Cuckfield entered the first game of the premier league season with the winter signings of Bradley Gayler, Thomas Weston and Sydney Sixers’ Australian batsman Jordan Silk lining up in a strong XI.
Visitors Roffey lost the toss and took to the field first on what looked to be a dry pitch. Silk stroked 25 before becoming the first of 7 victims for Roffey opening bowler George Fleming, who’s slow bowling and unerring accuracy proved the perfect fit on a slow, early season pitch. Cuckfield found themselves in trouble, having slipped to 76-6, before a lower order revival, lead by Campopiano (28) and continued by Patterson (28) and Hayward (21) pushed the Cuckfield score up to 143, before losing the final wicket with 4 balls to spare. Luke Barnard’s left arm spin (2-42) acted as the perfect foil for the guile of Fleming, who finished up with 7-69 from 28.2 uninterrupted overs.
The Roffey openers strode out to bat with confidence high, needing only 144 to win thanks to the efforts of their bowlers. While seemingly not a tall order, it became quickly apparent that it would be no easy task. Nick Patterson got the ball to move both ways early on, accounting for two Roffey batsmen to leave them 26-2. Rohit Jagota arrived at the crease, playing some enterprising shots to take Roffey to 103-3 and the game away from Cuckfield. However, the introduction of Greg Wisdom into the attack changed the course of the game. First Webb was needlessly run out, Khan (0) was caught off the leading edge, Jagota (36) trapped LBW and Davies bowled to give Wisdom three wickets and the home side hope. At 120-7 the game looked finely poised, but Daniel Smith (18*) and Fleming saw them home with 3 wickets to spare.
Cuckfield 1s vs Development XI
Following the previous day’s loss, a young Cuckfield side looked to bounce back quickly against the visiting Development XI. Cuckfield won the toss and decided to bowl first. New signing Tom Weston opened the bowling with Jamie Hutchings, and quickly justified the decision to bowl first with 5 wickets between them. Hutchings continued to show an impressive ability to get the ball bouncing and moving sharply, bowling both his victims to finish with 2-28.
But it was Tom Weston who stole the show, a brilliant display of disciplined fast bowling, including a sharp, seaming delivery that climbed off a length, well caught by Jordan Silk. Academy veteran Tim Moses brought with him calmness and experience that was otherwise lacking among his noticeably younger team mates, playing sensibly on the way to 41, ably supported by the impressive Nick Smith. Skipper Hayward introduced himself into the attack, and got the ball to turn and bounce to the left handers, Smith well caught at leg-slip by Silk, before Moses, having just hit a trademark 6 down the ground, was deceived in the flight, mis-hitting to midwicket where Tom Morrissey completed his third catch of the innings. Lasting just 28.5 overs, the development XI were all out for a well below par 101.
Cuckfield openers Silk and Mitchinson strode to the crease and quickly set about chasing down the target. Mitchinson played intelligently - pouncing on anything wide, whether short or full - while Silk set about dispatching anything that erred too full or too short.
His maiden 50 for Cuckfield included 9 fours and a huge six onto the pavilion roof. Both openers were removed by the impressive Nick Smith, who managed to combine discipline with seam movement and finished up with 2-12.
However, it was too little too late, as Cuckfield avoided a potential banana skin on the way to an 8 wicket victory and 30 points.
An away trip to Brighton and a chance to build on an encouraging start beckons for Cuckfield next week.
Cuckfield 2s v Roffey
Cuckfield 2s opened their account with a 44 run win at Roffey. Winning the toss, Cuckfield racked up 288 for 7 in their 53 overs with young George Galbraith Gibbons (74*) and the experienced Nick Walters (87) putting on a match winning 127 run partnership. There were useful contributions from Darren Senadhira (34), Matt Wynn (23) and Jack Denyer (25). Matt Denyer took the early wicket removing opener Apoorv Jain for a duck, but a 93 run partnership followed between Mick Webb (52) and Alex Southon (42) before Jack Denyer struck removing Southon leaving Roffey 95 for 2. Mark Pavlovic (51) and Ed Barnes (39) settled in, but a much needed partnership was not allowed to develop. The spin bowling of debutant Tom Morrissey (4/62) and skipper, James Robinson (4/22) bamboozled the rest of the Roffey line up to dismiss them for 244 as Matt Denyer took three catches. Cuckfield host Brighton and Hove next week.
Cuckfield 3s v Preston Nomads
Cuckfield 3s lost to Preston Nomads by 1 wicket at the Spen Cama Memorial ground. Having been put into bat, Cuckfield were bowled out for 205 in the final over. Jeremy Crampton (39), Ben Caidan (48) and Tom Bonanate (28) made runs for Cuckfield while Liam O’Brien took 5/31 for Nomads. After a strong and confident start Nomads reached 152 for 3 - George Read (73) Michael English (22) and Liam O’Brien (46) all contributing. After the top order had gone, the innings faltered as Goff Baker took 7/55, but Nomads limped over the line, nine wickets down in the 37th over to claim victory.
Cuckfield 4s v Preston Nomads
Cuckfield 4s lost to Preston Nomads by 57 runs. Cuckfield won the toss and elected to bowl. Nomads scored 144 before being bowled out in the 45th over, as Justin Shildkamp (30), George Mercer (27) and Paul Jeffries (29) all made runs. Rodney Candfield stemmed the flow bowling 22 overs for 36 runs and taking 6 wickets. The Cuckfield innings never really got going as Schildkamp tok 4/41 and Peter Forsythe took 3/13 to dimiss Cuckfield for 87 in the 36th over.
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