne too strong at Sea Lane.
Eastbourne won the toss and invited Middleton to bat and, as has been the way this season so far, Middleton were immediately in trouble – losing two wickets in the opening two overs. First to depart was Stuart Nelmes, followed by Nick Smith.
Mahesh Rawat scored 30 as Middleton closed on 135-9.
Jack Dawling shared a partnership of 64 with Mahesh Rawat and was fourth to depart, for 25, with the score on 88. Apart from 24 by Alexander Davis everything was left to Rawat who went on to score his maiden century for the club.
The innings closed with Middleton on 208 with Rawat 100 not out from just 97 balls, an innings which saw him protect the Middleton tail for six overs, putting on 31 for the last wicket with Tommy Davies who was last man out lbw for 0.
In reply Eastbourne lost a quick wicket, with Charlie Terry having the Eastbourne overseas man Daniel Arms caught by wicketkeeper Rawat for just one.
However a partnership of 69 between former Kent batsman James Hockley and Jacob Smith built the foundation Eastbourne needed. Smith struck 75 before becoming the third wicket to fall with the score on 157.
Malcolm Johnson (39) and Ben Twine (32no) saw Eastbourne home just four wickets down in the 48th over.
Lindfield v Middleton
County T20 Cup R2
Sean Heather won the toss and decided to bat first. He opened the innings and scored 72 off 48 balls before being seventh out with the score on 131. Mahesh Rawat scored 30 as Middleton closed on 135-9.
Lindfield were quickly in trouble as Charlie Terry with four wickets and Russell Talman with three reduced them to 45-7 at the end of the eighth over.
Lindfield were eventually bowled out for 92 at the start of the 15th over.
Bognor v Billingshurst
Bognor’s first team hosted Billingshurst looking to get back to winning ways, but ended on the losing side.
Ryan Maskell’s men won the toss and chose to field, which appeared to suit Billingshurst as they accumulated steadily.
The departure of both openers saw the visitors’ Tim Weston anchor the innings with 76 not out as all of Bognor’s bowlers chipped in, Billingshurst declaring on 208-7.
In response Bognor were being tested and at 72-3 the home team were still in the hunt. However this became 74-8 as Ben Williams (3-7) and Andy Barr (3-15) made hay in the late afternoon.
Ryan Maskell’s 42 was the highlight of Bognor’s innings. The end for Bognor came soon enough as the home team were bowled out for 104, Billingshurst winning by 104 runs.
Chichester v Ansty
After a morale-boosting victory against Haywards Heath last time out, Chichester Priory Park had to settle for a draw against high-flying Ansty at Goodwood.
This weekend saw the start of the series of timed games, adding in the possibility of a draw into the mix. A slightly green-looking pitch convinced Chichester to invite the visitors to bat first after winning the toss.
Initially the decision looked a good one as Ansty slumped to 32-3. Chris Barnes (93no) and Jethro Menzies (72) put on 152 for the fourth wicket, assisted by a sloppy display in the field from the hosts.
A late flurry of wickets from Mike Smith (3-48) slowed the rate down although Ansty still managed to amass 210-7 from 53 overs. This left Chichester a target of 211 from 47 overs.
The chase began well as Jes Goode (36) and Sam Caldera (63) put on 86. Wickets began to hamper the chase as the hosts stumbled from 122-1 to 137-5.
Neither side looked to have the firepower to close the game out. What promised to be a grandstand finish petered out in to a tepid draw in an advert for the advantages of win/lose cricket. Chichester closed on 171-6, meaning Ansty took 13 points, Chichester seven.
Chichester sit one place above the regelation zone and a tough trip to Three Bridges awaits this Saturday.
Goring v Pagham
Pagham elected to bat and soon wished they hadn’t as they stumbled to 25-5.
Rico Webb decided the best form of defence was attack and made the bowling look decidedly average, racing to a quickfire 64 which made the score more respectable.
David Leader showed the same attacking intent and smashed a useful 41. A last-wicket partnership of 23 saw Pagham reach 148 all out.
