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ACADEMY: Two recent hard-fought battles for Sussex's Development XI


Development XI Captain Tom Haines (middle-right) with Brighton & Hove CC Captain Chris Grammer, flanked by Umpires Terry Burstow and Jeremy Sharratt ahead of the recent Sussex Premier League clash

Sussex's Development XI have had two hard-fought battles in recent weeks as they continue their Sussex Premier League season.

Earlier this month, they faced Brighton & Hove CC however due to light rain, only a T20 encounter was possible and skipper Tom Haines won the toss and decided to bat first.

Haines himself led from the front with a determined 19 including a wonderfully timed clip for six into the Nevill allotments. Josh Wood struck 20 off 13 balls but the innings was given a real boost when Delray Rawlins made a very impressive 40, which included four sixes.

Nick Oxley made an excellent and well-timed 32 but unfortunately the innings seemed to dissolve in the final overs with the score descending from 132 for 6 to 136 all out.

In response, Nick Smith had Brighton in all sorts of early problems with two quick wickets as the hosts were reduced to 5 for 3. Haines clung onto a huge catch out deep to dismiss the dangerous Paul Hardwick for 21 off the bowling Ben Twine.

Brighton's Chris Atherton (23) then showed a lot of experience getting his team back into contention. Simon Hetherton struck back to back maximums in his knock of 35 which brought the hosts close to victory. However, Smith bowled his final two overs at the death with pace and accuracy, knocking over Hetherton's middle stump.

It led to an exciting last over bowled by Rawlins, the hosts needing six to win. They ran two off the last ball of the game to seal a tie.

Unfortunately for Sussex it turned into a loss owing to Brighton losing fewer wickets. The hosts grabbing 20 points leaving the visitors on 10.

The following week, Sussex headed east to Horntye Park to face Hastings Priory CC.
On a lovely day for batting on what looked to be a flat track, skipper Haines chose to bat. Both he and Harry Rollings looked very comfortable at the crease, putting on a very commanding opening stand of 59.

Jacob Smith carried on the great work with a quickfire 20, including a huge six. At 94 for 4 it looked as though Sussex were heading for a big score, but spinner Jed O'Brien started to cause havoc with the middle order on the way to five wickets. Nick Oxley (44) battled hard with a really disciplined effort to see Sussex through to 156 all out.

Tim Moses gave Sussex a great start, bowling skipper Tom Gillespie for a duck. Hastings then had to graft against a very spirited attack, with Moses, Ross Whyte, Will Collard and Sam Rattle all bowling well.

At 87 for 4 the game could have gone either way. However, Elliot Hooper (61 not out), fresh from a league ton at Roffey, wrestled the initiative with the knock of the day. He looked in fine form both in defence and on the attack, and helped Hastings reach their target for the loss of five wickets.

There are some excellent signs of progress from this team and with two matches left there is every hope of a very strong finish. The Development XI are back in action on Sunday 7th August at Roffey, with the final game at Bexhill on Sunday 14th August.

Sussex Development XI (136 all out) lost to Brighton & Hove CC (136 for 7) on virtue of less wickets

Sussex Development XI (156 all out) lost to Hastings & St Leonards Priory CC (162 for 5) by five wickets

Reports by Colin Bowman

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