Cuckfield travelled to Bexhill with high hopes of reducing the points deficit between themselves and league leaders Roffey.
The quality of the pitch quickly became apparent as openers Roberts and Johnson combined strong defence with expansive attacking strokes, taking the score to 51 before a well disguised Hutchings slower ball saw the removal of overseas pro Sam Roberts for 26, caught at mid-off.
The Johnson brothers then combined to quickly take the score to 129, as Malcolm mixed watchful defence with booming cover drives and Shawn utilised his feet and the sweep shot to great effect against Cuckfield’s slow bowlers.
However, a rush of blood saw Shawn’s stumps rattled as he aimed a big slog into the leg-side off Hayward, out for a well compiled 50. Malcolm followed soon after for a pretty 60, as some slightly suspect running saw both batsmen at the same end, the run out completed by Campopiano.
As Patterson and Hayward combined to restrict the scoring, which proved difficult at times due to the quality of the pitch, two wickets fell quickly- first another ill-judged piece of running saw Pilbeam sweep to mid-wicket and set off leaving him stranded as Weston finished off another run out for Cuckfield, followed by Guest who was adjudged LBW on 33 off the bowling of Patterson. Two well-paced cameos from Haffenden and Powell, who both struck the ball long and hard, took the Bexhill score to 257 before Powell missed an attempt at a 4th six, out for a run a ball 41. A good final over from Patterson saw Bexhill finish their allotted overs on 263. Hayward took 2-99 off 17 overs and Patterson 1-63 from 19 overs.
Despite such a large score, it quickly became apparent in the infancy of Cuckfield’s run chase that it was a total that, with the right application from the top order, was well within the visiting sides reach. Chris Mole, promoted to the top of the order following
Jordan Silk’s return to Australia, and the ever-impressive 18 year old Dom Sear quickly set about reducing the target. Sear’s classical strokemaking was complimented by Chris Mole’s enterprising hitting- which included one six that cleared the pavilion over mid-wicket, as they reached a 100 partnership in their first game opening together this season. The score stood at 154 before Sear, looking to accelerate the scoring as the required run rate rose above 6 an over, was caught at mid-off for 61.
Weston arrived at the crease looking to add momentum to the chase, and struck a beautiful 44 as Mole became the sideshow to their partnership of 63, before Weston lazily chipped Guest to mid-wicket for a 37-ball 44 that had well and truly swung the momentum Cuckfield’s way.
In form Brad Gayler then came in, with the equation reading over 10 runs an over, and he quickly put to bed any worries that the visiting side had of achieving victory, smashing the off-spin of Josh Beeslee all over the ground, including one six over extra-cover that had both home and away supporters on their feet in applause.
His 28 off 10 balls meant that, upon his dismissal, Mole and Campopiano required just 13 off the last three overs. Mole, who had anchored the innings superbly to complete his first premier league hundred since 2009, then took on from where Gayler left off, showing his versatility striking two boundaries to make the victory a formality.
Cuckfield Captain Josh Hayward said: “It was an extremely impressive batting performance from the whole team, superbly led by the class and nous of Cuckfield stalwart Chris Mole, and one that secured a second-place league finish. It has been a fantastic turn-around for a side that only just escaped relegation last year.”
Cuckfield 2nd XI v Bexhill 2nd XI
Bexhill won the toss and elected to bat on a good looking Cuckfield pitch. The openers Liam Bryant and James Walker got Bexhill off to a great start and left Cuckfield searching for wickets. With the score on 87, the left arm spin of Ed Catt accounted for Bryant for 55 and Nathan Lopez followed soon after, also falling to Catt. Neil Blatchly (31) joined Walker and the pair added 88 before Walker (96) gave Catt his third wicket. At 189 for 3, the platform had been laid and despite two wickets for Joe White and two run outs, Bexhill reached 254 for 7 from their 53 overs. Catt took 3/72 and White 2/59. In reply Cuckfield were largely undone by the bowling of Jamie Wickes who took 8/45 as they were bowled out for 167 in the 35th over. Cuckfield Skipper James Robinson carried his bat for 44, but only Ben John (22) and Ed Catt (23) went past 20.
Cuckfield 3rd XI v Ashdown Forest 1st XI
Ashdown Forest won the toss and decided to have a bat. Stefan Gooch (34) and Graeme Baxter (20) started off well, but after both were dismissed by Charlie Best. The rest of the batting line up collapsed to 69 all out as Best took 4/35 and Rodney Candfield took 3/13 in an innings with no fewer than five ducks. Graham Hart (16*) and Tom Morrissey (54*) knocked off the runs in 10 overs to give Cuckfield victory by 10 wickets.
Cuckfield 4th XI v Burgess Hill 3rd XI
Cuckfield won the toss and elected to bowl first. Paul Elphick held the Burgess Hill innings together with 44, but wickets fell regularly as veteran seamer Peter Collins took out the top order with 4/36. Bryce Van Straaten then destroyed the middle and lower order with 5/11 off 5.2 overs to bowl Burgess Hill out for 128. Cuckfield made hard work of the chase losing 9 wickets as Iain Pringle held the Cuckfield innings together with 58 to give Cuckfield victory while Robert Barnes took 7/45.
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