Mixed fortunes for Littlehampton in season opening cup double-header

Skipper James Askew hit a half-century as Littlehampton surprised Chichester Priory Park in a Gray-Nicholls T20 Cup clash on Saturday. Picture by Derek Martin
Skipper James Askew hit a half-century as Littlehampton surprised Chichester Priory Park in a Gray-Nicholls T20 Cup clash on Saturday. Picture by Derek Martin

Littlehampton Cricket Club had mixed fortunes in a Gray-Nicholls T20 Cup double-header to start the new season on Saturday.

James Askew’s side, in competitive action for the first time since winning the double last season, scored a surprise preliminary round win over two leagues above Sussex League Division 2 side Chichester Priory Park at Goodwood but were beaten by Worthing at the same venue later in the day.

Littlehampton were stuck in by Priory Park for their curtain-raiser, with the winner knowing Worthing awaited in the first round.

A half-century from skipper Askew (53) and a contribution of 46 from Ally James - both knocks scored at less than a run-a-ball - helped Littlehampton post 152-3 off their 20 overs. Skipper Askew and McLeod Cox got rid of Chichester opening pair Peter Lamb (three) and captain Simon Hasted (four) to leave the home side rocking at 12-2.

A partnership of 81 between Matthew Bennison - who finished the innings unbeaten on 51 - and Joe De La Fuente’s quickfire 41 gave Chichester slight hope but Littlehampton’s bowlers stood strong, restricted Priory Park to 123-4 off 20 overs.

Askew was delighted by the way his side started the season and said: “It was a great performance by the team to beat a side two divisions-higher. We batted excellently on a very difficult wicket to reach the score we did. Then the bowlers did their job and bowled brilliantly to restrict them and win comfortably in the end.”

Littlehampton had very little time to celebrate the victory before they were back out on the field - this time taking on Worthing in a first round tie.

Askew won the toss and decided to stick Worthing in. Lead by Nathan Perry (2-21) and Askew (1-11) Littlehampton restricted their division-higher Division 3 West opposition to 95-8 in their allotted overs.

Askew’s troops would have been backing themselves to knock of the runs and start the new season with two wins on the opening day.

However, some fine bowling from young Worthing debutant Finley Allen (3-6) and two wickets each for Giorgio Rigali and Harry Dunn saw Littlehampton come up five runs short. Jack Turner top-scored for Littlehampton with 20 but they ended the innings on 90 for nine.

Despite the defeat, Askew was satisfied with Littlehampton’s efforts over the day. He said: “We bowled brilliantly again to restrict them to 95. We had a ten-minute spell where we dropped three catches that probably cost us 15 runs.

“We then let ourselves down batting. We didn’t apply ourselves correctly and in the end lost by five runs.

“It would have been nice to have a longer cup run but in hindsight it’s not a competition we would win with all the Premier Division clubs in it, so now we can concentrate on the league.”

Littlehampton host Crawley in Division 4 West on Saturday.

n Littlehampton Cricket Club raised funds for new covers with a sponsored walk on Sunday.

All 19 members that set off from The Sportsfield at 4am managed to complete the six hour journey to Sussex’s Hove County Ground.

Upon arrival, Littlehampton members took in the third day of Sussex’s County Championship Division 2 contest with Gloucestershire.

All money raised from the walk has gone towards funding for new covers as part of the Get The Game On initiative.

Club first team captain James Askew said: “Our thanks go to everyone who has donated to the fund so far.”