Cuckfield Cricket Club round-up: Mole hits half century but East Grinstead triumph, defeat for seconds
It was the return of 50 over cricket in the Sussex Cricket League Premier Division - and Cuckfield suffered defeat to title chasers East Grinstead.
Cuckfield 1st XI vs East Grinstead 1st XI
East Grinstead won the toss and opted to bowl first on what looked to be a good pitch for batting. However, the opening East Grinstead pair of Lewis Hatchett (3-34) and Ian Sturmer (2-30) bowled excellently up front to reduce Cuckfield to 33/3 at the end of the power play.
It was left to Ollie Graham and Chris Mole to rebuild and they batted promisingly until Graham was stumped for a well-made 40. Mole continued on though and reached an excellent fifty. Together with skipper Ben Candfield, they looked to bat Cuckfield to a competitive total. However, wickets then began to fall at regular intervals, as Cuckfield struggled to build a significant partnership. Brad Hatchett (3-39) crucially managed to remove Mole for 66 giving them a strong foothold in the game. East Grinstead bowled well at the death reducing Cuckfield to 215 all out. Only Candfield provided any substantial resistance with 39.
Cuckfield knew that early wickets were crucial to them winning the game, however they came up against an accomplished opening partnership of Leo Cammish and Will Adkin who batted sensibly and efficiently punishing any bad balls bowled by the Cuckfield openers.
Cammish was the aggressor and reached an impressive fifty off 49 balls. Ben Candfield rotated his bowlers in the hope of breaking the partnership and it worked with Ollie Graham (1-31) removing Cammish for a run a ball 70.
However, Adkin and Tom Haynes batted on recording a fifty partnership as the game slipped away from Cuckfield. Adkin batted maturely reaching 60 off 86 balls before he fell to Josh Hayward (1-35), well caught in the deep by Joe Cambridge. Will Rogers (2-45) returned, bowling an aggressive spell however it was too little too late as Ian Sturmer (16*) and Darryl Rebbetts (13*) saw East Grinstead home.
East Grinstead deserved the win and maintained their 2nd place standing in the league. Cuckfield face Middleton next week in what is a crucial game to try and avoid relegation.
Felbridge & Sunnyside 1st XI vs Cuckfield 2nd XI
Cuckfield 2nd XI visited Felbridge & Sunnyside with both teams pushing hard for promotion.
Felbridge won the toss and elected to bowl first.
They were quickly into the wickets with both openers falling cheaply.
This brought Dom Sear (50) and Greg Wisdom to the crease who batted sensibly to recover from a shaky start. Wisdom (23) was removed and this was followed by a few more quick Cuckfield wickets which restricted the flow of runs. Chris Taylor (20) batted sensibly with Sear until both were removed towards the end of the innings. Will Galbraith-Gibbons (35*) and Sam Candfield (21*) finished the innings with a flurry, getting Cuckfield up to 188. For Felbridge, opening bowlers Gavin Botha (3-25) and Nick Chadd (2-29) caused the main damage.
Cuckfield started well with three early wickets that were shared between Chris Taylor (2-17) and Sam Candfield (1-24), with Candfield being the pick of the Cuckfield attack.
These early wickets brought Thomas Sullivan (60) and Gavin Botha (44) to the crease who put on a good partnership and essentially batted Cuckfield out of the game. There was also a notable spell from young Greg Seed (2-46) who picked up 2 wickets trying to get Cuckfield back into the game. However, it was too late for Cuckfield as the Felbridge innings was seen home by Matthew Turner (27*) and Jamie Parrett (29*).
This defeat means it will be difficult for Cuckfield to obtain promotion from their first season in Division 4, but it is not mathematically over if results go their way.
Scaynes Hill 1st XI vs Cuckfield 3rd XI
The secluded Awbrook cricket ground was the setting for the highly anticipated match between Cuckfield 3rd XI and Scaynes Hill 1st XI. The two captains strode out to the middle for the toss and the coin came down in favour of Cuckfield who chose to have a bowl.
As the Scaynes Hill opener, William Symes (45), took his guard and prepared to face Theo Barker (0-31), there was a tense hum around the ground as the ball zipped past the outside edge. The other opener, Saul Dolby (15), briefly put the bowling of Chris Osbourne (1-52) to the sword, before being caught by Sammy Hart after trying to smash the ball into the adjoining field, but instead it went straight to mid-on.
This wicket left the score at 21-1, which quadrupled for the second wicket partnership as some controlled stroke play from Alan Ridgewell (31) and William Symes took the score to 86-1. The partnership then ended abruptly as they tried to sneak a quick single but Hart had other ideas as he threw the stumps down, injuring his shoulder in the process.
The Scaynes Hill batsmen continued to try and put the Cuckfield bowlers into the lush countryside that surrounded the ground, with Louie Gray (41), Will Ash (29) and Andrew Mackay (46*) all striking at over 130. Paul Meader was the pick of the bowlers for Cuckfield with figures of 4-71 off 7 overs. Scaynes Hill finished on a very competitive score of 255-6 off their 40 overs. However, despite this high total the Cuckfield camp were confident that the chase was well within their grasp.
The Cuckfield openers, Tom Wright and Tom Hay, provided an electric start with some beautiful stroke play until Tom Wright missed a straight one and was bowled by Matt Church (1-19) for 12. Hay continued to dispatch the ball to the boundary rope until he got a leading edge off Andrew Parsons (1-33) and was caught for 31 leaving the score at 49-2.
Ben Caidan followed soon after for 8 off the bowling of Loue Gray (2-15). The rest of the Cuckfield batsmen all proceeded to get starts: Sammy Hart (14), Josh Downey (17), Bertie Sheldon (18) and Adam Bennett (14) but none of them could capitalise. Then when Theo Barker was bowled by Rob Deane (3-43) for 12, Cuckfield were looking straight down the barrel. After the wickets of Tim Power (16), Christopher Osborne (9) fell and Cuckfield were all out for 181, falling 74 runs short of the target.
Cuckfield 4th XI vs Newick 2nd XI
This weekend saw the Cuckfield 4th XI take on Newick 2nd XI in what was always going to be a challenge with Newick currently second in the league table.
The toss was lost by Cuckfield who were promptly put in to bat. With the in-form batsmen not available from last week, some improvising with the batting order was required. Captain Glenn Smith and Andy Middleton took to the crease and made a decent start with Smith scoring regular boundaries before being stumped on 22. Andy Middleton was trapped LBW the next ball and Cuckfield were suddenly 24/2. Adam Jull (66) settled the ship building a very mature innings while wickets regularly fell around him, with only Tommy Watson (14) reaching double figures for the hosts.
Accurate bowling from Monty Clarke (3-28), Joshua Coppard (2-29) and Rounok Haque (2-38) made life difficult for the new batsmen. Cuckfield did manage to bat out the 40 overs with a gritty innings from Jamie Tuddenham (9*) who supported Jull well at the end of the innings and ended up with 163/9 to defend. Probably not enough on what was a lovely batting track.
Newick opened the batting with intent and anything slightly wide was punished by Josh Essex (77*) and Chetan Patel (24). However, Cuckfield were presented with several opportunities to take wickets but several dropped catches made the task of victory less likely.
After a magnificent one-handed catch by Julian Thorpe at slip off Adam Jull (1-21), a glimmer of hope was offered. However, Newick skipper Joshua Coppard (37) had other ideas and alongside Essex, took the game out away from Cuckfield. With one run needed, 13-year-old spinner Matthew Power (1-12) did manage to make a breakthrough, clean bowling Coppard but the game was well and truly over by then.