Priory too strong for Burgess Hill... Stirlands fall at Findon
There was another win for Chichester Priory Park - but a defeat for Stirlands.
Read the latest reports from divisions three and four of the Sussex League below.
Burgess Hill v Chichester Priory Park
After a convincing opening-day victory, Chichester Priory Park builtbuild on that momentum at Burgess Hill.
Their hosts have been a bit of a bogey team over the past couple of years.
Opener Simon Hasted returned at the top of the order and with captain Matt Geffen unavailable, Jack Green stepped into his place – the Oxford male model’s debut in the first team.
Clearing clouds, a strong breeze and a damp pitch greeted Chichester and it was no great surprise that when the hosts won the toss, they asked Chichester to bat.
Chichester made a positive start, aided by some early wayward bowling. They reached 23 without loss when Hasted was bowled by Joe Maskell, triggering a mini-collapse.
At 67 for four overseas player Ahbishek Patel came to the crease and his partnership with Jay Hartard dramatically turned the match around.
With conditions becoming easier the pair batted sensibly yet aggressively and quickly turned the match in Chichester’s favour.
Both batsmen passed 50 comfortably and it was something of a surprise when Hartard popped the ball up to Kevin Ramsey off the bowling of Rapson and departed for 72.
The score was 200 at this point and there were still several overs to go. Stand-in captain Johnny Heaven played a typically-aggressive innings, smashing 31 off just 20 balls.
Patel finished on 71 not out as Chichester closed on 256 for six. The bright spot for Burgess Hill was the bowling of Rapson, who finished with five for 44.
Chasing 257 in 45 overs was a challenging ask and with new rules in the early games of the season, there would be no draws if Burgess Hill didn’t reach the target. They were handicapped by the loss of two early wickets, both clean bowled by Rob Carver.
Captain Tom Trowbridge appeared the only player willing to show intent. He batted very well for 48 until he was trapped lbw by James Stemp for the young all-rounder’s inaugural first-team wicket.
From there Burgess Hill never really looked like getting near the target. Stifled by disciplined bowling, the home side almost treated the remaining overs like an extended net session.
Mike Smith was the beneficiary of the home side’s lack of intent, taking four wickets (4-19) and effecting a run-out. The hosts eventually limped to 137 when Smith removed the final wicket to give Chichester a comprehensive 119-run victory.
After two games Chichester share the lead in division three with a maximum 60 points with three other teams.
Chichester host Brighton & Hove 2nd XI at Goodwood on Saturday.
Findon v Stirlands
With a significantly-altered side, Stirlands lost at Findon.
Captain George Coles lost the toss and Stirlands were asked to bat with Findon skipper Bradley Bridson keen to take advantage of a green and damp wicket.
Stand-in opener Matt James was smartly caught by Curtis Howell during a fiery spell that showed the wicket’s temperamental nature. Captain Coles joined William Gubbins and the pair looked to rebuild the innings but the home side quickly removed Coles before ripping through the Stirlands middle order thanks to a combination of sharp catches, poor shot selection and batsmen seeing deliveries flying over their heads off good lengths.
Gubbins was proving his class, crafting his way to yet another 50 before being run out from a direct hit as he was trying to push the score on towards the end of the innings.
Findon went about their chase of the required 125, and found runs easy to come by, with the wicket’s earlier misbehaving nature suddenly vanishing.
Stirlands found themselves quickly facing defeat with young George Briance the only wicket taker; enticing Bridson to advance down the wicket only to miss the ball and be stumped. After 22 overs, Findon reached their target to take the win and 30 points, with only two for the visitors.
Stirlands hope that was their low point of 2017 and next face last season’s rivals Slinfold at home, keenly awaiting the arrival of their overseas star Ajinkya Deshpande.
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