Stirlands make it three in a row as Crawley Eagles crash-land

Having recovered well from losing their opening game of the season at Steyning with victories over Wisborough Green and Bognor, Stirlands earned a third consecutive victory in Sussex division three west when they entertained newly-promoted Crawley Eagles at Stirlands.

Stirlands elected to bowl, looking to take advantage of any moisture in the surface, which had been under the covers for two days.

It paid dividends for Australian seamer Anthony Butler (2-38), who had Rehan Hasan caught low at second slip by skipper Sean Heather with just nine on the board and Anthony Ender (0-25), who bowled with pace and hostility and was unfortunate to not take a wicket.

As the Eagles struggled to put significant partnerships together, Butler had Bashir caught at first slip by Nick Hunt for eight and Chris May removed Nizamdeen’s leg stump, leaving the Eagles 75 for three.

Stirlands’ leading wicket-taker Struan Cameron entered the attack, having Amaar Khan and Aamer Riaz both well stumped by Stuart Hanks.

Cameron picked up six for 66 from his 14 overs as the Eagles managed to scramble 209 for nine thanks to some late-order hitting from Atif Ali with 60 not out off from 44 as Stirlands’ fielding once again let them down.

Stirlands’ reply got off to a good start as openers Sean Heather and Hanks set about chasing down 210 from their 47 overs with aggressive strokeplay, enjoyed by the patrons soaking up the late-afternoon sunshine.

They put on 50 for the opening wicket before Hanks was bowled by Rilwan Mohamed for 23, bringing Will Gubbins in. They set about their task with patience in the face of tight bowling, yet were able to keep the scoreboard ticking with good running and by capitalising on anything loose.

Heather and Gubbins saw Stirlands to victory by nine wickets with three overs to spare, skipper Heather finishing 116 not out, his second consecutive century, and Gubbins 63 not out.

Stirlands picked up 28 points and are third - and will be looking for a fourth win on the bounce as they host Slinfold this Saturday.