Chichester will aim to bounce back fast after Premier drop

Chichester Priory Park cricket captain Richard Browning has spoken of his disappointment at a season which ended with relegation from the Sussex Premier League.

The Priory Park outfit will ply their trade in division two next season after finishing second from bottom - despite having started the year with high hopes under Browning and vice-captain Matt Geffen.

Browning stressed it was not all doom and gloom and said: “It’s onwards and upwards for next season. We will hit the indoor training hard and look to pull together positively with a young, talented squad.”

He added: “There were some good performances throughout the season. We managed to win four of our games and without rain could have won a few more.

“The first of our wins came against Brighton when our bowling quartet restricted the visitors to 154. We convincingly won that game, surpassing the total inside 40 overs with a superb knock of 68 from our Australian Ashton Turner – who really bought some fight and determination to our squad.

“This kick-started a little roll as we followed that up with a trip to Hastings and came away with a fabulous victory there too. Steggs bowled beautifully and was rewarded with his first five-for of the season.

“Chasing 223 to win, Mark Bamford hit a magnificent 123 to see us home. For me, this performance was worthy of the Watson Trophy.

“Two weeks later we were back to winning ways, this time against a poor Worthing side. Again, our solid bowling unit dismissed the local rivals for 108 with Geff and I taking three wickets each. In the short chase, Bammo and Ashton were ruthless getting us over the line inside 20 overs.

“The week after, Horsham visited Priory Park on a sunny day. On a good batting track, Horsham managed to post 270, which historically would be far too many for a Chichester batting line-up.

“However what followed was one of the best chases I have witnessed in league cricket. Our top three batters of the season, Bamford, Turner and Chris Kirkham all contributed positively with the bat and with some important contributions lower down the order, we managed 30 points against a top side.

“Unfortunately that was then the end of our winning streak and we failed to win another game after that.”

Browning highlighted the performances of youngsters who had a run in the side through senior players being unavailable.

“Jay Hartard, Beck Hemingway and Ben Caldera all showed maturity beyond their ages at certain times and George Stephens scored his maiden first-team 50, which was pleasing to see.

“Unfortunately, these performances were few and far between, which was ultimately the downfall of the side because - despite the top three batters, who incidentally were also three of the top six batters in the whole league - the rest of the team had poor seasons statistically.

“The 2013 season was a difficult one to digest and despite a few positives, can only really be considered as a disappointment for the club.”