Preston Nomads need only 26 points from their last three games to be sure of retaining the Sussex Premier League title following their narrow victory at Brighton & Hove on Saturday. Hastings and East Grinstead both won their matches against lower opponents and are separated by just a point in second place.
Brighton & Hove were bowled out for 173 at home to Nomads with Paul Hardwick making top score of 64 as Carl Simon took 5 for 48 in 20 overs and Kashif Ibrahim 3 for 45. Nomads struggled somewhat and only 44 not out from Ibrahim saw them home in the very last over at 176 for 8 as Matt Wood took 5 for 48.
Hastings still have a mathematical chance of overtaking Nomads following their 112 runs home win against Three Bridges. In a Hastings total of 260 for 7 declared Leo Cammish hit 102 not out and Adam Maharaj-Newman made 31 with Jigga Parekh the best of the Bridges bowlers, he took 3 for 87 in 16 overs. Spin then proved the downfall of the visitors who were dismissed for 188 as Elliott Hooper took 4 for 44 and Josh Poysden 5 for 53, top scorer was Conor Golding who made 39.
The relegation possibility for Worthing came a step nearer with a nine wicket home defeat by Horsham. Worthing were put in and dismissed for 150 with Darryl Rebbetts and Stuart Carter each making 29 as Michael Munday grabbed 4 for 26 and Stuart Whittingham 3 for 34. James Johnson then hit 103 not out to take Horsham home at 151 for 1.
Chichester are also in serious trouble following a big 112 run defeat at East Grinstead who rattled up 300 for 6 declared from 56 overs. In that total Dan Hopkins hit 72, Ollie Graham 50 and Wil Adkin 49, Matt Geffen was the pick of the visiting bowlers, he took 4 for 76. Chichester were dismissed for 188 with 62 from Ashton Turner and 48 from Chris Kirkham as Adkin took 5 for 62, there were two wickets each for Lewis Hatchett and Ollie Graham.
Roffey rattled up 275 for 3 at home to Cuckfield with 96 not out from Matt Donegan, 59 from Mike Norris and 55 from Dan Smith. Cuckfield reached stumps at 214 for 9 but it was a one man betting display from new Aussie Cameron Borgas , he hit 148 in only his second innings for the club.
In Division Two it is a battle between three clubs for two promotion places with leaders Eastbourne now needing 48 points from their remaining three games to be sure of promotion. There was a shock result at Ifield where the home side beat promotion chasing Goring who meet Eastbourne next Saturday.
Eastbourne were put in at home to Bexhill and struggled a little to 207/8 declared with 64 from skipper Mark Tomsett and 58 from Toby Finzel as Jamie Wicks took 5 for 29. In reply Bexhill held on at 181 for 9 with 52 from Shawn Johnson and 33 from Elliot Guest, Devang Patel taking 4 for 41 and there were two wickets each for Mark Tomsett and Matt Cooke.
Ifield rushed to 241 for 9 declared at home to Goring with 57 from Greg Barton, 45 from Ed Sykes and 40 from Clayton Caltsounis as Elliott Wooley took 3 for 25. In reply Goring were bowled out for 131 of which Matt Keen made top score of 43 as Caltsounis took 5 for 76 and Russell Jacob 4 for 22.
Findon continued their good form with a 26 run win at home to St.James’s. The home side made 224 for 2 declared with 101 not out from Jack Metters, 61 not out from Felix Jordan and 50 from Bradley Bridson. St.James’s were then dismissed for 198 despite 68 not out from Tayaab Mahmood and 43 from Anthony Alexander.
Crowhurst Park enjoyed a 53 run home win against Pulborough who look desperately close to relegation. Park made 203 for 9 declared with 60 from Kellen Powell while Keshmal Wangankar took 4 for 83. In a Pulborough score of 150 Stuart Barber made 60 not out as Paul Brookes took 4 for 58. It looks bleak for Glynde who are still without a win this season following their six wicket reverse at home to Middleton. Glynde made a creditable 246 for 9 declared with 78 from Dominic Shepheard and 72 from Rob Mouland but it was way short of target as Middleton replied at 250 for 4 to win by that six wicket margin. James Thompson hit 88 not out and Brandon Hanley 72 not out.
DIVISION THREE ROUND-UP
The top three sides all won in Division 3 East and with three Saturdays left it looks like the top of the table clash next week between Lindfield and Haywards Heath could prove decisive.
Lindfield had little trouble in disposing of Crawley declaring early on 221-3 before bowling out their hosts for just 70.
Haywards Heath won an enthralling match with Hellingly by three wickets to make it nine consecutive wins. Hellingly got off to a flyer with Zayne Bux (107) and Isaac Leckie adding 148 for the first wicket. They finished on 243-8 with Callum Smith taking 5-68. Smith then hit an undefeated 126 from 98 balls containing fourteen fours and five sixes. Having been 132-7 Heath’s eighth wicket pair added 114 to take them to victory.
Ansty chose to bat against Lewes Priory and were able to declare on 231-5 with runs from Luke Forster 61, Leo Anderson 60 and Chris Barnes 50 not out. Lewes Priory were bowled out for 102 in reply despite 44 from Richard Eborn 44 and 42 from Jacob Lee 42. The wickets were shared amongst Glen Anson (4-30), Will Wright (3-4) and Sam Palser (3-49) with Lewes now assured of finishing in bottom place.
Rottingdean had the better of a draw against Keymer & Hassocks posting 217-7 after winning the toss. James Grantham made 47 of these before Keymer finished 169-8. Michael Johnson top scored with 51.
The top two in Division 3 West secured narrow victories. Billingshurst being the hot favourites to take the title with just four games remaining.
Billingshurst won by three wickets at Steyning with Scott Stratton’s 93 proving decisive in pursuit of Steyning’s 200-9. Matt Sewell had earlier made 59 and David Dunn took 5-46. Andy Isaacs took 3-43 in Billingshurst’s innings.
A similar game at Stirlands saw Pagham post 208-8 with no major individual scores but Nick Hunt took 4-57. Sean Heather made 66 in the Stirlands innings but they were pushed hard with Nabib Rahman and Wayne Green taking 3 apiece before they crept home by 2 wickets.
A century (105) from Brighton Mugochi looked to have put Henfield in charge at Wisborough Green as they set their hosts 248 to win. But Green got home with one wicket to spare with solid contributions from James Newman (57), Alex Edwards (46), James Self( 41) and David Pleasants 41 not out. Jack Parsons claimed 4-73 for Henfield.
Slinfold claimed maximum points in a 12 run win against Crawley Eagles. Sikho Camagu hitting 77 not out in their 190-6 then Harrison Webb bagging 4-31 as the Eagles fell just short.
Bognor Regis were able to overhaul Arundel’s 101 with 8 wickets intact to ensure the visitors will finish at the foot of the table this season.
TONY MILLARD & NICK CLARKE