2nd XI


Sussex Cricket League Division 6 West

Captain:  Simon Grant

Vice Captain: Ryan Matthews


Captain:  Andrew Simmons (Simmo)

Vice Captain: Sam Hunt

Match Report by Andy Simmons - Brighton & Hove 3rd XI Away 25/04/15

First second team game of the season, away to Brighton and Hove 3rds.  There was some initial confusion about the start time and that together with the fact that we were on their main pitch promoted a few to a fear we were up against their first team!

After a negotiation, rather than a toss, we were in the field first.  The opposition set about the bowling of Smudge and Goat and got off to a flying start.  Chris then removed their dangerous opener in his first over and he together with Minh saw us slowly claw back the run rate.  Chris in particular blowled very well and claimed a further wicket to finish with 2/22.  Nathan replaced Chris and his performance was first class.  The bounce that he extracted, from what was a good batting wicket, was fantastic. From 8 overs he claimed 3/24 to put us on top.  Tom then replaced Minh and despite seeing his first ball hit into the allotments and his first two overs going for 23, he went on to bowl two consecutive wicket maidens to finish with 3/23.  By chance, the seniors and colts bowled 20 overs each.  The seniors had combined figures of 20:1:96:0, whereas the colts put us to shame with 20:3:80:8!  Jonny was exceptional behind the stumps, claiming two catches and a stumping.  Ted and George, together with the other youngsters were great in the field and this helped us keep the total down to 180.

Rafa (who had come straight from Detroit) opened up with George as a sea mist descended on the match.  Visibility was very poor as we set about chasing down the target.  George fell early, which brought Chris to the crease.  He took a long time to get off the mark and could have easily given it away, but instead showed great character in going on to make 36.  At the other end Rafa had been cutting and pulling hs way to 50.  By the time Smudge departed for a quick fire 16, there were only 20 needed.  Tom proceeded to hit a couple of lovely boundaries as we wrapped up victory.  Rafa finishing on a well made unbeaten 93.  

The match was all about the performances of the colts, all of whom were brilliant.  For some, a regular second team spot is still a season or two away but based on today's performance the future of the club is looking very bright.


Captain:  Andrew Simmons  (Simmo)

Vice Captain:  Ryan Matthews

2Nd XI Training Kit


A convincing win for 2nd's away to Pulbrough.  Good start by Ash and Rafa and then some excellent quick scoring from Sam and Johnny at the end gave us a commanding total of 218 on a difficult wicket.  The bowlers made light work of the top order, reducing them to 40 for 8. JJ and The Goat were exceptional.  There was some resistance by their tail, before Nathan Tyler (Under 13) on debut, bowled beautifully to pick up the last two wickets.  We won by 138 runs with 28 overs to spare!


Another excellent victory for the 2's away to Slinfold.  In lovely conditions, on a fantastic wicket, we won the toss and posted a commanding 280/4 in 45 overs.  Rafa once again set the tone from the start running particularly well between the wickets on his way to an assured 43.  It was then over to Johnny, who played beautifully to score a fluent 110 off 106 balls, including 17 fours and 3 sixes.  It was a pleasure for me to share a 4th wicket partnership of 109 with him.

In reply some excellent new ball bowling from JJ and Goat reduced Slinfold to 20/3.  With Goat returning exceptional figures of 3/8 on what was a great wicket to bat on.  Minh then made further inroads as he bowled well to claim three wickets.  A flurry of late order runs meant we had to work hard for the last 3 wickets.  The team stuck to their task well and we finally wrapped up an 81 run victory with 7 overs to spare.


A rather bizarre result for the seconds at home to Wisborough Green.  Having won the toss and surprisingly deciding to bat first, on a day which was bound to be affected by the weather, the visitors made an excellent start reaching 105/2.  The introduction of Smudge and Minh into the attack however changed the match in our favour. Both bowled with good control and between them picked up 6/39 in 17 overs.

Despite several dropped catches and the occasional lapse in the field, I was pleased with our commitment and the way that we stuck together.

In reply, the rain clouds started to loom overhead.  Two early wickets set us back and when the rain did finally come we were 26/2.  Thankfully it was only a brief shower and Oli and Rafa were soon back out there.  Rafa was as solid as ever and Oli, despite riding his luck on several occasions, played some fine shots.  At 92/2 and after a nasty incident, where a hard chance to their slip fielder resulted in a blow to the side of the head, the drizzle returned.  It was clear that it wouldn't last long but it was also apparent that the visitors had no intention of returning to the field.  In bright sunshine and only 40 minutes or so after we had left the field, the Wisborough Green team were in their cars and leaving. They had conceded the game!  There was only going to be one winner but despite claiming all 30 points, it did take the gloss off of what had been another good performance.


