Middleton, Bognor and Pagham enjoy last-day victories

Pagham celebrate a wicket at Stirlands, where they won on the final day / Picture by Kate Shemilt
Pagham celebrate a wicket at Stirlands, where they won on the final day / Picture by Kate Shemilt

The final weekend of the Sussex League cricket season didn't bring too many dramas for our local sides in the top five divisions - all have retained their status for 2019.

Here's all the final-weekend reports...

Middleton v Ifield

Sussex premier

Middleton won their final game of the season at home against bottom side Ifield.

Skipper Sean Heather elected to bat. He opened twith 17-year-old Jack Dawling and they put on an opening stand of 252, comfortably the highest Middleton stand of the season.

Heather was first to go for 127 and was followed in the following over by Dawling for 102, his maiden premier league century.

Mahesh Rawat left just seven overs scored the four runs necessary to take him past 1,000 league runs for the season.

Middleton finished on 316-4 from their 50 overs –their highest score of the season.

The Ifield openers put on 55 for the first wicket before Craig Fowle took the first of his four wickets. Ifield lost their next six wickets for just 39 runs.

Middleton won in the 48th over when opener Akshay Ramani was caught by Patrick Colvin off his own bowling for a credible 80, Ifield finishing on 150.

Chichester Priory Park v St James

Division two

With their position in division two secured for another year, Chichester Priory Park didn’t have a lot to play for in their final game, other than personal pride. St James’ Montefiore though had a slim chance of promotion to the Premier League.

The toss was won by home captain Matt Geffen, who elected to bowl first.

St James’ innings was built on a number of moderate partnership and plenty of scores in the 30s. Henry Sims and Hector Loughton top scored with 33 each with Sam Copper chipping in with 29 off 16 balls.

They were assisted by wayward bowling from the home attack, a total of 35 wides helping boost the visitors’ score to 219-9 at the close.

In reply the majority of Chichester’s batsmen appeared eager to get the winter break under way. They slipped to 8-5 and finally 37-8 as the season threatened to end with a whimper.

Only an 81-run partnership for the final wicket between Geffen (26no) and the side’s leading run scorer of 2018 Matt Bennison (61) saved Chichester from humiliation.

Despite the resistance, it only delayed the inevitable. Chichester were finally bowled out for 138, giving St James’s victory by 81 runs.

A disappointing end to the season saw Chichester finish seventh in the table on 265 points, but their primary aim of remaining in division two has been achieved.

There are plenty of developmental areas for the team though if they wish to continue on their climb back towards the Premier League. Hopefully 2019 will bring a season of consistent success.

Safe! That's despite defeat
Bognor v Bexhill

Division 2

The last game of the year at the Regis Oval saw Ryan Maskell’s men host Bexhill with the visitors needing a win to stay in the division.

Bognor chose to bowl and burly Sam Adams snaffled 3-31. Support came from Geordie Andy Greig with a miserly 2-7 and athletic Joshy Sargeant also bagged two wickets.

Bognor’s batsmen all played cameos and it was left to Jim Fallick to careen two mighty sixes to see Bognor home by four wickets, a win that sees them finish sixth in division two.

Stirlands v Pagham

Div 3

The final day of the season was all about who could finish best of the rest behind champions Goring, but Stirlands and Pagham had to settle for fourth and fifth respectively.

The Stirlands pitch was a little damp and Pagham won the toss and elected to bat first.

Openers Jamaine Bullen and Dan Mugford started well and ex-Stirlands keeper, and now Pagham captain, Stuart Hanks was caught well by a leaping David Briance off Bullen.

Jack Stannard and Gary Young battled to put a partnership together. They took Pagham to 92 before Briance breached the defences of Young. Ryan Barratt, provided good company for Stannard.

Dom Fecher provided Stirlands with two further wickets as Stannard and Bartlett looked to increase the scoring rate, but some lusty hitting from Rico Webb took the visitors to 210-4.

Will Gubbins and Jake Moores knew a solid start was needed and at 65 without loss Pagham were struggling for a breakthrough as the pace of Webb failed to intimidate the Stirlands openers.

But Moores was bowled by Peter Cotterill for a gutsy 36, bringing George Briance to the crease, only for him to depart next ball lbw.

Captain George Coles and Gubbins were together but Justin Scott took the wicket of Coles, adjudged lbw for 10, and it soon became 93-4 as Leo Wilkinson-Beal was run out off his second ball.

Wickets fell and the home side were soon 109-7, with hope resting on the shoulders of Gubbins and Fecher. As Gubbins reached another 50, his defences were beaten by a Scott in-swinger, leaving Stirlands 136-8.

Fecher and Adam Norris added 50 but Fecher was caught in the penultimate over for an impressive 37, with Stirlands finishing on 194-9 from their 45 overs. Scott took 5-21.

Pagham obtained a 30-point win, but Stirlands picked up eight bonus point to leave them a point ahead of Pagham in the final table.

West Wittering join the revolution
Arundel v West Wittering

Div 5 West

On a glorious day, West Wittering travelled to Arundel for the last game of the season. They batted first and helped by a fast outfield, Mark Taylor (17) and Gareth Lendrum (46) got them off to a decent start before they fell in consecutive overs.

But that brought in the in-form Carl Tupper (50) and the effervescent Liam Bates (96), who built a solid partnership before accelerating. Bates rode his luck at times, but played a magnificent innings with a happy mix of classic and agricultural hitting that befitted the farmland setting.

Brandon Trimmer (22) joined him at the end for a cameo that took him to the top of the club runs leaderboard for the season and boosted WW to 252-6 in their 40 overs.

Arundel started their reply well and were ahead of the run rate with Turner (33), Bain (27) and Towe (33) all scoring quickly and Hornsby (45) and Temple (55) adding middle-order impetus with some big hitting and good running between the wickets.

Scoreboard pressure took its toll and wickets started falling regularly. Arundel took the game to the final over but were all out for 237, getting enough points to secure their status in the league for next season.

Joe Pink (3-41) was the pick of the bowlers, supported by James Staight (3-53), James White (2-51) and Johnny Miller (1-21 on his 21st birthday).