Findon's final ball relegation escape sparks 'sheer euphoria' as they beat Stirlands to survive by solitary point

Archie Cairns hit the winning runs off the final ball as Findon avoided Division 3 West relegation. Picture by Stephen Goodger
Archie Cairns hit the winning runs off the final ball as Findon avoided Division 3 West relegation. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Bradley Bridson saluted Findon’s ‘remarkable’ fightback as they secured their Sussex League Division 3 West status off the final ball of the season.

The Horses captain felt his side were 'dead and buried', fearing relegation before a brilliant ninth-wicket stand saw them beat Stirlands by two wickets.

Findon had slumped to 187-8 in pursuit of 296, leaving them in serious danger of dropping out of the league.

However, an unbroken ninth-wicket partnership of 109 between 15-year-old Archie Cairns (50 not out) and Graham Manser (46*) took the visitors to what looked an unlikely victory.

The pair scored 11 off the last over, hitting the winning runs off the final ball of the season to survive relegation by a solitary point to send Steyning down.

Bridson pinpointed teenage talent Cairns as the key to the victory and is backing him for a big future after his heroics.

“It was quite a remarkable day to be honest,” Bridson said.

“I think at about 6pm we were pretty much dead and buried and gone.

“We heard Broadwater had got ten points from their first innings so we couldn’t finish above them unless we won and they didn’t.

“Steyning were also cruising to victory when Graham (Manser) walked out to bat at 187/8.

“But what followed was truly unbelievable.

“Archie is 15 and to bat like that was just phenomenal.

“He’s going to be some player for us and for him to get the winning runs was just a great moment.

“Literally going from despair to sheer euphoria within an hour was just incredible.”

Home side Stirlands won the toss and elected to bat before starting impressively and putting on 188 for the second wicket.

Opener George Briance (86) and Jake Moores (87) both hit huge scores as the hosts smashed their way to 295-8 from their 45 overs.

Harry Metters (3-51) did the most damage for Findon, with Harrison Grayston (2-37) and Graham Manser (2-63) both taking important wickets along the way.

Captain Bridson got the ball rolling with 63 but the visitors lost a cluster of wickets.

They fell to 141-6 and 187-8 to leave them in real danger of falling short in their bid to beat the drop on the final day.

But young Cairns came in at nine and hit an unbeaten half-century (50 not out) to secure an improbable victory for the visitors.

Alex Nielsen (45) and Graham Manser (46*) both played a key role in taking Bridson’s men to victory and league survival.

Fittingly, Cairns hit the winning runs off the final ball as Findon reached 296-8 off their 45 overs.

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