Pagham, Stirlands and Middleton all maintained their recent good form with Sussex League division three west victories.
Wisborough Green v Pagham
After a creditable draw with Middleton, Pagham travelled to Wisborough Green to face a team struggling near the bottom of the table like themselves.
Stuart Rutter won the toss and inserted the opposition. Relenting lines from Michael Hales (3-36) saw him pick up the first three wickets cheaply.
Wickets continued to fall courtesy of Wayne Green (3-40), Sam Dickens (2-10) and Pete Cotterill (2-43). Wisborough Green’s total of 138 slightly flattered them as Pagham had dropped numerous chances.
Pagham’s opening batsmen were faced with tight bowling, meaning opportunities for runs rarely presented themselves.
It was hardly surprising Pagham slipped to 20 for three given the merciless nature of the Wisborough Green bowling.
It was left to a rumbustious Green (38) and Kejel Tyson (39) to rebuild and the score reached 89 before the next wicket fell.
Then 89 for four became 115 for seven before stalwarts Stuart (9*) and Sean Rutter (16*) put on 27 to see the team home.
Pagham await the visit of Steyning this week hoping for another win to keep them away from the relegation equation.
Steyning v Middleton
Middleton went top of the table with a seven-wicket victory.
Steyning have always proved tricky opponents for Middleton, but they were outplayed as Ben Hansford and Brandon Hanley went about setting the record straight.
Hanley (4-28) took the new ball and at times bowled too well for the opposition.
What the visitors lacked in firepower they made up for in consistency as bowlers from both ends and the fielders built the pressure and restricted the runs to leave Steyning 70 for three off 30 overs.
Tommy Davies is having his most consistent season with the ball. The Oxford Brookes student continually beat the bat and a return of one for 37 off 13 overs has again demonstrated he is ready to handle the responsibility of opening the bowling.
Alfie Bunker and Will Searle (1-53) held their own in supporting roles to the Hanley and Davies bowling clinic.
Ed Lamb (70) batted well, supported by Kennett (51) and free-scoring Sam Grant (34) as the hosts finished on 186 for six.
Hansford and Jack Lerwill opened the reply with panache, striking the ball to all parts.
Lerwill (16) was the first to fall and Ed Towner (10) quickly followed, both falling to Sri Lankan Ranasinghe.
Will Burrows provided the foundation for Hansford to distribute the punishment.
Hansford nearly didn’t take to the crease because of illness. Striking just short of a century while under the weather is some feat. His brilliant innings of 99 included 14 boundaries and one six as he again proved one of the league’s most potent and destructive batsman.
He gave first slip some catching practice just before 100 but this shouldn’t cloud a top innings.
Burrows (19*) and Nikolai Smith (10*) took Middleton to victory by seven wickets.
Stirlands v Arundel
A minute’s silence was held before the game in memory of Tony White, a former Stirlands player, vice-president and long-time supporter of the club, who died last week.
Arundel elected to bat on a hard, dry wicket. They found runs difficult to come by but Stirlands were unable to break through until the 20th over, when Struan Cameron had Justin Murray caught for 17 in his second over.
Joe Bain was the next to go bowled by Cameron for eight. Another 50 partnership followed between opener Richard James and Geoff Stothert before the latter was out for 17, Cameron’s third wicket.
James was the only batsman to show fluency, scoring 76 before he was impressively stumped by Lewis Allan off Cameron. Arundel were 162 for five.
They knew they were short and in the next six overs tried to hit themselves to maximum batting points, but lost wickets and fell two short at 198 for nine. Cameron finished with eight for 59 from 17 overs.
Stirlands lost Nick Hunt (10) early to a ball that nipped back and bowled him, bringing overseas prospect Allan in.
Allan and Sean Heather put on 47 before Allan walked past one from Will Clark and was stumped by Lloyd Rowlatt for 20.
Will Gubbins came in and became the dominant partner, making a positive unbeaten 66.
When Stirlands needed 14 to win, he selflessly allowed Heather to make his third consecutive unbeaten century.
Stirlands won by eight wickets with just over seven overs to spare.