James Askew has demanded Littlehampton ‘find their feet quickly’ following a tough start to life back in the Sussex League Division 3 West.
The club’s first fixture back in the third tier since 2012 ended with a six-wicket defeat to Pagham at The Sportsfield.
Several Littlehampton batsman made starts but failed to kick on as they were bundled out for 169.
It was a total that captain Askew felt was going to be tough to defend - and that proved the case.
Number three Nick Smith (55 not out) led the way in Pagham’s reply, while Ryan Barratt weighed in with 38.
It ensured the visitors eased to 172-4 off 36.1 overs.
And Littlehampton skipper Askew admitted his team were outplayed in every department on what proved to be an opening day to forget.
He said: “It’s certainly a step up for us from last year, but we fully expected that.
“We will need to find our feet quickly if we are to consolidate ourselves in this league.
“Credit to Pagham, I thought they were excellent and outclassed us in every department on Saturday.
“We were comfortably 100 runs short of being in the game, which was disappointing after a bright start to our innings.”
After taking the decision to bat first, Littlehampton’s openers made a positive start.
Thomas Lee and Guy South both made 24 before the duo fell in quick succession.
It was the former who was first to fall following an opening stand of 52.
Jack Turner (four) was then dismissed before opener Souch joined him in the pavilion.
Skipper Askew struck 25 then Michael Askew smashed 27 from 28 balls but the brothers departed without being able push on.
The home side were eventually skittled out for 169 in 44 overs.
Nick Smith was Pagham’s star performer with the ball, finishing with figures of 4-16.
Littlehampton failed to make any early inroads as they looked to defend a below-par total.
Jack Stannard (26) and captain Stuart Hanks (22) put on 63 for the opening wicket.
The openers fell in quick succession - both to Ryan Budd - but Barratt and Smith put Pagham back on track.
They shared a third-wicket stand of 64 to leave Littlehampton with little chance of victory.
Smith remained unbeaten, hitting 55 as Pagham reached their target in 36.1 overs.
But Askew does not want Littlehampton to be disheartened after the defeat.
He added: “It’s only one game down, so we aren’t too downbeat.
“We’ll look to bounce at West Chiltington & Thakeham on Saturday.”
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