Pagham are champions - with a bit to spare

Pagham - the Sussex division-thee champions of 2014   Picture by Kate Shemilt
Pagham - the Sussex division-thee champions of 2014 Picture by Kate Shemilt

PAGHAM have secured the title – and promotion to division two – with a game to spare when they beat Ansty by four wickets.

Home skipper Stuart Rutter won the toss and elected to field and Crawley Eagles got off to a poor start, losing Tuffield Dar for two with the score on nine.

The Eagles then took control thanks to Fazian Nizamdean (63) and Amaar Suddazahai (39) and at 141 for three it looked as though Pagham would be chasing a 200-plus score.

However Justin Scott followed up his four wickets at Stirlands with a superb spell of five for 29 in 13 overs which swung the match back in favour of Pagham.

With two wickets from Nabib Rahman and two from Mike Hales, Crawley Eagles were finally dismissed for 171.

Pagham made the worst start possible with Scott having his off-stump removed first ball by the impressive Adil Mustafa.

Rutter (33) and Joe Metz (20) showed great application against hostile bowling before Metz was out with 46 on the board.

This brought to the wicket Nilushan Nonis, who had scored just under 400 runs in the last four matches, but his second ball from Mustafa bowled him without scoring.

Crawley Eagles celebrated as if the match were won. However Mike Hales had other ideas and probably played his best and certainly most important innings for Pagham scoring 60 not out.

Joe De La Fuente chipped in with 19 and Wayne Green managed 12 not out to see Pagham home by four wickets – and the celebrations could begin.