Middleton bowlers inspire big victory... Stirlands’ fine run goes on

West Wittering celebrate a wicket against Wisborough Green
West Wittering celebrate a wicket against Wisborough Green

There’s action involving Middleton, Chi Priory Park, Bognor, Stirlands, Pagham and West Wittering in our round-up of action from the top five divisions of the Susses League.

Reports below - and don’t miss the Observer every Thursday for all the local cricket coverage.

Cuckfield v Middleton

Sussex Premier

Much-changed Middleton notched an excellent victory at Cuckfield, where they bowled the hosts out for 97.

Making five changes to their team from the previous week, skipper Sean Heather won the toss and elected to bat.

The 13 points collected see Chichester move up one place to seventh. They’re at Goodwood to host Billingshurst on Saturday.

Abi Sakande, the Sussex pace bowler, opened the attack for Cuckfield but Middleton prevented him having any significant impact and after 13 overs had just lost the one wicket, that of Heather.

Opener Will Burrows and Jack Dawling were solid but at 53-3 a partnership had to be formed. It came in the form of a 107 stand between Dawling and Mahesh Rawat. Dawling made 57, his maiden Premier League 50, and Rawat, for the second week running, reached 100.

He reached his 100 with a six of the first ball of the last over and ended 105 not out from 93 balls, including 13 fours and two sixes. Middleton finished on 226-8 from 58 overs.

In reply Tommy Davies opened the attack with pace and got the vital breakthrough, claiming three wickets in his opening spell. He was well supported by Russell Talman, who bowled a good opening spell without luck – his eight overs going for just 15.

Craig Fowle joined the attack in the 16th over and broke the back of the Cuckfield middle order, claiming 4-16 in his spell of 13.2 overs.

An eighth-wicket partnership between Sakende and Nick Patterson was finally broken when Heather had Patterson caught by keeper George Holman.

Heather finished with 2-18 from eight overs as Cuckfield were bowled out for just 97 in the 42nd over, moving Middleton up to seventh.

Three Bridges v Chichester Priory Park

Div 2

Unseasonably cool conditions greeted Chichester when they arrived at Three Bridges.

After a hard fought draw the previous week, Chichester were looking for more crucial points towards their goal of staying in the division. Chichester captain Simon Hasted won the toss and elected to bat first.

Chichester’s innings was one of several handy contributions rather than big individual totals. Sam Caldera (29) and Matt Bennison (35) chipped in at the top of the order before the traditional mid-innings collapse took effect, reducing Chichester to 118-6.

Hasted (47no) and Magnus Kristensen (40) stabilising the innings and pushed Chichester passed the 200 mark for the first time this year. The innings closed on 221-8 off the maximum available 53 overs.

With 47 overs to chase 222, Three Bridges needed to keep up with the rate from the beginning. Similar to the Chichester innings, the home batsmen chipped in with moderate totals, though David Winn managed to make 50 before falling to Kristensen.

Chichester kept the hosts in check by taking regular wickets, thanks largely to a five-wicket haul from Joe De La Fuente (5-53). A nip and tuck game eventually came down to the final few overs but Three Bridges had wickets in hand.

Luke Bellers (41) and Mike Rose (35no) saw the hosts over the line with ten balls to spare, earning victory by three wickets.

The 13 points collected see Chi move up one place to seventh. They’re at Goodwood to host Billingshurst on Saturday.

St James Montefiore v Bognor

Sussex League Division 2

Looking to arrest a slight dip in fortunes, Bognor’s first XI travelled to St James looking for a return to winning ways.

Fielding first, Bognor took wickets at regular intervals to keep the hosts in check, none more so than pacemeister Marquino Mindley with 4-57 and the ever-lively Josh Sargeant with 3-34.

St James ended their innings on 169-9 with Bognor looking to chase down a palatable target.

Bognor’s batsmen tried gamely to get the win with flame-haired flayer and skipper Ryan Maskell making a bright 67, but at 116-7, the game petered out into a draw, the result seeing Bognor remain mid-table.

Roffey 2nd v Stirlands

Div 3 West

Stirlands continued their fine season when they travelled to play Roffey seconds, who had also had a solid start.

It was unseasonably chilly with jumpers replacing sun cream and Roffey decided to bowl after winning the toss.

Stirlands got off to a positive start, with Will Gubbins lacing several early boundaries through the covers off the Australian Damian Rapisarda.

Torquil Deacon had replaced George Briance as the other opener and the new pairing took the score to 37-0.

Gubbins found first slip trying to cut Rapisarda, caught by Mark Pavlovic for 23, and it was 37-2 when Jake Moores edged the same bowler to Chris Webb at second slip.

Jamaine Bullen was dropped on 0, which Roffey would live to regret. It was one of a number of spilled chances which cost Roffey dear.

Deacon gave a leading edge off Tom Barnes that found Joseph Rivers, and he departed for 23.