Kellon Carmichael ended with 4-50 and Ross Baumann 3-52. This early end to Pagham’s innings meant 15 overs before tea and Justin Scott and Rico Webb soon got among the Goring top order and tea arrived with Goring 74-5.
After the restart Goring lost their sixth wicket on 81 but then a partnership of 26 swung the game back to the hosts.
The introduction of spinner Sean Rutter brought immediate results as he bowled Robin Marriot with his second ball.
Stuart Hanks took a brilliant one-handed catch to remove Jonathan Coutts. With eight down Webb was re-introduced and in the next two overs managed to send the off-stump cartwheeling to remove tail-enders.
Goring ended 142 all out meaning Pagham won a tense game by six runs. Scott bowled a magnificent spell of 5-56 in 18 overs.
Stirlands v Worthing
Worthing captain Martyn Swift won the toss and had little hesitation in batting first under clear skies.
Stirlands’ opening bowling partnership of Jamaine Bullen and David Briance started in their usual manner and they brought early success as Joshua Hyde played around a straight delivery by Bullen.
Cameron New was caught by Adam Downing, ending an elegant innings of 23 leaving Worthing rocking on 37-2. It was 54-3 with the first of several unbelievable catches as David Briance took a low one-handed catch to his right to remove Hamish Llewelyn for 10 off George Briance.
Nick Ballamy proved effective at dispatching any delivery that pitched slightly too short. Shortly after bringing up his 50, Ballamy was brilliantly caught by a diving Adam Downing low to his right and Worthing were 150-5.
Harry Dunn and Giorgio Rigali combined to add a vital 48 for the seventh wicket and Worthing ended on 210-9.
Stirlands’ usual opening partnership of William Gubbins and George Briance began the run chase but Briance was trapped by Rigali before Gubbins was caught in the slips by New off Ragali to leave Stirlands 28-2.
Torquil Deacon feathered a delivery from Swift and Bullen had his stumps rearranged next ball, leaving Stirlands teetering at 28-4.
Adam Downing was next to depart and when Dom Fecher was out it was 59-6.
George Coles channelled his inner Boycott, defending his wicket as if his life depended on it while managing to punish any rare wayward delivery.
Having put on 84 with Jake Moores, who showed maturity far beyond his young age, Coles was run out for 73 with only three overs left. Adam Norris joined Moores and the pair saw off the final few deliveries earning their side a hard-fought draw.
Stirlands slipped to second place and go to Roffey seconds on Saturday.
Horsham Trinity v West Wittering
Div 5 West
West Wittering claimed maximum points when travelled to Horsham Trinity to face their first XI for the first time.
Skipper Carl Tupper lost the toss and Wittering were asked to bowl on what looked a batsman’s paradise.
Harry Staight and Steve Day opened the bowling but Day found it difficult to find his rhythm early on and Tupper replaced him. Staight bowled superbly, with nagging lines and expert nouse.
Trinity were 20 for no wicket when Staight claimed his first, athletically caught by Brandon Trimmer with the gloves.
After the ball was lost in the bushes of Victory Road, Tupper (1-21) used the replacement to his advantage, with their skipper Ben Chappels (19) expertly caught by Kieran Baker at square leg.
Then the Staight show started as Harry continued with his magic and claimed a further five victims on his way to season-best figures of 6-24.
Joe Pink (2-4) joined the party with two victims clean bowled, with Matt Jewiss (1-2) taking the last with a scrambled catch from Sam Wookey at gully. Trinity were 80 all out.
Tupper and Trimmer opened up the chase, going after the Trinity bowlers early on, not letting them get settled. Tupper bludgeoned a quickfire 21 off 12 balls, resulting in opening bowler Joe Cox being taken off.
Trimmer hit bad balls to the boundary and was supported by Wookey (6) and Priest (10) along the way. He finished 33 not out and Wittering claimed the win and 30 points. They host Wisborough Green this week.