Stirlands set up a showdown with fellow title chasers Billingshurst when they won their seventh game on the trot away to struggling Henfield.
The hosts won the toss and surprisingly put Stirlands to bat, hoping to take advantage of a wicket that had been under the covers overnight.
The opening partnership between Sean Heather and Stuart Hanks has been the bedrock of Stirlands’ batting performances this season, and they fired again.
The pair started watchfully as Henfield opened up with spin from both ends, yet soon found their stride as they were able to keep the scoreboard ticking by rotating the strike well and putting away anything loose.
Stirlands reached 73 before Hanks perished lbw to Mugochi for 27. Will Gubbins and Heather set about building on the platform in the face of controlled bowling.
Heather continued to accelerate, finding the boundary whenever pressure started to build, and forcing the bowlers to err from their line and length, opening up scoring opportunities.
Heather’s dominance all around the wicket caused Henfield to lose control and the Stirlands skipper registered his fourth century of the season, finishing with 132 from 135 balls, including 14 fours and seven sixes.
Gubbins started to find the boundary with more ease, finishing with 56 not out from 61 balls, with five fours and four sixes. Stirlands had the luxury of declaring eight overs early on 228 for two from 45 overs, giving them 55 overs to take ten Henfield wickets.
Opening bowlers Anthony Butler and Chris May began well, bowling with great consistency, and it was not long before May found the breakthrough as Scott Pedersen chopped on with just 13 on the board.
Adam Scott was joined by Jack Parsons and after they developed a useful partnership of 50 to begin to threaten Stirlands’ total, Struan Cameron made the breakthrough, getting rid of Scott with a one-handed snaffle by Nick Hunt at slip (67-2).
Anthony Ender had Mugochi caught by Leon Fourie at slip and bowled Craig Scott in consecutive balls (76-4). Cameron accounted for Brugnoli, caught by Jasper Willems, before crucially bowling Jack Parsons for 57.
Henfield were 113 for six and Stirlands scented victory. With light fading and rain around, they knew they had to finish the job quickly. On came Nick Hunt, and in his first over had Brett Moore caught at point by Cameron. Hunt picked up a further two wickets, with Rob Slaughter smartly stumped by Banks before a stunning one-handed caught and bowled low to his right to get rid of Stanley.
Cameron picked up the last wicket as Henfield were bowled out for 142 inside 47 overs.
Stirlands picked up 30 more points, and look forward to Saturday’s first-v-second clash.
* Stirlands seconds put Henfield and saw them score 227 for four in 53 overs.
In response, Stirlands scored 228 for seven with Simon Everest scoring 83 and Matt Wyer hitting 80 - his maiden half-century.
The game was won in the final over with father and son pairing David and George Briance at the crease, David playing his first game for the club in almost two years.
* Sussex and Kent’s second XIs ended with honours even after winning a game in a t20 double-header at Stirlands last Thursday.
Stirlands’ Sean Heather bowled a few overs and got a few runs.
Kent fielded ten contracted players against Sussex’s one, so to win one of the games was a great effort.