Cuckfield share the spoils away at Hastings & St Leonards Priory
On a muggy day at Hastings & St Leonards Priory CC in the Premier Division, Cuckfield CC lost the toss, again, and were put in the field.
Hastings opening pair, Harry Finch and Jake Wooley, found life difficult due to some excellent bowling from Joe White (1-2) and Henry Rogers (0-4) with White having Wooley (one) caught behind by Brad Gayler.
With a side strain ending White’s spell, Cuckfield were still confident as Rogers was bowling well at the other end.
However, a freak injury caused by a germination sheet nail meant that Cuckfield had lost both opening bowlers to injury within 5.2 overs. Josh Hayward (4-70) and Nick Patterson (2-70) replaced them and settled in for the afternoon.
Patterson struck with his third ball, removing Hastings overseas player, Dilshan De Zoysa, caught at slip by Ollie Graham for nought, leaving Hastings at 7-2.
Finch (114*) and Harry Scowen (46) slowly built the partnership on which Hastings desperately needed moving the score onto 103 before Scowen called a suicidal run, only to be sent back by Finch.
And 103-2 quickly became 104-4 as Ben Candfield (1-23) removed captain Tom Gillespie for nought.
After building pressure without reward for so long, Hayward then proceeded to strangle Hastings and deservedly picked up the wickets of Alex Coyle (six), William Hutchings (five), Harvey Faulkner (duck) and Jed O’Brien (three).
However, Finch continued to accumulate runs hoping for a final flourish as all those around him perished.
With Cuckfield in control leading into the 57th over, Finch opened his shoulders, having played patiently and watchfully for so long. Five sixes and a four in the last two overs took Hastings to 195-9 at the break.
On a pitch that was difficult to score but moderately easy to stay in on, Cuckfield knew that the chase was going to be a difficult one.
Joe Ludlow (one) and Gayler (25) opened for Cuckfield, only to lose Ludlow in the second over.
Nipun Karunanayake (19) and Gayler played patiently with Gayler starting to take the attack to the Hastings spinners before being adjudged lbw to O’Brien (2-76).
The trusted partnership of Karunanayake and Graham (51) settled in for the long haul, playing watchfully and picking the bad ball to increase the tempo. With a mistimed drive off John Morgan (1-11), Karunanayake was heading to the pavilion.
Subduing his natural instincts, Joe Cambridge (18), played second fiddle to Graham, only to be brilliantly caught at point by De Zoysa.
Dan Turner (duck) came and went which left Graham and captain Candfield (40*) to try and turn the match in Cuckfield’s favour.
Cuckfield looked to be timing their run chase to perfection but after putting on 72 with Candfield, Graham was bowled by Adam Barton (2-16) halting Cuckfield in their tracks.
The remaining six overs were navigated by Candfield and Hayward (three*) without incident leaving Cuckfield 29 runs short and the points shared.
Cuckfield host league leaders Preston Nomads CC this Saturday.
CUCKFIELD CC 2ND XI
On a warm and sunny day, Cuckfield CC 2nd XI won the toss and chose to bowl first at home to Crawley CC in Division 4 West.
Theo Barker (2-15) and Sam Candfield (1-36) quickly made inroads into the Crawley batting line up with Barker enticing Zeeraq Mustafa (eight) into wafting at a wide one, well caught behind by Connor Bettsworth on debut.
Candfield then got in on the action, having Amir Zafer (duck) well caught by Greg Seed. Chris Taylor (1-17) continued to exert pressure on the Crawley batsmen and was reward with the wicket of Majid Raja (19).
Hisam Ul Haq (32) counter-attacked and, with Razwan Hussain (45), put the pressure back onto the Cuckfield bowers. Looking to clear the ropes, Ul Haq attempted to dispatch Greg Wisdom (1-28) only to pick out Matt Slinger at long.
The ball was thrown to Will Galbraith-Gibbons (4-18) who bowled with both pace and control to claim a hat-trick as well as swing the game once again in Cuckfield’s favour.
Huge credit to Crawley’s number 11, Inzamam Ul Haq, who has been playing cricket for less than a year, who hit Matt Slinger over the pavilion on his very first ball.
