Slinfold’s struggling season ended as they were relegated from Sussex League Division 3 West despite a final day victory over local rivals Steyning.
Second-from-bottom Slinfold needed to win, which they did by 19 runs, and hope Worthing were beaten on the final day - but they came out on top to send Jonathan Hughes’ side down into Division 4.
It was the Lyons Road outfit’s fifth win from 18 games this season, but wasn’t enough to lift them out of the bottom two due to Worthing’s 56-run win over West Chiltington.
That mean that Slinfold finished 24 points behind their relegation rivals.
Batting first, Slinfold posted 173 all out as Cameron Scott topscored with 44, before they bowled out their hosts for 154 in 42.1 overs.
Chris Etherington (3-25) and Gary Hunt (2-20) impressed with the ball in the Slinfold innings where as well as Scott’s efforts, Steve Haines made 23 and Dan Graycon made 39.
Harrison Webb then produced an inspired spell and claimed 4-26 as Steyning could only muster 154 all out from 42.1 overs in reply.
Johnny Burfiend scored 30 as Steyning’s top batsmen struggled, while Ed Lamb made 20, but it was not enough as they came up 19 runs short of victory.
Slinfold skipper Hughes said: “Despite winning the last two matches, it is fair to say it has been a disappointing season given that we have been relegated, especially considering that we won one more match than Worthing who stayed up.
“These last two matches showed what we were capable of, but we were just too inconsistent throughout the season and ultimately we did not pick up enough bonus points.
“Bowling and fielding over recent years has been our strength and we have generally backed ourselves to defend any total we have set. However, this year it has been our Achilles heel where we have bowled too many wides, especially in the limited overs games.
“Likewise fielding has been poor throughout the season where we have dropped too many catches which have ultimately cost us and the opposition have made us pay for our mistakes.
“The old adage catches win matches is true and had we held on to our catches I am convinced we would not have been relegated.
“It gives us plenty to ponder over the winter but as a club we will be determined to make amends to try and get back up to this division.”
Stand-in Steyning skipper Collins said: “It was a day of mixed emotions, pleasing to see a few players on debut making the step up and not looking out of place at the standard, however, we were disappointed to not get over the line.”
Collins added: “We’re optimistic we can push on from what happened this season. This was the first time in a while we’ve gone into a season without an overseas and were slightly underprepared at the start which cost us in the first month. Since then collectively as a unit we’ve improved as the season has gone on and become more competitive, proving we’re good enough to mix it with the top sides in the division.”