Sussex Cricket League round-up: New leaders in top flight

Malcolm Johnson watches a Chris Liddle delivery go by on his way to a half-century during Bexhill's victory at home to Billingshurst. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-150523-221549002)
Malcolm Johnson watches a Chris Liddle delivery go by on his way to a half-century during Bexhill's victory at home to Billingshurst. Picture by Simon Newstead (SUS-150523-221549002)
  • Brighton & Hove are new league leaders
  • Cuckfield and East Grinstead suffer first defeats
  • Middleton are only top flight side without a win
  • Top five in Division Two separated by five points
  • Rare tie in Division Three

There are new leaders in the Sussex Cricket League Premier Division after the third round of matches yesterday (Saturday).

Brighton & Hove have replaced Cuckfield at the summit on the back of a 42-run victory away to Horsham, which gave them a 14-point cushion in a division where every side has now tasted defeat.

Phil Salt led the way with 75 as Brighton were all out for 194 batting first, Michael Munday taking 5-69 and Ben Shoare 4-28. Horsham were dismissed for 152 in reply with Matt Wood claiming 4-39 and Alex Marsh 3-30.

Cuckfield suffered their first defeat of the campaign with a 70-run loss at home to reigning champions Roffey. The visitors amassed 253-6 declared batting first with Rohit Jagota making 91 and Ben Manenti 57. George Fleming then took 5-56 to bowl Cuckfield out for 183 despite 47 from Ben Candfield at number eight.

Eastbourne are up to third courtesy of a crushing 153-run win at home to Middleton, who have dropped to the bottom and are now the only side without a win. Eastbourne have a game in hand on the top two, which will take place later today against the Sussex Development XI.

Delray Rawlins scored 100 and Brad Evans 66 to help Eastbourne post 271 all out batting first. Brandon Hanley took 4-59 for a Middleton side which was all out for 118 in reply with Jofra Archer scoring 43 and Ben Twine taking 3-31.

Perennial high-flyers Preston Nomads are fourth following a 74-run success away to previously undefeated East Grinstead. Daniel Phillips top-scored with 47 at the top of the order as Nomads posted 181-9 batting first despite Fynn Hudson-Prentice and Craig Fowle taking three wickets each. Grinstead were shot out for 107 in response, the damage being done by Carl Simon (7-53).

After back-to-back defeats in their opening two games, it was third time lucky for Bexhill as they chalked up their first victory. John Haffenden’s side won by 79 runs at home to Billingshurst, making it a clean sweep of wins for teams batting first in the top flight.

Bexhill battled their way to 202-9 thanks largely to Malcolm Johnson’s 61 against a Billingshurst side for whom Ben Williams picked up 4-51. Dean Crawford then tore through the Billingshurst batting with 6-26 as the visitors were all out for 123, Sussex professional Chris Liddle top-scoring with 47.

Things couldn’t be closer, meanwhile, at the top of Division Two. Three teams are level on points at the top and the top five are separated by just five points. Like the Premier Division, no team is undefeated.

Worthing remain top despite seeing their flying start ended by a 102-run defeat away to fourth-placed Hastings Priory. Jake Woolley top-scored with 45 as Hastings reached 251-8 batting first despite Nick Ballamy picking up 4-58. Jed O’Brien then sent the leaders spinning to defeat by bagging 5-33 to dismiss Worthing for 149. John Glover top-scored with 49 at number eight.

Second-placed Three Bridges made it back-to-back wins with an eight-wicket success away to bottom-of-the-table Crowhurst Park, who are the only side yet to record a victory.

Clive Tong hit 59 at the top of the order as Park were all out for 177 batting first, Adrian Chappell taking 6-65 and Michael Rose 3-22. Bradley Gayler followed up his century the previous weekend with an unbeaten 87 to guide Bridges to victory against a Park side for whom former England international Ed Giddins took a wicket on his debut.

Third-placed Pagham made it two wins out of three via a 57-run triumph away to Ansty. Five wickets for Jethro Menzies helped bowl Pagham out for 163 batting first, but Ansty were knocked over for 106 in reply with Eranga Dissangge taking 4-21 and Sean Rutter 3-18.

The leading quintet of clubs is completed by Findon, who won by six wickets away to Lindfield. James Iago claimed 5-51 and Graham Manser 3-47 to bowl Lindfield out for 121. Harry Metters then steered Findon to victory with an undefeated 58 in reply.

The other match in the second tier ended in a six-wicket win for Ifield at home to second-bottom St James’s Montefiore, meaning no less than six clubs have won two and lost one of their opening three fixtures.

Jigar Parekh bagged 5-57 and Guru Kedarnath 4-31 to bowl St James’s out for 143, Sam Cooper top-scoring with 36. Ifield were 65-4 in reply before Jack Groves (42 not out) and Kedarnath (37 not out) ushered them home with an unbroken stand of 79.

It was a day of tight battles in Division Three. Three of the five matches ended in draws, one produced a rare tie and the only victors were previously winless Haywards Heath.

Bognor Regis are two points clear at the top despite seeing their winning start halted by a draw at Rottingdean, while second-placed Crawley Eagles were involved in that aforementioned tie away to Goring By Sea where both teams were all out for 136.

Glynde & Beddingham are third despite losing away to Haywards Heath, while the matches between Portslade and Burgess Hill, and Steyning and Chichester Priory Park both produced draws.

There were no draws whatsoever in Division Four, where the top two teams, Rye and Slinfold, have picked up the full house of 90 points from their opening three outings. Crawley are eight points behind in third having also won three out of three.

Kshemal Waingankar took 8-39 as Rye won by nine wickets at home to Stirlands in a clash between the league’s easternmost and south-westernmost clubs. Slinfold won at home to Wisborough Green and Crawley triumphed at home to Hellingly.

Elsewhere, fourth-placed Mayfield defeated Henfield and Southwater completed a clean sweep of home victories across the division by seeing off Keymer & Hassocks.

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