Cuckfield and Haywards Heath share the spoils in Mid Sussex derby
Cuckfield CC headed to Haywards Heath CC for a bottom-of-the table clash in the Premier Division, with both teams looking for an opportunity to take 30 points.
Heath skipper Jonny Phelps won the toss and, on one of the nicest days of the summer so far, elected to bat.
However, it was Cuckfield that took the upper hand. Will Rogers dismissed Jethro Menzies for four and Jimmy Anyon (2-44) claimed the wicket of Max Barson (duck) to leave Heath at 17-2.
The fight back then came from captain Phelps and Shelton Forbes. It was the reliable Josh Hayward who came on to break the 64-run partnership, getting Phelps caught and bowled for a well-made 48.
The middle period saw Cuckfield restrict the Heath batsmen and picking up chances along the way.
Hayward continued to bowl well, and picked up another three wickets, ending with figures of 4-60 from 18 overs.
It was Forbes who proved hard to dismiss, but his innings of 59 came to an end through a great bit of fielding from Cuckfield overseas Nipun Karunanayake.
At this stage, Heath had built to 157-7. A strong partnership between Chris Blunt (33) and Ben Matthew (42*) carried Heath up towards a par score.
It was Anyon who finally dismissed Blunt, and the final few overs saw Heath creep up to 243-8 off the full allotment of 58 overs.
From a Cuckfield perspective this was a chaseable total. Cuckfield started well, with Joe Cambridge striking the ball sweetly.
It was on 25 where Heath and Phelps (3-56) first struck, dismissing ex-Heath player Chris Mole for one. From this point on, runs and wickets seemed steady.
Many Cuckfield batsmen was able to get a start, but a combination of patient bowling and poor shots resulted in a regular stream of wickets.
Cambridge (31) was the next to fall with Karunanayake (10) following shortly after, both to Menzies (3-46).
Ollie Graham made a solid 32, before chipping one in the air off the bowling of Phelps.
At 85-4 the game was still all to play for, but Ollie Bailey (3-42) was able to dismiss Gayler for 14 and Henry Rogers was outdone by Phelps not long after for 10. This left Cuckfield on 102-6 and fighting an uphill battle.
One of Cuckfield’s only significant partnerships was between captain Ben Candfield (26) and Anyon (27).
This brought some optimism back into Cuckfield’s innings, but Candfield was dismissed by Bailey with 12 overs to go at 148-7.
It was Cuckfield’s lower order that once again dug in, with Hayward making a solid 19.
Anyon fell to Bailey and, with Hayward’s dismissal to Menzies and 14 balls to left to face, Heath sensed an opportunity for victory.
But Nick Patterson (one*) and Rogers (seven*) at 10 and 11 were able to hold on for the draw.
Heath are now unbeaten in three but are still 11 points behind Cuckfield.
Heath travel to Eastbourne CC this Saturday, while Cuckfield host Brighton & Hove CC.
CUCKFIELD CC 2ND XI
On a very hot day, Cuckfield CC 2nd XI captain George Galbraith-Gibbons chose to bowl first, which was looking like the wrong decision, in their Division 4 West home clash against Chichester Priory Park CC 2nd XI.
Chichester got off to a flying start and both openers looked very comfortable. Early chances came for Cuckfield but weren’t taken as Mark Bamford (71) was dropped in single figures.
Bamford and William Price (38) took Chichester to 124 until Greg Wisdom (2-30) and Matt Slinger (2-36) quickly dismissed both openers to bring two new batsmen to the crease.
From then on Chichester struggled to build partnerships as Cuckfield took wickets at regular intervals. But towards the end of Chichester’s innings, their middle order tried to push on to post a competitive total.
Toby Toft (33) and Jonathan Maynard (23) started to accelerate for Chichester but were both dismissed by seam bowlers Will Galbraith-Gibbons (2-31) and Sam Candfield (2-28), which led Chichester to a total of 230 that looked under par on an improving pitch being dried out by the sun.
Cuckfield’s innings did not get off to the best start as opener Will Rossiter fell early for a duck. This brought Wisdom (82) to the crease who combined with George Galbraith-Gibbons (87) to put on a partnership worth 204 runs.
Cuckfield’s hope of a nine-wicket win were lost as George Galbraith-Gibbons fell to Rowe (2-48) which brought Connor Bettsworth to the crease. Bettsworth went for only six runs which meant Chris Taylor (six*) had to help Cuckfield over the finish line with ten overs to spare.
Third-placed Cuckfield now look forward to an important clash with top-of-the-table Steyning CC in a fight for promotion next week.
CUCKFIELD CC 3RD XI
Off the back of a nail-biting win last week, Cuckfield CC 3rd XI welcomed Southwick CC to the North Field, eager to avenge their Division 7 Central loss earlier in the year.
