Stirlands could have won, should have drawn - but didn’t do either

Stirlands' Alex Garlick tries to get the breakthrough versus Worthing
Stirlands' Alex Garlick tries to get the breakthrough versus Worthing

Stirlands were left scratching their heads over how they contrived to lose a match in which they had been in a position to win and had seemingly made safe - even after the last ball had been fended off.

The toss for the Sussex League division-two game was won by Worthing on a blustery yet humid afternoon, and they chose to bat. Worthing started well and Stirlands had to wait to make the breakthrough because of inconsistent bowling.

However, Garlick continued his good form with the ball, removing the Worthing top four in quick succession having got rid of opener James thanks to a smart catch in the gully from Aaron Kinchen.

After Challen gloved a bouncer through to keeper Gooding, Rebbetts bamboozled by a slower ball, and Clapp too slow on the pull, Worthing found themselves 85 for four.

Danny Cox, a welcome sight back at the Birdham club, was brought on at the Church End to bowl into the wind and formed a fantastic bowling partnership with Garlick.

Cox finished with terrific figures of 19.3-6-57-6, with four of his victims lbw. This was a consistent theme throughout the afternoon as bowlers from the Church end found great help when they pitched the ball full and straight.

A sharp stumping from Gooding finished proceedings as Worthing were bowled out for 172. Garlick returned figures of four for 47 from 20 overs.

Stirlands were confident they could chase the score down. However, typically for their season, Stirlands did not find batting easy, thanks to excellent bowling from the Worthing openers.

Phillmore was promoted up the order in an effort to inject early impetus into the innings, yet this time it proved unsuccessful.

Eight Stirlands batsmen failed to make it into double figures. Those who did were Nick Hunt (16) and Dan Oliver, who hung around bravely for his 26. Skipper David Briance finished 11 not out.

After Kinchen was unlucky to be adjudged lbw, Stirlands were reeling at 34 for seven. Fallick hung around and built a partnership with Oliver, yet when both were out, Stirlands were 73 for nine and Briance and Tebb looked to see out the last few overs for a draw.

As each ball was counted down, it was left to Tebb to survive the last over. Then it was down to the last ball of the match.

Tebb did the hard work - he blocked the ball which squirted out into the gully. Then, in an inexplicable lapse in concentration, Tebb, so pleased with having survived the last over, wandered out of his crease. The throw from gully shattered the stumps, Tebb could not get back in time, and was run out.

Cue ecstatic scenes from Worthing, and desolation from the home side.

However, the Stirlands batsmen should never have let Worthing get close - and need to start batting properly if they want to remain in this league. They host Bexhill this Saturday.