Invincible Littlehampton complete unbeaten season

Littlehampton completed an unbeaten season with a win over Pagham 2nd XI
Littlehampton completed an unbeaten season with a win over Pagham 2nd XI

James Askew hailed a ‘great achievement’ as Littlehampton completed an invincible Sussex League Division 4 West campaign with a win at Pagham's 2nd XI on Saturday.

Many at the club would have seen it impossible to match the euphoria felt after a double-winning season last term, but another title triumph and avoiding defeat over the whole campaign goes close to matching that.

Having wrapped up a second title in as many seasons last time out, James Askew took his team to Pagham knowing anything other than a loss would see them complete an invincible season.

Pagham pushed them hard, but Chris Heberlein’s half-century (72) proved key as they chased down the 195 required to go unbeaten over 18 league matches - clinching a two-wicket triumph.

Skipper Askew was quick to admit the final day victory was far from their best but toasted another memorable season.

He said: “It’s been a great achievement by the team to go unbeaten for a whole season and it’s rewarding for the lads’ hard work they have put in.

“We have fully deserved it with the cricket we have played this year.

“We made it hard work Saturday but got the job done.

“We used it as an opportunity for people who haven’t bowled much this year to have a go. Young Jack (Turner) picked up three wickets with some good variation deliveries.

“Then we did the same with the batting, mixed it up for people who haven’t batted much. Chris (Heberlein) showed what he can do with an excellent innings, supported well by Nathan (Perry).”

Littlehampton stuck Pagham in and used nine different bowlers as the champions gave those who have not had much of a go with the ball a chance.

Michael Askew (2-24) and Thomas Lee (0-22) opened the bowling, before young talent Turner (3-42) starred.

Opener Albert Burgess made a quickfire 44 and Theo Benyon-Ayres top-scored (45) as Pagham made good progress.

The home side looked well placed at 191-6 but lost their last four wickets without scoring as they were all out for 191.

Captain James Askew came away with figures of 3-16 and Ryan Budd (2-16) played their part as Littlehampton required under 200 to complete an invincible campaign.

Skipper James Askew (16) and Guy Souch (three) opened the batting.

Heberlein, promoted to number three for Littlehampton’s final game of the season, would play an innings which made all the difference. His 72 came off just 47 balls, including 14 fours, to put his side on their way.

When Heberlein went, Littlehampton were 177-5 and closing in on victory.

The visitors got over the line in quick time, reaching 197-8 off just 25.1 overs to spark wild celebrations.

Littlehampton now have a well earned break before preparing for life in Division 3 West.

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