Stirlands give Bognor the bird at Birdham

Promotion-chasing and in-form Stirlands beat Bognor at Birdham to keep up the pressure on Sussex division three west league leaders Billingshurst.

Stirlands won the toss, and unsurprisingly elected to bat on another perfect Church Lane track.

But they lost opener Stuart Hanks, who nicked Sam Taylor to keeper Josh Seward, and Stirlands were nought for one.

The early loss brought Will Gubbins to the crease, and he and Sean Heather set about rebuilding the innings and establishing a platform for later batters.

Gubbins scored some crisp boundaries through the offside off Graham Bush, while the pair kept the scoreboard ticking over in the face of some tight bowling from Bognor.

They took the score to 120 for one and reached their 50s in the same over before Gubbins was unluckily adjudged lbw off leg-spinner Elliott Clarke for 55.

Ed Clarke made 17 before he was stumped by Seward, again off Clarke, while Heather continued to score freely. Heather was next to go, lbw off Sam Taylor for 78 and Stirlands were wobbling at 163 for four.

Stirlands required middle-order contributions and Leon Fourie and Ant Ender obliged, adding 42 in quick time before Ender departed for 21. Fourie continued with the support of Adam Downing (8) and Struan Cameron (14no), finishing on 44 not out, and Stirlands declared on 246 for six.

In Bognor’s reply, Ender bowled with great hostility, making life uncomfortable for Michael Harris, who took a number of blows to the body before he was lbw to Struan Cameron for eight.

Stirlands had to break the dangerous partnership of Bognor’s two best batters, Sam Taylor and Elliott Clarke, and the pair added 30 before Australian Anthony Butler tickled Taylor’s timbers to send him on his way for eight.

Clarke was next to go, sharply caught low at slip by Heather off Cameron for 38, the score 66 for three. Stirlands took regular wickets with Ender, Butler and Cameron all contributing.

Only Seward offered resistance and he was last man out for 72, Bognor bowled out for 183 inside 43 overs, and Stirlands won by 63 runs. Cameron bowled through the innings and took four for 80, while Ender took three for 40 and Butler three for 45.

Stirlands secured maximum 30 points, but with Billingshurst also gaining the same, the gap at the top remains 30 points.

Bognor 2nd XI v Stirlands 2nd XI

Bognor’s batsmen were undone by the slow left-arm of Leo Beal as his six for 58 saw Bognor dismissed for 187. Fine counter-attacking knocks by veteran Graham Ball (62) and young prodigy Jack Congdon (38) saw Bognor to a total that was defendable.

Beal then displayed fine form with the bat scoring a fine 86 as Stirlands moved to a three-wicket win, Louis Paul the pick of the Bognor attack with two for 25.

Pagham v Steyning

Division three west

Pagham lost by 82 runs after their visitors posted a challenging total of 250 for nine.

Peter Cotterill’s three for 71 was the highlight of the Pagham bowling but when they replied, Joe Metz (52) was the only batsman to pass 20.

They were all out for 168 as Ben Shellford followed up his 120 with six for 83.