Stirlands’ bowling and fielding again let them down as they went down to Haywards Heath in division two of the Sussex League by three wickets at Birdham despite a maiden league ton from Will Gubbins.
Haywards Heath won the toss and chose to bowl, which gave an early chance to shine for a new Stirlands opening partnership, brothers Will and Nick Gubbins.
Stand-in skipper Paul Dorkings was pleased to see them put on 61 at four an over for the first wicket for Stirlands’ highest opening partnership of the season.
Nick, having been given two lives by keeper Ellis, was out when Junk made no mistake at second slip as the left-hander nicked a Hudson-Prentice outswinger.
Garlick was out for two, bringing in Ian Gooding, who batted accumulated runs in a crucial partnership of 90 with Will Gubbins to take the score to 173 for two before Gooding holed out to deep mid-wicket for 41.
Will Gubbins, with support from Nick Hunt, Richard Gubbins and Dorkings reached his first league 100. He ended on 111 not out from 149 balls, with 13 fours and two sixes as Stirlands finished 222 for five. It was a score they felt was competitive and defendable, if maybe 20 or 30 short.
Stirlands made a breakthrough with Dorkings taking a catch off his own bowling to remove Wright for four, with Haywards Heath 14 for one. They were 47 for two when Garlick got rid of Hudson-Prentice, and Stirlands were in the game.
However, a partnership of 150 between Junk (105) and Graham (61) sucked the life out of Stirlands in the field, and took Haywards Heath to 178 for two before Junk was out, caught well by Gooding off Garlick.
Wickets tumbled with regularity, Garlick removed Graham and Ellis in quick succession before bowling Kingcome through the gate, leaving Haywards Heath wobbling.
A brilliant piece of fielding from Hunt at short third man enabled Dorkings to run Parsons out and Haywards Heath were 217 for seven, so Stirlands had their tails up.
In the end it proved too little too late as Haywards Heath got over the line by three wickets with an over to spare. Garlick was the pick of the bowlers with five for 84.