A much-improved performance from Stirlands was not enough to overcome newly-promoted Goring-by-Sea on a sunny afternoon in Birdham in Sussex League division two.
Goring chose to bowl first, possibly because of Stirlands’ struggles with the bat in their first three games, despite the good-looking pitch.
Stand-in captain Nick Hunt feathered an edge to the keeper for a duck off Rowan Bezuidenhout in the first over, and incoming batsman Aaron Kinchen soon lost his off-stump to Ellis Woolley for another duck with the score at seven for two.
Tim Robinson came in and when Will Gubbins was out for 13 to a dubious caught-behind decision, Stirlands were 26 for three.
But a stunning innings from Robinson carried Stirlands. As wickets fell around him, he smashed 106 quicker than a run a ball, including 12 fours and five sixes. He took a particular liking to left-arm spinner Aaron Wyatt, dispatching him into the churchyard a number of times with superb straight hitting.
Jon Phillmore scored a quick 24 at the end as Stirlands were all out for 179, but they knew it was below par.
Goring’s reply got off to a bad start, Alex Garlick removing Adam Coutts without scoring. Matt Keen and Ben Cartwright had luck on their side as Stirlands struggled to break the partnership.
Christian Fallick eventually had Keen lbw, and the match swung back Stirlands way as Paul Dorkings picked up three quick wickets, finishing with three for 39 off ten overs. But Bezuidenhout led the Goring fightback and they were cruising with 30 required and five wickets in hand.
Three quick wickets gave Stirlands a way back in. Bezuidenhout was caught well by Gubbins off Garlick, who then bowled keeper Maynard. Gubbins had Woolley caught and bowled and Stirlands required just two wickets. But they could not get over the line, and Marriott and Leeming saw Goring home.
Stirlands play Ifield at home this Saturday looking for their first win of the season.
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