Stirlands gave themselves a fighting chance of survival in cricket’s Sussex League division two with an encouraging draw at tabletoppers Worthing.
Skipper David Briance won the toss and, on a wicket showing obvious signs of moisture after heavy rainfall during the week, chose to bat.
What was expected to be a hard grind for openers Nick Hunt and Nick Gubbins turned out to be quite the opposite. They tucked into the Worthing opening bowlers, deciding attack was the best way to go.
The wayward bowling was severely punished and Stirlands were 100 for no loss after 13 overs. The highlights of the opening stand were Hunt pulling Shane Felton for an early six over mid-wicket and Gubbins driving Vinter for six over mid-on.
Stirlands reached 114 before Hunt perished for a run-a-ball 48, stumped after the ball skidded on past his outside edge.
Gubbins and Alex Garlick continued scoring before Gubbins was stumped by one from Gould that turned and bounced. He made 67 off as many balls.
At 134 for one, Stirlands had a great platform to build a match-winning score. However, the innings fell away, with the other batsmen failing to build on the early good work, and Stirlands were all out for 215 from 53 overs.
Stirlands knew a score over 200 would not be easy to chase down. Their opening bowlers proved as much, as Jon Philmore and Garlick bowled far tighter than their Worthing counterparts had, offering very little to the batsmen.
Worthing found themselves 38 for three, with Garlick having removed openers Gould and Clapp, and Philmore trapping Challen lbw.
Skipper Briance brought himself into the attack, getting Chambers lbw then Rebbetts in the same manner on the stroke of drinks. Worthing were suddenly 67 for five, with Stirlands requiring five more wickets in 23 overs for a priceless victory.
Reid and Carter proceeded to bat out the rest of the game, with no intention of chasing the runs, thereby giving Stirlands little opportunity to take the remaining wickets. It was a bemusing tactic as they fell 23 short of victory in the end with five wickets still in hand.
Stirlands now find themselves out of the relegation zone, one point clear of Ifield and 17 clear of Lewes. They go to Cuckfield this weekend, knowing a 30-point win will keep them up, with anything else giving Ifield a chance of pipping them at the post.