Cuckfield’s batting innings started in familiar fashion as Will Rossiter (80) looked to take the attack to the bowlers while George Galbraith-Gibbons (eight) accumulated and rotated the strike.
With Galbraith-Gibbons dismissed by Abdul Khan (1-20), Greg Wisdom (39*) played second fiddle to the ever-aggressive Rossiter. After plundering 11 fours and a six, Rossiter was bowled by Himam Ul Haq (1-36).
Wisdom continued to accumulate while debutant Bettsworth (33*) took the attack to the Crawley bowlers. Wisdom and Bettsworth saw Cuckfield comfortably to victory to win by eight wickets with 13 overs to spare. A convincing victory which strengthens Cuckfield’s bid for promotion.
CUCKFIELD CC 3RD XI
On their return to the North Ground, Cuckfield CC 3rd XI were looking to bounce back against East Grinstead CC 3rd XI in Division 7 Central after a disappointing loss, in less than ideal conditions, last week.
In a shock to all, captain Goff Baker won the toss and elected to bat, sending evergreen Jeremy Crampton and young Sam Hardwicke (59) to the crease.
Crampton fell on 15 after some typical slashing blows which bought Dom Seed to the middle.
The young partnership then set about their business with excellent running which really put East Grinstead under pressure. Seed then fell on 31 after an 89-run partnership which looked to put Cuckfield in the driving seat.
East Grinstead then came back with a flurry of wickets, aided by some questionable calling and running from Cuckfield. From 104-2 to 125-5, the game was in the balance.
With ten overs to go, the swashbuckling Richie Amer put the East Grinstead bowlers to the sword. Supported by Jack Best (30), Amer finished on 55 and brought Cuckfield up to a very defendable 224-7.
With spirits and expectations high, Cuckfield took the field feeling confident they had the bowling to get them over the line.
This was only enhanced by the opening spells from Rodney Candfield (0-38) and Josh Downey (2-32) who kept East Grinstead well under the required run rate.
Wickets, however, were hard to come by until a tactical change from Downey led to him bowling Nik Trotter (12) with the worst ball of his spell. This was then followed up by the best ball of his spell and suddenly East Grinstead were two down.
Best (1-38) replaced Candfield and Shepherd (0-30) came on for Downey and the pressure didn’t relent. Boundaries were hard to come by but East Grinstead kept the score ticking over with Harry Grimwood (45) and Kurt Richardson (21).
With the asking rate at about 10 an over, Goff Baker (1-64) opted for spin. This was rewarded with a wicket apiece for himself and Sam Hardwicke (1-20).
The game seemed within Cuckfield’s control, but East Grinstead captain James Adkin had other ideas.
Aided by Alex Pearse (37), Adkin dispatched the ball to all corners, fighting East Grinstead closer and closer to the required total of 225.
With six needed off the final over, Shepherd was thrown the ball. Despite an almost superhuman effort from the left armer, Adkin edged the penultimate ball down through fine leg for four and the victory, finishing on an unbeaten 69.
CUCKFIELD CC 4TH XI
Cuckfield CC 4th XI took on Haywards Heath CC 3rd XI this week at Wivelsfield Green in Division 11 Central (North).
Leading into the match, Cuckfield felt they had a strong side and were confident that they could come out victorious. However, Cuckfield lost the toss and things got progressively worse from there.
Wickets tumbled at regular intervals to poor shot selection with only two batsmen making it into double figures, Richard Loveridge (11) and Tim Power (29).
For Haywards Heath, Anuk Perera (6-12) and Matthew Patterson (2-22) picked up the wickets bowling Cuckfield out for 56 (including 10 extras).
Haywards Heath came out with intent and quickly chased the target down with the loss of three wickets in only 8.3 overs, Stephen Goulds (20) and Shahed Shams (18) making light work of the target.
Jamie Tuddenham (2-6) took two in two balls, but unfortunately wasn't able to convert to a hat-trick.
A disappointing performance overall, with Cuckfield’s batting let them down badly, giving away soft dismissals and failing to create a base on which to build.