Cuckfield put to the sword by league leaders Preston Nomads
This weekend’s Premier Division clash between Cuckfield CC and Preston Nomads CC was an affair between two teams at contrasting ends of the table.
The weather conditions leading into the game gave Cuckfield captain, Ben Candfield, good reason to bowl after winning his second toss of the season.
Jimmy Anyon (3-57) and Will Rogers (2-27) took the new ball for Cuckfield and bowled well in tandem to build pressure and take a couple of early wickets with a moving ball.
Nomads found themselves slightly on the back foot in the opening exchanges, but some very astute batting from Jake Hutson (41) allowed them to build some sort of foundation after a tricky start.
Before drinks, the game was evenly poised, but the first ball back swung the game into Cuckfield’s favour once again after Nick Patterson (1-36) found the outside edge of Hutson’s bat to reduce Nomads to 89-4.
This period of the innings was an ideal time for Cuckfield to introduce their middle-over bowlers.
Despite consistent line and length from Josh Hayward (1-74) and Patterson; Nomads found themselves a foothold in the game.
Positive intent from Dan Phillips (52) and Kashif Ibrahim (55*) allowed their lower order to bat with flair. Will Collard (21) and Navin Patel (17) produced a range of powerful strokes meaning Nomads finished on 229-7 off their 58 overs.
A flurry of rain towards the end of the first innings meant that Cuckfield’s opening batsmen would really have to dig deep if they wanted to see off the new ball and put themselves in with a chance of chasing the target.
After a couple of early appeals and a drop catch, Joe Ludlow (34) found a rhythm with some excellently timed shots on both sides of the wicket.
At the other end, Greg Wisdom took a patient approach to soak up pressure and see off the new ball. The combination of positive, but conservative play allowed the opening pair to reach 45 before Ludlow was trapped in-front.
Wisdom then accelerated by upping the intent towards Nomad’s spin bowlers; a couple of well executed sweeps took him to 31 before he ran past one off Owen Kernan’s bowling.
From here, it really was a day for Cuckfield’s middle order to forget. Apart from Ollie Graham, Cuckfield’s batsmen fell quickly after falling to some good bowling or poor shot section.
Kernan (7-31) took full advantage of Cuckfield’s depleted confidence by picking up the crucial wickets of Nipun Karunanayake (30) and Graham (28), whilst Bertie Foreman also weighed in at the other end with some economical bowling and the wicket of Joe Cambridge (one).
From here it very much seemed like a losing battle for Cuckfield - despite their strong start. Hayward (14*) did his utmost to make a stand towards the end but inevitably the batsmen around him fell and brought the game to a close 44 overs into the second innings on 152 all out.
CUCKFIELD CC 2ND XI
With the halfway point of the season coming upon us, Cuckfield CC 2nd XI were in a good position in Division 4 West, sitting in third.
They made the trip southwest to East Preston CC looking to keep pressure on the two teams above them in the table.
East Preston won the toss and chose to bowl on what looked a tricky pitch, and this showed with the East Preston bowlers getting a lot out of the pitch early on.
Decent bowling coupled with terrible shots from Cuckfield batsmen left them struggling at 40-3. However, Chris Taylor (64) alongside Ben Caidan (12) and Sam Candfield (20) showed that on this pitch you needed to work hard for your runs and be patient.
Good batting from those three took Cuckfield to 123-5. Taylor continued to hold the innings together, though wickets kept falling at regular intervals.
Important cameos from Matt Slinger (19*) and Theo Barker (14) took Cuckfield to 184 all out. The pick of the East Preston bowlers were Thomas Chapman (4-38) and Tom Reeves (4-19).
Determined to make amends for their below par batting performance, Cuckfield put serious pressure on East Preston taking two wickets in the first over.
Candfield (6-24) and Chris Osborne kept runs to a minimum and caused the East Preston batsmen to play reckless shots.
Cuckfield’s score of 184 seemed a long way away after Candfield took the first six wickets, leaving East Preston on 37-6.
