Crowhurst Park’s first team hit straight back from the previous weekend’s heavy defeat with a good away victory on Saturday.
The three-wicket win against Cuckfield seconds moved Park up to second in Sussex Cricket League Division Five East and within six points of leaders Rottingdean.
On one of the hottest days of the year, stand-in Park skipper Keith Hobbs lost the toss and his team was asked to bowl first.
Clive Tong made the early breakthrough, tempting Greg Wisdom (6) to edge behind. Paul Brookes was applying pressure at the other end, conceding just four runs in his first five overs.
Sam Hobbs struck next, bowling George Galbraith-Gibbons (19) just on the drinks break, and Cuckfield were finding it tough to accelerate at 46-2 off 17 overs.
Brookes continued to apply pressure and got his reward by having Ben John (16) stumped by Joel Bruun with the score 70. He followed this up when Darren Senadhira (31) smashed one to Keith Hobbs at mid-on.
Keith Hobbs brought himself into the attack and soon picked up a wicket to leave Cuckfield struggling on 84-5 off 31 overs. Brookes was still going at the other end and picked up his third wicket, clean bowling Jamie Hutchings (8) to leave Cuckfield in deep trouble at 97-6.
Useful partnerships for the seventh and eighth wickets began to frustrate Park, but their bowlers kept plugging away and Matt Peters ended both stands during a tight spell of off-spin.
Sam Hobbs took the ninth wicket with the score 162, but the final wicket proved elusive as Cuckfield ended their 53 overs on 183-9. Chris Taylor was their stand-out batsman with 51 not out. Brookes finished with 3-54 from a marathon 21 overs, with Peters (2-33) and Sam Hobbs (2-47) the other main contributors.
Two early wickets after tea gave Cuckfield the upper hand. Tong and Brookes were dismissed in the third over of Park’s reply to leave them toiling at 10-2.
Joel Bruun and Ed Smissen began to rebuild the innings and runs were beginning to flow before Smissen was bowled by a ball which just clipped the bail with the score on 50 off nine overs.
Martin Barry, affected by conjunctivitis, was out cheaply soon afterwards and Park were looking in trouble at 74-4, but Cam Flanagan, returning to the first team, looked as though he had never been away.
Bruun kicked on to score his second league fifty of the season, but was trapped leg before to leg spinner James Robinson the ball after hitting him for a huge six, leaving Park 111-5.
Flanagan began to stamp his authority on the match with an excellent, composed innings to swing the pendulum back in Park’s favour.
Despite not having picked up a bat in eight months, Flanagan (59) scored a superb half-century and put on 66 runs with James Wilson to get Park within seven of victory.
Wilson remained unbeaten at the end on 14 and Sam Hobbs hit the winning runs as Park defeated a very useful Cuckfield team.
A really good all-round performance from Park will take them into the home game against Glynde & Beddingham this coming Saturday in good spirits.
Sussex Cricket League Division Five East standings (all played seven matches): 1 Rottingdean 167pts, 2 CROWHURST PARK 161, 3 Seaford 159, 4 RYE 154, 5 Buxted Park 137, 6 Glynde & Beddingham 135, 7 Hellingly 122, 8 Cuckfield II 112, 9 Lindfield II 62, 10 St James’s Montefiore II 49.