THERE was no separating early pace setters Preston Nomads and Hastings at the weekend as the Sussex Premier League’s top two teams battled to a high scoring draw.
Horsham took advantage to go second thanks to a convincing seven wicket defeat of Chichester while Roffey produced the surprise of the day with a nine wicket trouncing of Eastbourne.
Hastings were surprisingly put in by Preston Nomads on a flat pitch that gave little help to the bowlers and they were positive in rattling up 318 - 3 declared from 55 overs.
New Sussex recruit Kirk Werners hit 167 not out, fellow pro Matt Machan made 76 and youngster Harry Finch 55.
In reply Nomads’ openers Alasdair Wilson (61) and Stuart Faith (52) added 111 to give their side hopes of a successful run chase but that faded when Rob Wakeford was run out for 47 and at stumps the innings had drifted to 241 - 7, still 79 short of victory.
For Hastings, Jack Parsons took 2 - 52 on his debut and Mick Glazier grabbed 2 - 32.
There were three century stands in the game, a first time for the Sussex League.
Chichester decided to bat first at Horsham and were sent tumbling to 92 all out as New Zealander Matt Henry took 5 - 15 and emerging Sussex youngster Devon Endersby 3 - 24.
James Johnson then made 28 not out and Endersby 25 as Horsham cruised to 96 for 3 in just 21 overs.
Another Sussex player, Will Adkin led the way with 75 as East Grinstead made 207 all out against Brightonm for whom Chris Atherton took 7 - 36 in 19 overs.
Brighton were dismissed for 195 with Jordan Rollings hitting 70 and Tim Jarvis 51.
For the visitors Craig Fowle took 4 - 73 and Duncan Shoebridge 4 - 38.
Eastbourne crashed to 86 all out at Roffey despite skipper Mark Tomsett making top score of 34 as Dan Smith took 5 - 28.
The home side won by nine wickets at 89 for 1 from 19.3 overs, Aaron Jeal made 36 not out and Chris Plaister 26 not out.
At Three Bridges the home side raced to 278 - 8 declared against Pulborough with Jibran Khan leading the way with 92 and skipper Danny Alderman making 58.
For Pulborough Rohit Jagota took 3 - 55 and Amit Suman 3 - 69.
The visitors took the game to a nailbiting finish at one short of the Bridges total with nine wickets down.
In their total of 277 - 9 Jagota made 69 and Sachan Chaudhuri hit 79, Chad Barrett taking 4 - 65 and Danny Alderman 2 - 66.
In Division Two Cuckfield, relegated last season, are now top having won four of their five games, they won at Lewes Priory on Saturday.
Worthing lie in second place following their win at home to Bexhill with Haywards Heath third following a win at Goring. The bottom two clubs are Lewes Priory and Stirlands, both of whom were playing Premier league cricket three years ago.
At Lewes Priory the home side were dismissed for 157 in 46.1 overs by Cuckfield for whom Neil Fairhall took 4 - 32, top scorers for Lewes was skipper Inran Khan with 34 and Neil Barker made 32, they collapsed from a promising 72 - 1.
Dan Bowman led Cuckfield to victory with 71 and Kristian Piolet hit 39 not out as they cruised to 158 - 3 from 30.3 overs.
Bexhill decided to bat first at Worthing and declared at 187 - 9 with 109 from Tim Hambridge as Andy Lutwyche took 4 - 56.
Worthing reached 188 - 6 to win by four wickets with Ben Chambers making top score of 60.
Last week’s leaders St.James were bowled out for just 122 at home to Glynde as Chris Blunt took 4 - 28 and Dale Tranter 3 - 35.
Glynde then won at 124 - 4 with Ollie Bailey making 52.
Haywards Heath batted first at Goring and declared at 206-9 with 61 from Alex Ellis and 53 from Matt Junk.
They then bowled out Goring for 191 to win by 15 runs. For Goring, Matt Keen made 74 as 16 year-old Sussex Academy youngster Fynn Hudson-Prentice took 4-15 in six overs.
Stirlands enjoyed a big eight wicket win, their first of the season, at home to Ifield for whom Paul Clifford hit 109 in a total of 184-9 declared.
In a winning score of 186 for 2 for Stirlands Alex Garlick hit 91 not out and Ian Gooding 80 not out.
Burgess Hill led Division 3 East before the start of Saturday’s play but now find themselves fourth as three clubs below them all won to overtake them.
Lindfield are the new leaders after thrashing Crawley at home by 130 runs. It was very much a case of the Bret Silvey show as he struck 92 in Lindfield’s 226-9 followed by 4-20 as Crawley crashed for just 96. Will Pearson took 6-49 for Crawley.
Sidley are now just two points behind Lindfield in second place after overcoming Crowhurst Park in a high scoring affair.
Park were bowled out for 243 after being inserted led by Martin Menezes with 78 and Bradley Payne adding 40 not out.
Neil Priddy took a very creditable 6-99 then was one of three batsmen to make hay as Sidley won by seven wickets. Priddy’s 70 not out and Jon Haffenden’s 62 were only surpassed by Paul Swannell’s unbeaten knock of 106.
Sidley have announced themselves already as serious title contenders though obviously their away form needs to improve. Ed Smissen took 2-46 for Crowhurst Park.
Seaford won their second game in a row and moved to third postion; seven points behind the leaders.
Their 217-9 proved 99 too many for the visiting Keymer & Hassocks.
Jacob Miles top scored with 68 for Seaford while their captain Chris Stanyard contributed 47. Michael Poole provided resistance by taking 4-42 but once again Keymer’s batting showed its fragile side as only John Price, with 36, resisted Chris Stanyard 4-19 and John Smith 3-41 for any length of time.
Burgess Hill’s first defeat of the campaign came at Horsebridge against Hellingly by 27 runs.
Ian Simpson bowled an economical spell of 3-40 in 17 overs to restrict Hellingly to 192-9.
Paul McDonald 48 and Scott Pearce 45 were the principal run getters.
Hill also had two batsmen make 40s, Ben Hopkins (43), Shaun Kevern (41) but were undone by David Twine’s 5-44.
Ansty and Uckfield Anderida had a free week.
Findon continue to lead Division 3 West after beating Middleton by 112 runs.
Put into bat they posted a challenging 230-7 led by Bradley Bridson 86 and Dan Bridson 60. This proved far too much for Middleton who were undone mainly by James Iago 8-47 in an unchanged spell off 16.5 overs.
Bognor Regis sit in second position after a four wicket win at home to Pagham.
Rob Willway’s 41 not out proved decisive in overhauling Pagham’s 141. Pagham remain bottom.
Billingshurst are third but were held at Slinfold in a high scoring stalemate.
They posted 277-4 with Peter Burroughs hitting 116, Mike Burroughs 60. Charlie Haire replied with 85 not out as Slinfold finished on 247-7.
Arundel spent much of 2010 at the foot of the table but enjoyed a comfortable victory at home to Henfield passing their 167-9 in just 33 overs to win by seven wickets. They are now fourth.
Steyning won their second game of the season though visitors Littlehampton did post 200-9.
This proved no problem for Steyning as Chris McPherson 106 no and Hywel Jones 79 no ensured a ten wicket victory.