Stirlands welcomed 2016 rivals Slinfold to Birdham, only a couple of days after the news that Indian seamer Ajinkya Deshpande would not be joining the club, after his visa application was rejected.
Rather than be disconsolate this news appeared to galvanise with positivity flowing throughout the side.
Captain George Coles was successful with his first task; winning the toss and inviting the visitors to bat, a decision that looked to be the correct one.
Disciplined new ball bowling from the returning Adam Downing alongside Coles, restricted Slinfold in the opening ten overs.
Unfortunately for the home side, they were unable to capitalise on pressure induced chances, eventually dropping five catches that would ultimately prove decisive.
As Slinfold started to push on with their innings, chances were finally taken at regular intervals, despite the big-hitting efforts of Akeem Jordan for Slinfold, as the visitors closed in on maximum batting points. Slinfold finished on 228.
Sadly for the home side, things got off to the worst possible start, as Jordan ripped through the top order; firstly cleaning up Leo Wilkinson-Beal, before removing Torquil Deacon the very next ball.
A rebuilding task was required, with William Gubbins and Ian Gooding looking to punish any wayward deliveries. Unfortunately this was proving to be harder than in previous seasons and the required run rate slowly increased as Slinfold tightened their grip on the game.
Regular wickets fell and Stirlands were skittled out after 44 overs, sending them to a comprehensive 112-run defeat.
Bognor v Portslade
Batting first, Bognor lost Ollie Adams early but Max Ashmore and Mike Harris rebuilt with a solid partnership. After Ashmore was LBW for 48, Harris pushed on, with the help of Josh Seward and Joe Ashmore (44). Harris eventually fell for 88, leaving Marques Clarke to launch some enormous sixes, leaving Bognor on 266-4.
In reply, Portslade never got going, thanks to wickets for Sam Adams, Josh Sargeant and a late burst from Joe Ashmore. Portslade fell well short in reply, being bowled out for 116.
Chichester Priory Park v Brighton and Hove 2nd XI
After two consecutive victories to begin the season, Chichester Priory Park were looking to continue their winning streak against Brighton & Hove 2nd XI.
Johnny Heaven, continuing to stand-in as Chichester’s captain, won the toss and invited the visitors to bat first.
Brighton opener Martyn Ford was run out off a free-hit delivery in just the fourth ball of the innings. Opener Jack Bradley led the fightback after the early loss with 68 and Adam Mates chipped in with an aggressive 46.
Chichester kept plugging away, though, and were exceptional in the field.
Peter Lamb personified this by dismissing Brighton captain Fergus Guppy with a great run-out.
Two late wickets from James Stemp helped halt the visitors momentum as they closed their innings on 209 for 7. A competitive total, however, the consensus was that the target was around 15 to 20 runs short of par.
Chichester began their reply in aggressive fashion, led from the front by Lamb. Shrugging off the early loss of his opening partner, Lamb cruised his way to his first half-century of the season from just 48 deliveries.
Unfortunately, he was out the following ball after reaching this milestone. With Abz Patel following quickly for a duck, Chichester needed a batsman to stay at the crease and see the chase through. They found just the man in Jayson Milhouse Hartard. Following his 72 last week, Hartard looked in top form and quickly passed his half-century from just 57 balls.
But losing regular wickets Chichester were 208 for 9, agonisingly close the victory and defeat.
What followed was a tense five balls for last man Alex Pegg, including a very loud appeal for LBW, that he managed to negotiate.
Entering the 44th and penultimate over, Hartard played and missed a couple of times as the tension was racked up to unbearable levels. Something had to give and it did on the fourth ball when Hartard clipped Guppy for four to win the match for Chichester by one wicket as the young batsman finished on 94 not out.
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