Stand-in captain Rodney Candfield won the toss, much to the relief of his side, and elected to bat with the sun beating down.
On what appeared to be an extremely batting friendly pitch, Cuckfield sent out last week’s hero Josh Downey and Dom Sear looking to put early pressure on Southwick’s attack.
However, Downey fell first ball of the innings, bringing in Dom Seed slightly earlier than he would have expected.
Southwick opener, Ben Carpenter (3-52), had his tail up and removed Seed for five and then the experienced Nick Walters for another duck and suddenly Cuckfield were under the cosh.
Jeremy Crampton entered the fray with the score at 10-3 and looked to settle the nerves. Sear and Crampton batted well, finding gaps and keeping the rate ticking over.
But disaster stuck, just as the pair were starting to motor, Crampton pulled up after a swift run between the wickets and had to retire hurt.
Piers Harrison came in and batted watchfully for his 14 before being run out by Craig Dawson. The rest of the batting line up offered little resistance but managed to get the score close to the magic 200-mark, mainly thanks to a dogged 92 from Sear.
Maximum batting points looked all but certain until Southwick’s Craig Dawson (5-38) took quick wickets to leave Cuckfield at 198-9.
A hero was needed, and Crampton answered. Lazarus-esque, he re-donned the pads and hobbled out to the middle with the hare footed Candfield as his willing runner.
Battling through the pain, Crampton and James Buckeridge battled Cuckfield up to 207.
Despite Crampton’s heroics, Cuckfield knew they were a few short of a good total but were confident that their bowling attack could take the game away from the visitors.
A returning Chris Osbourne took the new ball with Candfield and immediately set about their business.
It was Osbourne who put on a clinic of swing bowling- taking 5-18 runs. Southwick had no answer for the pair - Candfield bowling his five overs for just five runs.
There was no way back for the away side as only Adam Walter (36) offered any meaningful resistance. Downey (1-23), Sear (1-8) and Sammy Hart (2-36) shared the remaining wickets as Southwick limped to 119 all out.
CUCKFIELD CC 4TH XI
Sun-soaked Warninglid Cricket Ground was the scene, as the captains of Division 11 Central (North) outfits Mid Sussex Heathens CC and Cuckfield CC 4th XI strode out to the middle brimming with nothing but confidence.
As the coin was tossed into the clear blue sky, a sense of anticipation hung around the secluded cricket ground setting.
The coin landed in favour of the hosts Heathens who promptly chose to bat on a hard and true wicket that had been bathed in sunlight for the past week.
Without much delay, the Cuckfield team, along with the Heathens’ openers, descended onto the field of play.
The warm air carried the excitement of the crowd and players as the opening bowler Bertie Sheldon (0-23) ran in and produced a full delivery outside the off stump.
The Cuckfield openers got off to a solid start restricting the batting side to a run rate of two an over.
The batsmen seemed untroubled until Tim Power (1-4) trapped Joe Russell plumb in front for two, taking his only wicket of the match.
Heathens number three, Grady Pummell, went about his work in a simple but effective fashion, anything remotely short, or full for that matter, was dispatched with apparent ease and the pair were going along nicely until Matthew Power (2-31) claimed his first victim, the opening batsmen Harry Collins for 17.
After Cuckfield had taken this crucial scalp, wickets continued to fall at a steady rate with the Heathens slipping from 71-2 to 90-6 which included the dangerous Pummell for 47. Adam Jull took 3-28 to help turn the tide in Cuckfield’s favour.
After a few overs from Will Ward (0-42), the game was being dragged in favour of the Heathens until Adam Hatt (2-16) picked up the wickets of Jamie Wilkes (29) and George Barnes (26), which led to the Heathens being bowled out for 181-9 - Jack Brown retiring hurt and couldn’t carry on after a bad injury to his mouth and lips.
After an incredibly short turnaround, the Cuckfield openers Bertie Sheldon (seven) and George Ponsford (one) were subjected to some very testing bowling from the Heathens’ openers.
Then, in the second over, Ponsford was presented with a decent off cutter from the ever-present Pummell which proved too good for his defence as Cuckfield lost their first wicket.
Tom Hay stayed briefly at the crease for nine, but then he chipped a cover drive straight to Collins at cover. Then a collapse worthy of the England test team itself soon ensued.
Ellis Buckeridge, Jull, Hatt, Seb Sheldon and Matt Power didn’t trouble the scorers as Cuckfield’s hopes of winning the match were dashed in a spectacular fashion with Pummell picking up figures of 5-0 off four overs which left no doubt in anyone’s mind who the man of the match was.
It then became a game of survival for Bertie Sheldon and Ward, however, the partnership didn’t last long as Sheldon smacked a long hop straight to mid-wicket.
The wickets of Tim Power and Paul Meader soon followed as Cuckfield were bowled out for an embarrassing score of 28.