Stirlands make strong start but crash in relegation clash

C111341-2 Spt Crick Stirl Lewes  Photo Louise Adams''Stirlands opener Nick Gubbins

C111341-2 Spt Crick Stirl Lewes Photo Louise Adams''Stirlands opener Nick Gubbins

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STIRLANDS arrived at the ground on Saturday, on the back of a magnificent win against Glynde the previous week, for a crucial game involving Lewes, who were the only team lying below Stirlands before the start of play.

After winning another toss, David Briance elected to bat on what was a fantastic pitch for batting with an outfield which gave the batsman value for their shots.

Nick Hunt (59) and Nick Gubbins (54) gave the home side just the start they needed with the hosts most productive opening stand of the season, which ended on 103 as Hunt was dismissed attempting a cut shot.

Hunt showed just how dangerous he can be at the top of the order, and when Gubbins was dismissed, the score was 134-2 with Stirlands in a position where they could either collapse or capitalise.

Alex Garlick (61) and Ian Gooding (74) did certainly put the hosts in a strong position batting sensibly while keeping the scoring rate at around five an over.

Gooding even felt confident enough to bring out the reverse sweep as he dispatched the Lewes bowlers to all parts of the ground at the end of the innings.

Briance was given the luxury of declaring during the 48th over with the score 268-5.

Stirlands struggled to make early inroads and the opposition were looking comfortable on 92-1 until Daniel Oliver (3-57) came on and with his first delivery, struck with a convincing lbw.

The hosts looked on top with the score 207-7 with the off-spin of William Gubbins picking up two crucial wickets during the middle overs.

However, not for the first time in the season, Stirlands could not capitalise from a winning position through ill-disciplined bowling and shoddy fielding.

This enabled Lewes to pass the finishing line with three wickets remaining and one ball left.

The game was certainly a crowd-pleaser, but Stirlands would have hoped for more than 13 points from this relegation battle. They continue find themselves in the drop zone, two points below Ifield and safety. It promises to be a tough couple of weeks as they face top-of-the-league Worthing along with Cuckfield.