Our top of the table clash with Crawley Eagles this weekend proved to be a rather one-sided affair.  It was perhaps a good weekend for us to face them as the majority of their team had just started Ramadan, but we had expected to face a tougher test.

Crawley opted to bat on a decent but slow wicket.  JJ bowled well with the new ball and was unlucky only to pick up 1 wicket.  Goat at the other end ripped through the top order claiming 4 wickets as we reduced them to 40/5.  Having not bowled the previous week and just to emphasise our strength in depth, the Fish and H Bomb then bowled excellent spells before Minh and Oli came on to clean up the tail.  They were all out for 137.

In reply, we lost Johnny and Crouchie early on before Rafa and Oli put on 93 for the third wicket to all but see us home.  Rafa rode his luck somewhat but also played some excellent shots on his way to 74.  Ryan had a couple of nervous moments as we knocked off the runs, including being bowled by a controversial no ball.  Thankfully Oli was there at the other end to hit the winning runs and bring up his 50 in the process.  He played with real authority to finish 51 not out.


Another top of the table clash this weekend at home to Portslade.  Having won the toss and opting to bat on a variable wicket against a decent attack, we found ourselves in trouble at 30/3.  I joined Oli and together we set about the recovery.  Oli batted hard to fifty and by the time I got myself out with a foolish shot, we had taken the total to 142/4.  There was still work to do and Ryan and Oli batted well to share a stand of 68.  Oli brought up an exceptionally well crafted century with consecutive boundaries before finally falling for 113 off 151 balls with 18 fours. Smudge and Crouchie then added some quick runs to take our total to 259/8.

Having bowled and fielded well we had expected a good batting display from the visitors too.  They were quickly in trouble however, Crouchie who bowled brilliantly demolished the stumps of both openers and Smudge had their number three caught behind.  With the ball offering considerable swing, Smudge tore through their lineup to record the remarkable figures of 6/10.  Fish also bowled well to claim the remaining two wickets to bowl them out for a lowly total of 68.  

The team were exceptional and we were relentless in our push for wickets.  With 8 games to go we are thrilled to sit 69 points clear at the top of the table.  With the firsts suffering a surprise defeat we are also proud to be the only remaining unbeaten Steyning team!  Well done lads!


A disappointing day for the seconds, away to local rivals Henfield.  I had wondered if I might have tempted fate last week when proclaiming we were the only remaining unbeaten side.  

On what turned out to be a decent wicket, I won the toss and elected to bowl, in humid conditions.  We started well with a wicket in the second over but they were soon in charge, racing to 146/1 at close to a run a ball.  Minh, however bowled brilliantly and managed to keep things tight from his end.  A combination of their eventual centurion going into his shell once he reached 80 and some tight bowling from H Bomb and Minh, saw the run rate slow significantly.  An exceptional period then followed with us claiming 7 wickets for just 29 runs.  Minh bowled a 21 over spell with great control to finish with the fantastic figures of 4/59.  The team stuck together well, despite very trying circumstances and on another day, with a bit of luck (very few chances went to hand), we would have kept them to a lot less than the eventual 214/9.  Nevertheless it was a getable target.

Fish promoted to open, started very brightly and played a couple of lovely shots before edging to slip.  Wickets started to fall at regular intervals and we were soon in huge trouble at 117/7.  I was still in however and felt very comfortable as I registered my first 50 of the season. With just 5 overs to go, I was the victim of an horrendous LBW decision.  I know that batsmen never think they are out and I am probably one on the worst for that but on this occasion the ball really wouldn't have hit leg stump on a second set!  

Despite the best efforts of Goat and Minh it was too much for us to hold on and we were finally all out in the final over to lose by 93 runs.  It was hugely disappointing and the batters only have themselves to blame, as too many of us gave our wickets away.  We are still 54 points clear at the top but we will need to regroup next week when we meet Stirlands.


A home fixture to Stirlands and a chance to bounce back.  Having won the toss we couldn' t have got off to a worse start, with Rafa being dismissed from the first ball of the match.  Oli and James then steadied the ship.  Oli, again batted with assurance and hit some cracking strokes on his way to 59 at close to a run a ball. James played with great maturity at the other end whilst compiling 36.  Crouchie made a good contribution and Smudge hit the ball cleanly on his way to a quick fire 40.  Debutant, 12 year old, Chris Barnett played some classy shots, as he and Gus saw us to 221/7.

