Metz’s magic isn’t enough for Pagham

Pagham returned home from Slinfold one wicket shy of a superb victory in division three west of the Sussex League.

Having been put in, Jamal Fernandez (12) looked set to dominate the Slinfold attack before chipping tamely to mid-wicket.

But this brought in Joe Metz (113*) who, after a watchful approach getting to 50, accelerated on to his hundred using just 22 more balls.

Jake Stockdale (24) provided support but the other eye-catching innings was from Michael Hales (47*).

After a patient innings last week against Stirlands, he showed he’s a man for any situation with a near run-a-ball knock this week when most required. Pagham declared one over early with the score at 259 for five, an unlikely total having been 65 for four.

Fine bowling and fielding didn’t allow the Slinfold batsman settle and they slipped to 60 for six, Nabid Rahaman (4-50) and Hales (2-29) claiming the wickets.

The entrance of the spinners into the attack encouraged Slinfold to play some shots.

Tim Coghill (68) and Sikholele Camagu (42) profited but not without a little luck via dropped catches, Sean Rutter the unlucky bowler on more than one occasion.

Metz (3-31) bowled with pace and hostility as he took the next three wickets, leaving Pagham nine balls to get the final man. This wasn’t enough time and Pagham left with 14 points rather than 30, Slinfold finishing with 174 for nine.

Pagham seconds had Ian Dyer (86) to thank as his batting took his team to 164 against third-placed Slinfold. Their reply never got going because of tight bowling throughout the innings, Nikki Tabberer (3-13), Peter Cotterill (2-12) and Richard Bird (2-31) doing most damage.