Chichester happy to be back at Goodwood ... Stirlands boosted by trio

Adam Downing in Stirlands action / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Adam Downing in Stirlands action / Picture by Kate Shemilt

Chichester and Stirlands both did the business in the latest round of sussex League games.

Here are the reports - and don’t miss all the local cricket action in the Observer, out every Thursday.

The crushing nature of the victory earned the home side maximum points and they keep pace with the division-three leaders.

Chichester v Bexhill 2nds

Sussex League division three

Following a disappointing defeat on the road last week, Chichester returned to Goodwood and recaptured their winning form.

Bexhill were attempting to follow up their first victory of the year and their captain Neil Blatchly won the toss and asked the home side to bat first.

Chichester’s batting problems last week were mostly of their own creation with poor shot selection accounting for the majority of the wickets.

The trend appeared to be continuing when Peter Lamb (16) tamely chipped the ball to cover off the bowling of Byron Smith. Two balls later Simon Hasted (0) followed as the hosts struggled to get a foothold.

Not for the first time this year, Jay Hartard came to the rescue. The batsman has been in excellent form at the start of the year and continued his good run.

Putting on 36 for the third wicket with Matt Geffen and 46 for the fourth with Matt Bennison, he passed 50 for the third time in five matches.

Hartard was being let down by his partners as Chichester’s batting frailty was exposed once again. When Hartard departed for 82, Chichester were 139 for seven. Some canny, creative batting by Abz Patel (30) and the lower order brought the score up to 187 all out by the end of the innings.

After tea Chichester were quickly among the wickets with Dan Joseph (4-30) Bexhill’s tormentor-in-chief. He accounted for four of the first five wickets to fall as the visitors stumbled to 40 for five inside ten overs. The sole batsman to look untroubled was opener Joe Sarro, but Rob Carver removed Sarro for 13.

Chi captain Matt Geffen mopped up the lower order to claim three wickets. Carver wrapped up the innings with a comfortable caught and bowled as Bexhill collapsed to 79 all out to give Chichester victory by 108 runs.

The crushing nature of the victory earned the home side maximum points and they keep pace with the division-three leaders, although they remain third. This week they are at home to Preston Nomads 2nds.

Stirlands v Three Bridges 2nds

Division four

Another sunny day in Sussex saw the arrival of Three Bridges at Birdham – and three new Stirlands faces.

In their side were Sam Foster, a destructive and imposing imposing opening batsman, Jermaine Bullen, an all-rounder fresh off the plane from Barbados and former Hampshire spinner Raj Maru, providing experience and advice to all at the club.

Stirlands hoped the new blood can bring a much-needed confidence-boosting win.

Three Bridges won the toss and elected to bat, giving Bullen an early opportunity to open his account for his new club. Tidy lines and good pace brought a second debutant into the game as Atif Elahi was caught by Foster at mid-off to leave the visitors two down after Adam Downing had dismissed Sohail Shah, caught smartly by Torquil Deacon at slip. 

Further tight bowling and excellent fielding from the home side kept the scoring rate to a minimum as George Briance and Will Gubbins finished with economical figures of 9-2-21-0 and 9-0-43-1.

The introduction of Maru with 15 overs left proved to be a great decision as Jack Biden was trapped lbw for an excellently-compiled 65.

The visitors struggled to kick on in the latter stages of their innings with Maru capping an outstanding debut bowling performance with figures of 8-2-23-4. He was ably assisted in the death overs by Leo Wilkinson-Beal and the returning debutant Bullen.

Stirlands needed 157 for victory. 

Openers Gubbins and Foster found life tough going after a very tidy start from the Three Bridges opening bowlers. They weathered the early storm and did their job by seeing off the new ball.

The opening stand of 54 was broken when Gubbins was trapped lbw by first-change slow bowler Elahi for a battling 31.

Jake Moores was bowled just one ball before drinks. As Foster and Deacon looked to steady the ship, the former was dismissed trying to pull a long hop on a wicket that kept low for much of the day.

Stirlands skipper George Coles (29) came to crease and with Deacon (37) batted with fluency.

Chasing a relatively-modest total, the partnership proved decisive in deciding the result. Both were eventually dismissed leaving Briance and Willkinson-Beal to finish off a five-wicket victory. 

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