Two of the Observer’s local West Sussex Invitation League sides are celebrating promotion with a few weeks to spare.
Partridge Green v Aldwick
At 8.40pm on Saturday night and in near darkness, Aldwick gained promotion to division three of the West Sussex Invitation League after beating Partridge Green by four wickets.
Aldwick did themselves no favours with a below-par fielding performance that allowed the home side to set a hefty 228 for victory.
Sam Tarrat (59), Joe Tourle (43) and Luke Woolgar (40*) were the main contributors to Green’s total. Ollie Smith bowled 15 overs taking two for 40 and was well-supported by Nabid Rahman (1-41).
In-form Aldwick opener Joel Lodge had made a ton in an evening game against Bognor out of a total of just 112, and he continued this rich vein of form with an unbeaten 85.
Despite losing his opening partner Louis Paul (4) early, Lodge carried his bat and featured in a 101-run second-wicket partnership with Rahman (64).
With good support from Dean Stokes (18) and Adam Rutter (24) against the effective bowling of Daniel Smith (4-56), Lodge was there at the end to celebrate promotion - now his team aim to win the title.
West Wittering v Three Bridges IV
After a tiring and emotional week for West Wittering CC which saw travellers move on to their pitch at Millennium Meadow, the first XI secured promotion after travelling themselves to face Three Bridges. Wittering were put in and openers Mark Taylor (38) and Ben Cook (38) took it to 107 before the first wicket fell.
Captain Carl Tupper joined Taylor, who was removed lbw. James Sandford (6) was unlucky to play on but the wicket brought in the in-form Mitch Hackshaw. Tupper (51*) and Hackshaw (53*) ran well and racked up the boundaries.
They took the score past 200 and both achieved half-centuries before Tupper declared on 219 for three. Three Bridges had 53 overs to chase the target but were extremely negative from the start. They reached 69 before the first wicket fell lbw to Rob Gray (1-6). Steve Day (2-26) got an lbw and had another batsman caught sharply in covers by Chris Doe.
After 45 overs it was 166 for three, the total still gettable. The unlikely bowling of Taylor (2-7) gave Wittering a couple more and paceman Tim Osborne (2-38) claimed two more. Wittering couldn’t take the wickets and Three Bridges finished on 167 for seven - but a winning draw for Wittering earned enough points to secure promotion for the second season running.
Aldwick II v Billingshurst III
Aldwick’s Ryan Purvis blasted his side to victory – again – this time with an innings of 64 not out that contained five sixes and six fours in another display of outstanding power-hitting.
Aldwick were chasing only 115 for victory but at ten for two, Billingshurst might have sensed an unlikely victory - until the Purvis factor kicked in. He was well-supported by Alex Cooper (21) against the accurate Kevin Davis (2-25).
Earlier, Billingshurst’s opening pair of Guy Hollander (48) and Graham Simmons (14) gave their side a good start but Jonny Knapp and Andy Burtenshaw each took four for 38 and only one other batsmen, Alex Jones (13*) made double figures as the visitors tumbled to 114 all out.
Aldwick II are top but second-placed Crawley Eagles III, who are ten points behind, and third-placed Broadbridge Heath II, 13 points behind, each have a game in hand which means Aldwick must win their last game to remain in serious contention for promotion.