Middleton lose - but still have cause to celebrate

Magnus Kristensen bowling for Chichester against Three Bridges / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Magnus Kristensen bowling for Chichester against Three Bridges / Picture by Kate Shemilt

We have action featuring Middleton, Chichester Priory Park, Bognor, Stirlands and West Wittering in our latest round-up from the top five divisions of the Sussex Cricket League.

Middleton v Cuckfield

Sussex Premier

Another batting collapse cost Middleton the chance of success at home to Cuckfield - but they had reason to celebrate at the end of the day.

Cuckfield won the toss and decided to bat. Middleton took early wickets and at 87-4 Cuckfield needed a partnership – and got one as . Tom Watson and Abi Sakande put on 76 to take the score to 162, which was to prove a match-winning partnership.

Craig Fowle got the breakthrough, holding a return catch to dismiss Watson for 71. Cuckfield added 46 in the final six overs for the loss of three more wickets. The innings closed on 208-8. Russell Talman was the pick of the Middleton bowlers, with 3-22.

Middleton got off to a good start and it wasn’t until the 14th over that they lost their first wicket with the score on 43, Josh Wood first to go for 20. But soon Middleton were reduced to 58-4.

Despite an innings of 42 from captain Sean Heather, Middleton lost their last six wickets for 32, ending all out for 126.

The pick of the Cuckfield bowlers was skipper Josh Hayward, with 3-8.

Hastings’ loss at East Grinstead means Middleton have maintained their Premier League status for next season.

Chichester v Three Bridges

Division 2

League leaders and heavy promotion favourites Three Bridges were too strong for Chichester at Goodwood on a day when the hosts had wanted a good haul of points in their quest to remain in division two.

The pitch looked a little damp and under overcast skies, home captain Matt Geffen elected to bowl first.

Runs weren’t easy to come by but despite the helpful conditions, neither were wickets. New Zealander Dave Winn (31) and Joe Walker (31) joint top-scored for the visitors.

Veteran bowler Johnny Heaven, on his return to the first XI, was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3-35. A late burst of wickets restricted Three Bridges to 171 all out. Chichester took maximum bowling points.

Chichester’s batting wasn’t much to write home about. Charlie Futcher (25) top-scored as Chichester slumped to 72- 6. A late blast from Magnus Kristensen (19) and Morgan Hopkins (17no) was nothing more than consolation with Chichester bowled out for 130, giving the hosts victory by 41 runs.

Results elsewhere meant CPP retained sixth place. Critically they are 52 points above the relegation zone with 60 left to play for.

They travel to Billingshurst for their final away game of year on Saturday.

Bognor v St James Montefiore

Division 2

At the Regis Oval the visitors were invited to bat and made steady progress at Tom Prideaux de Lacy made a steady 69 and Henry Sims 56 not out. St James posted 211-6 in their 45 overs.

For Bognor zesty left-armer Scott Bingham was the pick of the attack, grabbing 3-44.

Bognor’s response was juddery. The hirsute Jim Fallick led the charge with 61 and contributions came from all around the team. However Charlie Davies with 5-18 proved the difference as St James ran out winners by 19 runs.

Vital wins for top teams
Stirlands v Roffey 2nd

Division 3

Stirlands returned to Birdham in search of another win in their push for second place – but couldn’t manage it.

Stirlands elected to bat on an overcast day. Jake Moores and Will Gubbins opened and Moores’ charge at the left-arm spin of Fred Bridges saw him bowled, the score 14-1.

Gubbins reached 19 before pulling a long hop from the off-spin of Matthew Bidlake to backward square leg, where Raj Choudhiri took a catch. Jamaine Bullen followed without scoring, caught by Chris Webb. And 33-3 became 40-4 when George Coles swept Bidlake to Choudhiri.

George Briance worked hard for 16 before edging Mark Pavlovic’s off-spin to Leigh Harrison at slip. Ed Clarke made 14 before Bridges picked up his first wicket, inducing a catch to Oliver Rivers.

Dom Fecher drove to point, and at 66-7 Stirlands were staring down the barrel. Dan Mugford and Adam Downing added 20 before Downing fell to Choudhiri, and Mugford followed for a battling 21.

At 89-9, last pair David Briance and Harry Moores did their best to drag Stirlands to respectability and they added 18 before Tom Barnes bowled Moores. Stirlands were all out for 107, all 10 wickets falling to spin.

Bullen and David Briance knew they would have to bowl extremely well to defend 107, but the opening Roffey partnership of Webb and Rivers put on 50, effectively put the game to bed.

Bullen and Briance bowled well with little reward. Gubbins and George Briance came into the attack, butWebb reached 33 before holing out to Bullen on the deep mid-wicket boundary off Briance.

Stirlands picked up their first point when Rivers chopped on off Mugford for 23. Max Rivers and Conor Griffiths followed, Rivers well stumped by Coles off Briance and Griffiths chipping Mugford to Bullen at mid wicket for an extra point for Stirlands, but Roffey progressed to their target without further alarm to win by six wickets.

Stirlands have plenty to put right this weekend at West Chiltington.

Wisborough Green v West Wittering

Division 5 West

Overcast. Wet strip. Thick outfield. These were the conditions West Wittering faced away at Wisborough Green – understandably, they were asked to bat.

Gareth Lendrum and Sam Wookey did not get the start they wanted. Lendrum was caught and bowled in the first over, bringing in skipper Carl Tupper.

Runs were difficult to come by and Wookey (5) was caught fishing outside off. Jake Irwin-Brown was out for 12 and 50-2 soon became 64-7 with Tupper dismissed for 36.

Liam Bates (37no) salvage something with support from Jack Harte (6) and Kieran Baker (8), leading the team to a total of 129 all out.

Wisborough Green started quickly – shots were flying in the air but were finding gaps. Harry Staight (2-39) brought about the first wicket with some fine swing bowling.

Joe Pink (0-13), in his bid to be leading wicket taker in the league, was unfortunate not to take a wicket, with two difficult chances going down.

The home team reached 70-1 at the drinks break. A few quick wickets, including an outstanding run-out by Lendrum and Tupper (1-30), kept hope alive but Wisborough chased down the total in the 32nd over, with five wickets remaining.

Promotion is no longer possible for West Wittering after Chippingdale won.

Elsewhere, West Wittering second XI secured an emphatic victory against Eastergate seconds, keeping alive their hopes of staying up, with one game to go.

West Wittering's day to savour