Chichester fought back from a tricky opening to their innings to beat Crawley Eagles and leapfrog the Sussex League division-three leaders.
Crawley Eagles sat top of the league with Chichester just 22 points behind, meaning a big victory for the visitors would see them top the table.
It was a muggy afternoon and the pitch looked a little challenging for the batsmen. Visiting skipper Matt Geffen won the toss and invited the hosts to bat.
The Eagles raced to 30 for 0 inside eight overs before the bowlers quickly got stuck into the batting line-up. Abz Patel removed opener Anjum Zafer and the dangerous Imran Suddahazai cheaply, followed by two quick wickets from Rob Carver, including Eagles captain Rehan Hasan.
On several occasions short-pitched deliveries from Patel lost all pace on pitching and loop like a tennis ball through to the keeper.
Wickets continued to tumble as batsmen struggled to time their shots. Only Usman Bashir (35) and Imran Mehboob (20) offered resistance to Chichester’s attack.
Dan Joseph (4-18) cleaned up the tail, including two wickets in one over as Crawley Eagles were skittled out for 112. Maximum bowling bonus points were in the bag for Chichester but only half the job was done.
Pitch gremlins must have been in the back of the visiting batsmen’s minds and a top-order batting collapse, including two ducks, saw Chichester limp to 36-5.
Matt Bennison (17) and Mike Smith (33) combined for a crucial partnership. At 86-5, just 26 runs from the target, victory was surely assured.
But Chichester don’t believe in comfortable victories. The departure of Smith and Bennison induced a few wobbles and soon Chichester were 103-9.
But the last wicket pair of Joseph and Carver kept their cool, creeping along at a run an over until the scores were level.
Memories of a tie last season against Crowhurst Park were in everyone’s minds. Ironically Carver had been directly involved, getting run out while attempting the winning run. There was no such drama this time as Carver found the winning run to give Chichester a one-wicket victory.
The victory and maximum points saw Chichester leapfrog the Eagles to go top.
With the top four teams all within ten points of each other, there’s plenty still to do for Chichester to keep their place at the summit, in particular strengthening their fragile batting line-up.
Chichester host relegation threatened Burgess Hill at Priory Park on Saturday.
Goring v Stirlands
Stirlands’ woes on the road continued at Goring but it could have been so different.
Goring were put into bat and were bowled out for 248 – their total thanks to a remarkable 177 from Kellon Carmichael, who hit an amazing 24 boundaries in his 117-ball stay.
However he was dropped by Stirlands three times before he had scored 30 – and made them pay for it.
With little resistance from any other batsman Goring were at one point 130-6 with Raj Maru and Jamaine Bullen both looking dangerous but Carmichael carried on and though those two ended up with five and three wickets, the damage had been done.
Stirlands struggled and only young Mike Clowes (41) offered real resistance. They ended 152 short with Stirlands knowing that if you do not catch catches you do not win matches.
This week they take on Findon at Stirlands.
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