Cuckfield travelled to Middleton in what was a must-win fixture for both sides, with Middleton sitting 9th in the table and Cuckfield 7th.
Having won his first toss in 4 weeks, Cuckfield skipper Josh Hayward didn’t hesitate to bat first on a good-looking pitch.
Looking to get Cuckfield off to the strong start they have so often missed, Greg Wisdom and Steffan Piolet strode out to the middle. Middleton’s opening bowler, Bajan Jofra Archer, hurried Piolet for pace early in his first over, before producing a ball that both swung and seamed back in, Piolet shouldered arms and saw a significant chunk of his off-stump dislodged. This was a precursor of what was to follow, as Cuckfield saw their top order ripped out by a truly devastating display of fast bowling. Archer first had Stafford caught behind playing away from his body, before removing Cummins (0), Chase (0) and Cambridge (0) in the space of 4 balls, leaving Cuckfield reeling at 8-5.
But, with Archer carrying a slight back injury, his opening spell was limited to just 5 overs, and following his removal from the attack Cuckfield began perhaps their greatest of escapes. Campopiano, buoyed by quick runs in recent weeks, joined Wisdom at the crease and began to knuckle down against a bowling attack that sorely missed the injured Archer. Campopiano’s aggressive shot making contrasted beautifully with Wisdom’s clever placement and strike rotation, with Cuckfield rebuilding quickly on an easy paced pitch. The Middleton captain tried everything, but both batsman continued to score freely, with Campopiano in particular playing some fine shots, including one pull shot that landed over the tennis courts. Both reached 50 with ease, and Campopiano continued to play aggressively, reaching an attractive, counter-attacking century before the left arm spin of Beck Hemingway saw one slide on at Wisdom, trapping him LBW for 60, the score now reading 176-6. Wisdom and Campopiano’s partnership of 168 is Cuckfield’s second highest ever for the 6th wicket. Ben Candfield continued where Wisdom had left off, playing some beautiful attacking shots while Campopiano continued his assault. Hemingway finally removed him on 123, inc 17 fours and 2 sixes. This set the platform perfectly for Nick Patterson, who strode to the crease and smashed his way to 41 off 22 balls, ably supported by Candfield, who holed out in the last over for 34. Cuckfield declared on 265, leaving Middleton 55 overs to chase the runs.
The ever dependant Nick Patterson opened the bowling, removing Hemingway for the third time this season with one that stopped on him, caught close on the leg side by Candfield. Sean Heather and Ben Hansford came out and made their intentions clear, both striking the ball hard, before Heather saw his stumps rearranged by Jamie Hutchings, getting the ball to jag back off the surface. The introduction of spin, in the form of Hayward, gave Cuckfield even more encouragement, as he extracted significant turn and bounce off a surface that didn’t offer the Middleton spinners anything. Haythornwaite played round a straight one from Piolet, leaving them 51-3, before Hansford misjudged his trip down the wicket off Hayward, Campopiano completing the stumping. Archer looked to attack the bowlers, but Candfield’s leg spin had the last laugh, Archer’s sweep skewed up in the air and Piolet completed the catch. Some counter attacking batting from Patrick Colvin and Ender looked to put the pressure back on the visiting team, before Hayward (4-52) finally got one to catch Ender’s edge, well caught at slip by Patterson. Roston Chase (2-14) then got Colvin LBW playing across the line, before Hayward found his line to slide one on to Rufey, before a spinning delivery caught Hanley’s edge to be caught by Chase diving at gully. Chase caused all sorts of trouble from the other end, his height leading to excess bounce and spin, before he finally sneaked one through Keelsn Shoulder’s defence, bowling Middleton out for 165.
A hugely important win for the visitors. Cuckfield host Preston Nomads on Saturday, currently being the only team in the league to beat the Fulking side.
Cuckfield 2nd XI v Worthing
Cuckfield 2s continued their winning ways with a victory over Worthing. Worthing won the toss and elected to bat. With both openers not looking comfortable against the bowling of Taylor and Cummins, it was only a matter of time before Taylor dismissed Rogers (8) with a smart catch from new signing Jack Best. Worthing skipper Harris (19) then quickly followed to 18 year old Luke Cummins. Cuckfield continued to put pressure on Worthing, who struggled to build any kind of batting partnership resulting in wickets falling on a regular basis. Some great discipline bowling from Luke Cummins, Jack Denyer and Matt Denyer all getting results for their hard work. Robinson again terrorised the middle order finishing with figures of (4/25) leaving Worthing 126 all out.
Cuckfield got off to a poor start losing their opening pair of Wynn (6) and Rossiter (5) leaving Cuckfield on 27/2. Jack Denyer and Chris Taylor stabilised the innings before Denyer was caught with a smart catch from Pool off the bowling off Rogers for 21. With Senadhira also quickly departing for 4, Cuckfield were then 75/4. Taylor (53*) continued to battle through and took Cuckfield over the line, in spite of losing a couple more batsman in the process with Leg-spinner Gunning finishing with figures 3/20.
Another 30 points for Cuckfield who currently sit 4th in the league table. They travel to Preston Nomads on Saturday hoping to continue their winning form.
Cuckfield 3rd XI v Colemans Hatch
Cuckfield won the toss and elected to bat but lost 4 quick wickets before Piers Harrison (66) and George Manns (48) settled the innings and set a platform for the lower order to build on. A quick 18 from George Galbraith Gibbons and 32* from Rodney Candfield saw Cuckfield reach 213 all out after 46 overs. Steve Pollard took 5/63 and Steve Medhurst took 4/92.
In reply Colemans Hatch got off to a good start as opener Steve Pollard hit 69, but the evergreen Rodney Candfield removed the top 4 batsman and from then on it was only Roshan Withangamge (37) who offered any real resistance. Candfield (6/81) picked up two more wickets as two run-outs helped Cuckfield to bowl Colemans Hatch out for 183 in the penultimate over.
Cuckfield 4th XI v Lingfield
Lingfield won the toss and asked Cuckfield to have a bat and the openers Tom Wright and Sam Candfield started positively. Chris Hudson struck an early blow when Candfield played down the wrong line and was bowled with the score 23 and Wright was then caught by Jack Highland off Stephen Fallowell. Hudson then yorked Caleb Hawkins (24) and three more wickets for Fallowell meant Cuckfield were 6 down for 96. Charlie Best however took full advantage of some missed chances to build a match winning innings carrying his bat for a maiden league century. He was ably supported by Will Rogers (27) and Glenn Smith (37*) taking Cuckfield to 269 for 8 declared after 40 overs. Fallowell took 4/110 and Hudson 3/71.
Lingfield opener Jim Mclean (45), and the middle order of Geoff Unwin (28) and Peter Batty (22) provided glimmers of hope for Lingfield, but wickets fell regularly as Sam Candfield took 4/40 and Peter Collins 3/64 to bowl Lingfield out for 173 in 34 overs.