George Briance, in his new spot at No5, batted patiently alongside Bullen as they rebuilt the innings, accumulating off the spin pairing of Fred Bridges and Pavlovic.

Just as Briance was starting to get going, he edged Pavlovic behind for 31 before Ed Clarke was caught and bowled by the same bowler for four.

Adam Downing joined Bullen, who was unusually restrained. Downing was lbw to Bridges, who also snared Dan Mugford lbw for 10.

Dom Fecher provided more support for Bullen, who was now motoring and clearing he ropes. When Bullen was eventually bowled by Pavlovic in the final over, he had a crucial 91 to his name.

Maximum batting points were duly delivered as Adam Norris drove to long off and Stirlands ended 201-8. 

Bullen bowled Roffey’s top scorer Webb off the first ball of the reply. Bullen enjoyed coming down the hill, while David Briance wiled away at the other end.

Briance made a double breakthrough to leave Roffey 19-3. Joseph Rivers, attempting a cut shot, was well-taken by keeper Adam Norris standing up to the stumps. The next ball, Norris produced an even better piece of work as the stray ball down the leg side from Briance was run off Oliver Rivers’ bat face and straight into Norris’ gloves.

Sachin Naik edged Bullen to Norris. Max Rivers played a shot too many as his cut shot off Bullen was very well held above his head by a leaping George Briance at backward point.

It was 67-6 as Bullen athletically caught and bowled Conor Griffiths, diving forward. Tom Barnes edged David Briance behind, Norris taking his fourth catch.

A rebuilding effort from Pavlovic, accompanied by Callum Jeal, saw the runs required tick below 100. Pavlovic drove George Briance uppishly through the covers, where Gubbins, leaping high to his right, took an excellent left-handed catch.

Rapisarda soon followed him back, lbw to George Briance, and Stirlands were one wicket away. The last pair of Bridges and Jeal resisted, but with ten overs left, their resistance was broken as Bullen bowled Bridges to finish with 5-51.

Stirlands win by 68 runs, and D Briance (3-56) and G Briance (2-19) also bowled excellently. 

Stirlands remain unbeaten and are joint top of the division. They welcome West Chiltington to Church Lane this weekend. 

Pagham v Three Bridges 2nd

Div 3 West

On a blustery day at Pagham, Three Bridges won the toss and decided to bowl.

Pagham made a solid start with their sixth new opening partnership of the season with Jack Stannard and Nick Tabberer putting on 39 for the first wicket.

Stannard and Justin Scott were removed in the same over before Tabberer and Barratt put on 50-plus before the former was removed for 42.

Another explosive performance from Rico Webb, with 50 from 30 balls, put Pagham in a very strong position and a flamboyant finish to Barratt’s innings brought him a fantastic debut first XI 100 which prompted a declaration with Pagham on 268-6.

Three Bridges never got to grips with Pagham’s bowling attack with Scott (4-33) and Webb (2-21) taking early wickets to leave the away side 36-5.

Some of the Three Bridges batsmen did show some fight, such as Charlie Dennis with 25, but they never recovered from their poor start and Sean Rutter cleared things up with 2-4 to bring Pagham a well-deserved 30 points.

West Wittering v Wisborough Green

Div 5 West

Wittering had to settle for a winning draw againat Wisborough Green on a blustery day at the Meadow.

Wittering chose to bat on a hard but green deck. Early signs of variable bounce made Wittering question their decision, but Mark Taylor and Gareth Lendrum saw off the new ball.

Taylor (18) was the first to go, with Lendrum (27) not far behind. Captain Carl Tupper was joined by Brandon Trimmer and they built a partnership.

They shifted the momentum back in Wittering’s favour. In the 23rd over, Tupper reached his first half-century of the season, with Trimmer sitting pretty on 34 at drinks.

Throwing back to Year 8 in their Chichester High School days, Tupper supported Trimmer on his way to 50. Both kept the score ticking, but the 140-run partnership came to an end when Trimmer was trapped lbw for a fine 75.

Tupper stuck around for a couple more overs, but was caught at cover for 74. The lower order all chipped in and took Wittering to a total of 251-9 off 47 overs. James Self, despite a broken nose in the first couple of overs, was the pick of the bowlers with 4-25.

Steve Day and Harry Staight took the new ball for Wittering. Staight again struck early with a perfect snick behind caught by Trimmer.

Jordan Bell (22) looked set for a big score, but the first of two outstanding catches from Sam Wookey put a stop to that. Joe Pink (3-40) took two wickets. With the score 111-7 and ten overs remaining, Wittering had to push hard.

Captain James Sadler (61) put up resistance, but was removed in the last over to a catch by Steve Day, a cracker.

Matt Jewiss (1-22) and Tupper (2-25) contributed to the wicket tally. Wisborough finished on 175-8, meaning a winning draw for Wittering. Next up, Wittering face bottom side Eastergate.