Chichester and Stirlands keep their eyes on the prize

Mike Clowes batting for Stirlands against Mayfield / Picture by Derek Martin
Mike Clowes batting for Stirlands against Mayfield / Picture by Derek Martin

Chichester Priory Park and Stirlands remain on course to reach their season’s targets - with Priory eyeing the Sussex League division-three final and Stirlands hopeful of the second promotion spot in division four.

Here are the latest reports from both clubs...

Chichester have to play all three of their rivals so their chances of promotion are firmly in their hands.

Preston Nomads 2nds v Chichester Priory Park

Sussex league division three

Just four games remain in the 2017 season and Chichester Priory Park are in an extremely good position to win promotion to division two.

Their visit to Preston Nomads seconds saw a return to the 45-over win/loss format which proved popular at the start of the season.

Chichester captain Matt Geffen won the toss and asked the hosts to bat first.

Geffen got among the wickets almost immediately, taking two in one over to reduce the hosts to 21 for two. The pitch was relatively lifeless and Nomads got some partnerships going.

Chichester’s bowlers kept plugging away with very little reward. James Stemp, Mike Smith and Jay Hartard each picked up a wicket by drawing a rash shot from the batsmen.

At 111-5 Michael Bell (27) joined Abdul Shafi (75no). The pair put on 66 for the sixth wicket as they attempted to push the score towards 200. Some good bowling and fielding by Chichester just about kept them under this mark and the hosts closed on 196-8.

Chichester’s response began in familiar fashion, top-order batsmen getting a start but failing to push on. After 12 overs the visitors were 51-4 and in danger of collapsing to an embarrassing defeat.

Mike Smith (26) and Simon Hasted put on 42 for the fifth wicket but when Smith was run out and Dan Joseph followed him back soon afterwards, the momentum swung back in favour of Nomads.

Stemp counter-attacked in aggressive fashion, hitting 21 from 19 balls as he and Hasted put on 45 for the seventh wicket in six overs.

Chichester don’t believe in winning easily though – first Stemp and then Hasted (46) returned to the pavilion to leave the game on a knife-edge at 162-8. George Perry (20no) and Geffen (20no) showed cool heads, putting on 35 for the ninth wicket. Chichester reached their target with three overs to spare to win by two wickets.

Defeats for close rivals Haywards Heath and Pagham see Chichester regain the lead in division three with three games to go. Chichester have to play all three of their rivals so their chances of promotion are firmly in their hands.

This week they face Haywards Heath at Goodwood, and victory could see them put one foot firmly in Division Two.

Stirlands v Mayfield

Division four

Stirlands captain George Coles took a gamble on electing to bat on a track that offered good value to the Mayfield seam attack after the recent bad weather.

The  Stirlands openers, led by the experienced Mike Clowes, made a steady start but when wickets fell Stirlands were under pressure as runs were hard to come by.

However a mid-innings partnership between Dan Mugford and the youthful Torquil Deacon meant Stirlands reached 208-9. Mugford hit 24 and Deacon finished with his highest score of the season so far, a very well-grafted 89.

When Mayfield batted it started all wrong for them as Jamaine Bullen took an excellent catch off his own bowling with the very first delivery.

Bullen continued to apply pressure by dismissing the dangerous Andy Cornford and was well supported by the medium pace of Mugford and David Briance.

The introduction of left-arm spinners Raj Maru and George Briance turned the screw on Mayfield. Lead batsman James Chaplin fell cleaned bowled by George Briance and with the run rate growing wickets continued to fall as they fell 100 short, leaving Stirlands a much-needed victory in the race for second spot and promotion.

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