There was a defeat after a batting collapse for Chichester in their first league game of 2016 at Priory Park - and a draw for Stirlands in their home debut for the summer.
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Chichester Priory Park v Burgess Hill
Sussex League division three
After a thrilling tie at Crowhurst Park, Chichester Priory Park were unable to go one better when they hosted Burgess Hill in their first home game of the year.
After choosing to bat first, Chichester’s preparations suffered a serious blow when one of the team suffered a suspected broken finger during the warm-up. With no replacement immediately available, they would have to play the match with just ten players.
Things went from bad to worse for the hosts as Burgess Hill seamers George Willett and Dan Strange dismantled Chichester’s batting line-up.
Strange, who took a hat-trick on his last visit to Priory Park, was the primary tormentor finishing with bowling figures of six for 25. Only Charlie Futcher (27) contributed meaningfully to the score as Chichester were bowled out for 76 in just 23 overs.
Defending such a small total, the hosts had to take early wickets and that’s exactly what they did.
Chichester captain Johnny Heaven struck with the first ball of the Burgess Hill innings, Tom Trowbridge the victim.
Just five balls later Heaven struck again to leave the visitors two for two after the first over, giving the hosts a glimmer of hope.
Brothers Jack and Ian Simpson steadied the ship, adding 46 for the third wicket. Burgess Hill appeared to be cruising to victory but three quick wickets had the visitors wobbling again at 61 for five.
Joe Maskell and Kirk Proto made sure there would be no stunning comeback from Chichester as they knocked off the remaining runs to give Burgess Hill a five-wicket victory.
The result and manner of the defeat was a major disappointment to Chichester. They will want to bounce back convincingly this week when they travel down the coast to Goring.
Stirlands v Rye
Sussex League division four
On a sunny, breezy day in Birdham, Stirlands couldn’t force the win after deciding to bat first
A promising and attacking 42-run opening stand between Leo Wilkinson-Beal and William Gubbins ended when Wilkinson-Beal was bowled for 22 by Hugo Nel.
In came new Stirlands captain, George Coles, who slowly accumulated runs, while his partner continued to find the boundary on a regular basis.
Tight bowling from Harry Smeed kept the scoring rate down but the batsmen’s confidence grew. Gubbins brought up his first century of the season off 134 balls while Coles continued to rotate the strike, providing the platform for an end of innings acceleration.
Coles began to match Gubbins’ strokeplay, bringing up his maiden century. Gubbins and Coles left off the field having put on an unbroken stand of 233, scoring 144* and 100* respectively.
Rye required 276 from 47 overs at a rate of a little under six an over. Early pressure and good bowling from Struan Cameron and Finn Cater brought Stirlands an early wicket and the prospect of a first win.
However, patient batting from James Hamilton and Nel brought Rye back into the game and by the time Nel departed, lbw to Cameron, for a well-compiled 104, the score had advanced to 206-3 an the tide had turned with Rye in the driving seat.
Will Wheeler took Rye to 252 before being bowled by Cameron for 66. With overs running out, wickets fell regularly as the batsmen continued to chase the target.
The captain’s choice to bring back young Finn Carter proved the right one. Two very tidy overs from Carter left Stirlands defending 18 from final over to draw. Cameron bowled with composure as Rye captain Gary Willis was unable to find his inner ‘Carlos Brathwaite’ as Rye finished on 263-7.
Stirlands gained 12 points, Rye five.
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