Cuckfield lost at home to Brighton & Hove on Saturday in spite of another fine century from Steffan Piolet, but 12 points from the game was enough to secure their Premier League status for 2015.
Cuckfield captain Marc Gardner lost the toss and Brighton had no hesitation bowling on a pitch suffering from the week’s poor weather. Steffan Piolet and Greg Wisdom opened for Cuckfield but Wisdom was quickly undone by the left arm swing of Matt Wood. Cummins followed quickly after also to Wood, again trapped lbw, leaving the score 12 for 2 after just 7 overs. This brought Chris Mole to the crease and he proceeded to bat cautiously, steadying a very wobbly innings while Piolet continued to play his brand of free flowing shots at the other end. The pair put on 94, taking the score to 103 before Mole (31) was caught off the bowling of Aussie Lachlan Sperling. Beard, Oates, Gardner and Patterson all shared partnerships of 20 with Piolet as he ground out 101 not out from 187 balls to carry his bat and Cuckfield to 204 for 8 from their 58 overs. Wood was the most successful Brighton bowler taking 4/30 while Sperling returned 2/70.
Cuckfield had set a commanding total, but on an improving pitch there was all to play for as Nick Patterson and Jamie Hutchings took the new ball. Patterson struck in the seventh over to remove Barker lbw for 1 and again in the thirteenth over accounting for Sperling (16) caught by Mole in the slips. The Brighton innings was further blunted the very next ball as the new batsman Phil Salt was left stranded attempting a second run by a sharp piece of fielding from Piolet. At 29 for 3 Cuckfield felt on top but Adam Mates and Alasdair Wilson steadied the innings taking the score to 63 before the change bowling of Kiwi Nick Beard accounted for both. Jordan Rollings and Sam Grant took up the challenge for a quick 30 partnership before Grant was trapped in front by Beard. Brighton skipper Chris Atherton joined Rollings in another 30 partnership which ended with Atherton hitting one into the waiting hands of his Cuckfield counterpart Marc Gardner off the returning Hutchings. Rollings departed soon afterwards, also being trapped lbw by Beard leaving Brighton needing 69 runs from 10 overs with just two wickets remaining. Chris Grammar (26) and Jack Chopping (42) batted defiantly though to take Brighton to victory in the penultimate over. Beard returned figures of 4/95 for Cuckfield. A disappointing outcome for Cuckfield given the position they were in, but 12 points from the match means they stay up and with Roffey having already been crowned Premier League Champions, next weeks fixture is a dead rubber for both teams.
2nd XI v Ifield
Rodney Candfield bagged 9 wickets at Ifield Green as Cuckfield recorded their 10th win of the season continuing their bid for the title and promotion to Division 1.
With a delayed start due to a wet pitch Nick Walters asked Ifield to bat first having won the toss. This paid off immediately as Russell Jacob was trapped lbw by an in-swinging yorker from Rod Candfield with the first ball of the match. Ifield skipper Simon Hickey followed later in the same over caught behind by Matt Wynn, leaving Ifield 0 for 2. This brought Greg Barton to the crease who saw two more batsmen depart both caught off the bowling of Rod Candfield to leave Ifield in deep trouble on 15 for 4. The clean hitting Barton and the new batsman, Matt Robinson, began to build a partnership and took the score on to 81 before Robinson (15) was caught off the bowling of Candfield to give him his fifth wicket. Adam Swart came in at number 7 and defended admirably as Barton tee’d off at the other end in a partnership of 38 of which Barton scored 38 before being caught in the deep off the bowling of Ben Candfield for a run-a-ball 95. Rod Candfield proceeded to take the other 4 Ifield wickets bowling them out for 134 in the 43rd over and returning figures of 9/52.
On a difficult pitch, 134 wasn’t going to be easy for Cuckfield as Jeremy Crampton and Dominc Sear started cautiously but positively. With the score at 19 in the 10th over Crampton was bowled by Aamer Riaz for 12. Richard Stafford then suffered the same fate for a duck and was quickly followed by Ben Candfield and Joe Cambridge, both caught at short leg off the spin bowling of Russell Jacob. At 36 for 4, Cuckfield were on struggle street as Richard Amer joined the settling Sear. Amer played his natural game using his accurate eye to smack the ball around the ground while Sear played a solid supporting role. Amer went for one shot two many and was caught by Jacob off the bowling of Mohamed Qazi for 44. Will Rossiter joined Sear and they steered Cuckfield to a 5 wicket win in the 43rd over. Sear showed tremendous application on a difficult surface as he carried his bat with a match winning 50 not out.
Cuckfield play St James’s at home next week with hopes pinned on the title and promotion.
3rd XI v Hurstpierpoint
Cuckfield won by 18 runs at home against Hurstpierpoint to finish runners up in Div 2 and gain promotion for next season.
Hurst won the toss and put Cuckfield into bat hoping to take early wickets. This did not pay off as Graham Hart and skipper Matt Slinger put on 64 for the first wicket as Slinger (26) was caught off the change bowling of Neil Crickmore. Charlie Best came in and supported Hart in a partnership of 34 before he was trapped lbw by Holmes. Hart fell soon afterwards also to Holmes for 68, but at 101 for 3 a firm foundation had been laid. Three quick wickets however reduced the advantage to 119 for 6. Ben Harris and Keith Rogers proceeded to put on 37 before Rogers was caught for 22 as Ben Harris finished 22 not out taking Cuckfield to 178 for 7 from 44 overs.
Three quick wickets at the start of the Hurst innings all from the bowling of veteran seamer Peter Collins put Cuckfield in the driving seat. James Bushell (31) and Mike Sloman (53) then steadied the ship before both being caught off the bowling of Matt Denyer. When Stephen Weller was run out by Graham Hart the Hurst resistance ran out of steam and they were bowled out for 160 in the 44th over. Collins returned figures of 4/36 and Denyer 3/23.
4th XI v Lingfield 4th XI
Nigel Reid won the toss for Cuckfield and put Lingfield into bat on a wet pitch. Guy Dixon removed Mike Evans for 1, but the other opener Henry Mitchell tee’d off taking the score to 40 before Dixon claimed Matthew Kirk for 3 and then Mitchell for 37. Robert Mitchell was then run out and Morgan Webb became Dixon’s 4th victim to leave Lingfield 42 for 5. Wickets fell regularly as Dan turner picked up 1, Simon Hardy 2 and James Hayes 1 leaving Lingfield 99 for 9. A tenth wicket partnership of 42 including 30 not out from Stephen Fallowell took Lingfield to 142 all out as Hayes picked up a second wicket. Dixon finished with a very economical 4/9 from 11 overs.
Ben Caidan and Sam Candfield opened for Cuckfield, but Candfield could not emulate his heroics of last week as he departed for a duck. Glenn Smith was also soon back in the hutch for 3 which brought Caleb Hawkins to the crease. He and Caidan took the score to 51 before Caidan was caught for 25. James Hayes joined Hawkins but with the score at 69 Hawkins was bowled by Mike Evans. Guy Dixon came out to bat and he and Hayes proceeded to put on 64 for the 5th wicket, all but winning the game, before Dixon was bowled by Paul Bradford for 37. Hayes finished 35 not out as Cuckfield reached their target in the 40th over.