Cuckfield crowned kings of Sussex T20 cricket
After beating Bognor Regis in the semi-finals, Cuckfield headed down to The 1st Central County Ground in Hove to face St Peters in the T20 Cup final
Despite the earlier games in the day being weather affected, the later start meant that the full 20 over allocation could be played, with the game starting at 6:30pm under lights. It was St Peter’s who won the toss, and elected to bowl.
Cuckfield opener Joe Cambridge set the tone from ball one, dismissing a short-pitched delivery over cover for four.
The power play saw a combination of tight bowling from Phil Smith (0-7) and Nimanda Madushanka (2-26), but both Cambridge and opening partner Joe Ludlow were able to find scoring options.
The pair amassed 35 before Ludlow was bowled by Wazir Khan (1-27) for 14. This brought Ollie Graham to the crease, Cuckfield’s stand out performer with the bat this season.
What followed was a fine partnership worth 67, with a combination of power hitting from Cambridge and a touch of quality from Graham.
It was the latter who departed, dragging an attempted reverse sweep back on to his own stumps off the bowling of Max Wheatley (1-13) for 33, in the 13th over.
Brad Gayler was the next man in, and when Cuckfield were looking to up the run rate, this is what he delivered. The 14th over saw Gayler take 20 from it, and really swing the momentum into Cuckfield’s favour.
It was Cambridge that fell next, caught at long on off the bowling of Madushanka, for a fine 61 from just 45 balls, including three sixes.
With the total at 139, and entering the final overs of the match, Cuckfield were looking at a large score. However, some good death bowling, meant Cuckfield crept to 148 off 19 overs, with Madushanka claiming the wicket of Gayler for 29 in the process.
The last over saw Chris Mole, who it was later found out had broken his shoulder diving into the crease, perform a combination of reverse and regular paddles, scored 12 off it to help Cuckfield end the innings on 160-4.
With the game in the balance and with it being a good pitch to bat on, it was Cuckfield that started on top in the second innings.
A spell of tight bowling from Will Rogers (1-27) and Josh Hayward (0-16) left St Peters on just 16 from the first four overs.
Seeing the run rate begin to climb, St Peters captain Max Wheatley decided to make the first move, striking three fours and a six off the next two overs, and alongside Toby Peirce the score moved to 41 from the first six overs.
The first ball outside the power play saw Cuckfield claim their first wicket. A mis-field from Cuckfield captain Ben Candfield, was quickly recovered, and with both batsman at the non strikers end, he claimed an easy run out dismissing Peirce for 13.
Candfield (1-27) then followed up his run out with a wicket in the next over, bowling his opposite number for 27, and leaving the score at 50-2 after eight overs.
Nick Patterson (1-25) then joined in on the action, getting Rohan Doyle lbw for a duck, and swinging the game solidly into Cuckfield’s favour.
Despite being against the rate, new batsman Sam Wheatley joined overseas player Madushanka and were able to score quickly. Alongside regaining momentum, the pair managed to put on 41 before Sam Wheatley was caught by Harry Clark, off the bowling of Graham for 18.
With the game heading towards a crunch period, the run rate was beginning to increase. However, Madushanka was still going strong, and some clean boundary striking meant the game was still in the balance heading into the final six overs.
New man Max Lincoln was unable to make an impact, with Greg Wisdom (1-14) clean bowling him for a duck, but conceding 15 runs in the process.
The very next over saw Cuckfield claim the big wicket of Madushanka, hauling out to deep mid wicket off the bowling of Graham for a fine 36 from just 24 balls. Deserved of a mention was the catch by Rogers, under pressure and under lights, running in well from the deep to take it cleanly.
From this point onward Cuckfield had the control they were searching for, with Graham closing out the innings from one end and finishing with solid figures of 3-23 from his four overs.
Rogers also claimed a wicket in his final over, dismissing William Goss lbw for six.
St Peters fought valiantly in the final few overs, accumulating steadily but not able to keep up with the run rate. The innings ended with St Peters on 136, falling 24 short of Cuckfield’s first innings 160.
After a tough league season, which saw them relegated from the Premier Division, Cuckfield were incredibly happy to come away with a cup victory, and enjoyed the occasion in an exciting T20 match against a strong opposition.