Chichester and Stirlands boost their promotion chances

It was a fine week for Chichester Priory Park and Stirlands as their Sussex League division-three and four promotion bids took steps forward.

Abz Patel has been in top form for Chichester Priory Park / Picture by Derek Martin

Here are the latest reports from the two clubs...

Roffey 2nds v Chichester

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Division three

Chichester are back on top after they won the first of a series of matches against second XI teams in their league.

With a flat pitch and a small ground, visiting captain Matt Geffen won the toss and elected to bat first.

A couple of early wickets fell to leave the visitors 42-2 but an excellent 146-run partnership between Peter Lamb and Matt Bennison for the third wicket took the attack to the hosts.

Bennison showcased his talent on his way to 68, his highest score of the year.

At the other end, no-one was safe from the attacking strokes of Lamb, not even the windows of the nearby houses. Chichester’s player of the year for 2016 brought up a well-deserved 100, his first for the first XI ,with a pull down to square leg to thunderous cheers.

Lamb fell for 102 but a quickfire 23 from Dan Joseph helped. Roffey’s young bowling attack did well to keep Chichester in sight and when Geffen called the team off with an over to go Chichester were 245-6, their highest score of the year.

Chichester’s strength is in their bowling and Abz Patel settled lingering nerves for the visitors with three early wickets.

Jay Hartard, developing a knack for taking vital wickets, took three scalps of his owns. Resistance came from the lower order and Conor Griffiths, the stubborn opener, carried his bat for a half century.

Joseph took three wickets to clean up the tail and Roffey were bowled out for 117.

A maximum haul of points saw Chichester regain top spot but the top four are separated by just nine points.

Chichester’s next challenge comes away to Brighton & Hove seconds on Saturday.

Hastings 2nd v Stirlands

Sussex League division four

The march goes on for Stirlands. They are just eight points behind third-placed Steyning in the race for promotion.

Captain George Coles lost the toss and Stirlands were surprisingly inserted on a wicket that looked hard and true.

Openers Will Gubbins and George Briance started fluently and the score moved quickly to 35-0 before Joe Adams’ double strike pegged them back. Briance played around a straight one for nine before Coles chopped on from one that kept low for one.

Torquil Deacon and Gubbins made progress as spin replaced seam and there was plenty of turn for the off-spin of Adam Page and leg-spin of Jack Coleman.

Gubbins passed 50 – having been dropped by the keeper off Page on 49 – before Deacon was bowled by Page. Jamaine Bullen took the attack to the spinners, while Gubbins continued to milk the spin for ones and twos.

The pair added 31 before Gubbins was adjudged caught behind off Coleman for 73. Bullen and Jake Moores added 46 before Page snared Moores lbw for 17.

Bullen passed 50 for the second consecutive week but Page picked up the late wickets of Dan Mugford, Bullen, caught at long-on for a buccaneering 76, and Alex Brazier as Stirlands finished 227-8 from their 53 overs. Page finished with 5-66.

Stirlands knew spin would play a big role in their hunt for ten wickets and 30 points. Bullen had other ideas and Stirlands had an early breakthrough as he bowled Ryan Hoadley with a beauty that started on middle and swung away to clip the top of off-stump - unplayable.

Then 24-1 became 24-2 as Mugford burst through the defences of Ben Ferguson.

Bullen saw Alex Coyle feather a catch to stand-in keeper Coles. Hastings were 46-4 as George Eldridge edged to Gubbins at second slip.

Captain Coles turned to turn from both ends with left-armers George Briance and Raj Maru.

Harry Scowen edged Maru to Deacon at slip and Hastings were 53-5. Adam Maharaj-Newman struck several lusty blows, but tried one too many and edged Briance to Deacon at first slip.

Hastings tried to go down in a blaze of glory, offering catches at will to the grateful Stirlands fielders, who made no mistake. Coleman lofted Maru to Bullen and William Lucas hit the same bowler straight to bus driver David Briance at mid-off where he took the simple catch.

Bullen caught Matt Cammish at cow corner and next ball it was over as Page sliced Briance to Adam Downing at point. Hastings were all out for 94, Stirlands wrapping up the victory by 133 runs.

Stirlands travel to second-placed Slinfold this weekend, 47 points adrift, knowing a third consecutive victory would put them in the hunt for a promotion spot.

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