SUTTON CC opened their season against St Asaph at New Street thanks to the marvellous work of goundsman Eric Lanchin who provided a playable wicket after the mid-week blizzard.

The Welsh visitors, who were last years runners-up, showed their intention to go one better as Aussie pro Neil Schittler smashed an unbeaten century off the shell-shocked Sutton attack. Good opening spells by Andy Barnett and Mark Reynolds were a distant memory as Asaph rattled up 183-2 declared at tea.

When Sutton batted Geoff Bowles and Dave Hodgson took the game back to the visitors with a positive 50 opening stand. Sutton looked in control but Bowles lbw saw a collapse to 66-4 including an unfortunate run out for Hodgson who had smashed 54 runs and looked in commanding form. Barnett and Brian Wearden repaired the damage with a patient stand taking the score to 115 at which point another collapse occurred after Barnett was caught for 23.

The Sutton tail wagged with an entertaining 23 by Ian Greener seeing the score to 146 all out as St Asaph completed their victory in what was a not too damaging start for new skipper Andy Brogan.

Geoff Pyes' seconds lifted club spirits, coming back from Wales with victory in the return. Fine bowling by old hands Stu Rimmer and Phil Jukes restricted St Asaph to 105 and Roy Grice showed his usual guile with the ball in support. Newcomer Jonathan Bellamy proved a useful bowler with a 3-22 return and starred in the field as the whole team gave little away on the park.

Rimmer, Dave Fargher and Jukes then set the platform for a four-wicket win which should have been rather more convincing but for an attack of the vapours which saw three Sutton wickets fall when the scores were level. At the end of the day a splendid start for the seconds in a difficult fixture.

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