It was a chase-able target, even on a tired wicket, but they set out with only one result in mind.  Their openers were particularly negative and despite some good new ball bowling from Crouchie and Buckers, we were only able to pick up one wicket.  The introduction of Minh saw a further wicket fall but it was tough for the bowlers to dismiss batters intent on blocking.  

In an attempt to get them at least thinking about scoring, I introduced Rafa into the attack.  Despite an unpromising start, the sixth ball tempted their opener, who had faced 84 balls for 13 runs, into a swipe across the line, only to be dismissed LBW!  Rafa was ecstatic!  Minh picked up a couple more wickets and Crouchie produced an excellent slower ball to take another.  In the end however and despite our best efforts, we finished 4 wickets short of victory.

Other results went our way and despite being unable to register a win, our lead at the top was only cut by 7 points.


Today saw my first return to my old club, Billingshurst.  Having won the toss, I opted to bat on a slow but decent wicket.  Oli and Rafa got us away to a perfect start, putting on an incredible 218 for the first wicket.  Oli (AKA Mr Cricket) registered his second ton of the season and played exceptionally on his way to 121 at better than a run a ball.   He really has matured as a cricketer this year.  Rafa at the other end was his usual solid and determined self.  He hit 12 boundaries on his way to an unbeaten 102, a repeat of the hundred he had scored at Billingshurst the previous season.  Quick runs from Johnny and Dave Neale enabled me to declare at 273/3 in just 46 overs.

Without our 4 leading wicket takers, I knew that bowling them out was going to be a tough task.  Mr Cricket and Crouchie took the new ball and bowled well picking up an early wicket.  A couple of tough chances were missed as they reached 96/1.  Chris Barnett and Buckers kept things tight and at 123/3 the game was nicely balanced.  Some colossal sixes from their number 5 however soon saw the game change in their favour.  When he departed having made 59 off 41 balls, they still needed 76 at just under a run a ball.  A fine cameo by one of their youngsters, coupled with some unusually sloppy fielding from us, was enough to see them home with a couple of overs to spare.  The winning runs coming by way of a towering six off Johnny to bring up a well deserved century for their opener.

It was a disappointing result, despite our best efforts.  We still have a 26 point lead at the top but a home win against Pulborough next week is now crucial.

Oli 121 v Billingshurst.JPG     Rafa 102 no v Billingshurst.JPG

                     OLI REACHES A TON ON HIS WAY TO 121                                                        RAFA HITS A SOLID 102*


After the disappointment of Pulborough conceding last weekend it was good to don the whites again in another top of the table clash.  Bognor had suffered a surprise defeat the previous weekend but we knew that they would provide a tough test.  Having won the toss on a green but hard wicket the only option was to bat.  We started slowly, before birthday boy Fish, back in the side after a few games with the firsts, hit three glorious consecutive boundaries. He was looking good before perhaps attempting an overly ambitious stroke and losing his middle stump. H Bomb was also back in the side after his holiday and was also looking good before he too attempted one shot too many and was also bowled.  Crouchie then joined Raf and he played some crunching drives and looked set for a decent score, when he inexplicably failed to ground his bat and was run out.  At this stage we were in some trouble at 77/3.  Raf was in but finding it slow going when I joined him.  It was the first time the two of us had batted together and we knew that this week it would be down to us veterans.  I rode my luck whilst Raf was solid at the other end and together we managed to increase the run rate.  We put on an unbeaten 125 for the 4th wicket, which enabled me to declare on 202.

A special mention should go to Raf's commitment to the team.  He travelled down from York on the morning of the match and only arrived 15 minutes before the start.  To then be on the field for the entire game was an exceptional effort.

202  should have been a difficult target to chase and we started well with Buckers claiming an early wicket, thanks to a smart catch from Gus.  The runs started to flow however as their captain chanced his arm on his way to a quick-fire 47.  On another day chances would have gone to hand.  We then became very sloppy in the field and with the exception of only one or two we were all well below our best, which was hugely disappointing.  To be fair to Bognor they batted very well but if we had taken the chances they offered the result might have been different.  As it happens they ran away with victory in the end as we were only able to claim 3 wickets.

Consecutive defeats didn't feel good but our mood was lightened when we heard that Henfield had been bowled out for 49 and were crushed by Billingshurst.  That meant that despite an unusually poor performance from us, we were still able to extend our lead at the top to 33 points.  

If we are to win the league we will need to improve significantly for the remaining 3 matches.  The team knows that and I am sure we will start in our next match against Slinfold.  Minh and hopefully Smudge will be back in the team then which will be a welcome boost.

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