Toss is vital as Chichester get season off to stuttering start

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Chichester started their 2011 Sussex Premier Cricket League campaign in a disappointing fashion as they lost by 93 runs to Hastings at Priory Park – mainly because of an unbeaten 151 from Matt Machan.

A combination of a fine day and a good wicket ensured visiting captain Jason Finch had no hesitation in electing to bat on winning the toss. His decision appeared to be a reasonably good one as Hastings started fairly well, but they lost two wickets in quick succession to leave them 23 for two thanks to Richard Logan (1-38) and Richard Browning (1-87).

However, these wickets brought Harry Finch (44) and Machan to the crease.

The pair put on 127 for the third wicket before Finch was lost thanks to the bowling of debutant Elliot Purser (2-55).

Despite the demise of Jason Finch soon after, hopes of Chichester gaining the ascendancy were soon quashed as Machan powered his way to an unbeaten 151 with Freddie Hulbert (36) providing able support.

Hastings declared with the score at 281 for five after 53.1 overs, giving Chichester 54 overs in reply to overcome the challenging victory target.

The reply started poorly as they found themselves 41 for four with the top four batsmen back in the pavilion.

Dave Leaver (46) and Richard Browning (64) produced spirited performances in an attempt to salvage the run chase, but when they were lost so too was any hope of Chichester reaching their victory target. At that stage, a draw would have been a satisfying result.

But Chichester continued to lose wickets and ended 187 all out with Josh Poysden (4-47) the most successful bowler for the visiting side.

Chichester travel to Brighton this week in search of their first victory of the season, but must perform far better than in this season opener.