Will Galbraith-Gibbons (2-16) continued the onslaught with Candfield taking two quick wickets. Then, a good partnership between Tim Miles (51) and Colin Smith (19*) took East Preston beyond 100 and looking to chase down Cuckfield’s total.
Eventually Miles fell to Slinger (2-12) after a heroic knock. It didn’t take long for Slinger to knock over the last wicket to give Cuckfield the win by 55 runs in a very entertaining game.
Cuckfield travel to Ram CC next week, looking to continue their momentum going into the second half of the season.
CUCKFIELD CC 3RD XI
After a string of disappointing results, Cuckfield CC 3rd XI were looking to break their run of bad form against a Hurstpierpoint CC team who had a similarly mixed season in Division 7 Central.
Goff Baker won the toss and elected to bowl in overcast conditions, backing his attack on a very friendly looking deck.
Young seamer Josh Downey (2-29) continued his run of form with the ball, bowling a testing line and length and removing the Hurst opener Myles Burrows for a duck - with thanks to an excellent Dom Seed catch.
Chaotic running cost Hurst their other opener, Mike Thatcher (seven), and Cuckfield looked to be in the game.
Jack Best (1-12) replaced Sam Shepherd (0-55) from the bottom end and looked to keep the pressure on. However, the Hurst middle order fought back brilliantly with 88 from Alexander Bushell accompanied mainly by Ryan Green (40).
Clean ball striking and some questionable lengths from CCC meant that Hurst ended on 225-6, a way above par score.
Knowing they faced a tough task, Cuckfield sent in Jeremy Crampton and Sammy Hart. Hopes of a strong start were quickly dashed as Crampton fell for a duck to an absolute jaffa from Hurst opener Lloyd Stephens (1-14).
This brought in-form Seed to the crease. The young pair batted well against some excellent seam bowling.
However, the run rate was always creeping up due to good fielding from the home side. Needing about ten an over, Hart (20) and Seed (40) both fell trying to push the score on.
With these two out and the game getting away from Cuckfield, there was little the rest of the batting could do on a track that was extremely bowler friendly.
Wickets fell at frequent intervals and CCC ended 100 all out. Another disappointing result for the 3rd XI but with one half of the season completed there are reasons to be optimistic for the second round of fixtures.
CUCKFIELD CC 4TH XI
Twenty-two men gathered on the North Field at Cuckfield CC 4th XI against Forest Row CC 2nd XI in Division 11 Central (North) for a quick game of cricket, knowing there was a bigger game to come in the evening.
Cuckfield were put into bat and the openers went out to bat on an overcast afternoon. After losing Tom Hay (duck) early to Andrew Thilagarajan (2-28), Tom Wright (63) started to find his timing. Caleb Hawkins (10) came and went after miscuing one straight back to Murray Divall (1-42) to put Forest Row on top.
However, Ellis Buckeridge (23) alongside Wright steadied the ship and set the platform for a Cuckfield onslaught. After two quick wickets looked to dent Cuckfield setting a challenging target, Adam Jull (56*) and Bertie Sheldon (37*) took the hosts to a formidable total of 234 for 5.
A slow first innings by Forest Row led for a quick 20-minute turn around - with an eye on the England match. An early couple of wickets for George Ponsford (2-25), with Roland Evans (duck) gloving behind to stand in skipper Caleb Hawkins and Ranith De Silva (nine) falling to a fantastic running catch over this shoulder by Adam Hatt.
Some very tight bowling by the other opener Jull (1-18) put the hosts firmly in the driving seat. Bryce Van Straaten (0-27) and Jamie Tuddenham (0-26) put the squeeze on Forest Row leaving them needing about 170 from the last 15 overs.
Cuckfield’s bowling display didn't stop there with some tight bowling by Sheldon (2-36) and Hatt (1-25) and a run out by Hawkins saw Cuckfield to victory by 69 runs.