West Wittering clinched the Invitation League division-four title with a famous win at the home of their keen rivals West Chiltington.
The leaders needed 30 points from their last two games to be assured of their third league championship in three years. But with club captain Carl Tupper returning, the loss of the toss was a blow.
West Wittering openers Mark Taylor and James Staight looked good with their mixture of aggression and style.
Staight fell first for 46 and Taylor soon after for 35. Tupper and Gareth Lendrum kept the momentum going with prosperous scoring shots until they surrendered at 31 and 28 respectively.
Richard Hammond missed a straight ball for one and Simon Lowther went for a duck.
A good partnership by Harry Staight and Alex Salmon brought boundary after boundary. Harry Staight almost eclipsed his twin and left with 44 to his name.
Salmon and Joe Pink took the team to 227 for seven. West Chilts’ best bowlers were Charlie Davies (3-74) and David Burndock (2-61).
Tim Osborne and Salmon attacked the opening batsmen with pace, bounce and luck. But it wasn’t until the total was in the 40s that wickets started to tumble.
Salmon drew first blood and Osborne weighed in with three well-taken victims. West Chilts hung in there but a change of bowling gave the visitors a change of luck.
Harry Staight took the next wicket and Pink bagged a double. James Staight spun his way into the book as a wicket-taker and Osborne returned to finish off the innings giving him a return of four for 44 and Pink two for 33 leaving Chilts 82 runs short on 145 all out.
David Burndock’s 49 was their batting high point.
So with the title in the bag, this week’s last game at home against second-placed Horsham is time to celebrate. Skipper Tupper can be proud of a side who have breezed up from division seven in four seasons and will parade their skills in division three in 2015.
Club Chairman Shaun Standing said: “With our Club Mark status successfully updated recently and a vibrant youth section, the club’s future is looking very good.
“Fruitful recruitment is always needed in any club and with the location, facilities and superb management committee, who wouldn’t want to play at such a beautiful ground?”
Clayton & Belgrave Adelaide v Aldwick
At 98-0, chasing a mere 196 for victory, Aldwick were firmly in the driving seat – but then the wheels came off as the late-season malaise kicked in yet again and they collapsed to 172 all out in a crucial promotion clash.
Openers Joel Lodge (67) and Dean Stokes (36) put victory for their side within sight but they were let down by their team-mates as only Adam Rutter (15) and Keelan Belcher (12) made double figures in a poor batting display.
The main culprit was Clayton’s Tom Sadler (6-52) who took wickets with ease in his 12-over spell.
Aldwick allowed three batsmen to make decent scores which became the centrepiece of their eventual winning total.
Early wickets from Keelan Belcher (2-36) had the home side on the ropes but then the batting trio took over with Anthony Gilbert (48), Kevin Thame (44), and best of all Prakash Mani (62*) making together almost all the final total of 194 for seven.
Wickets from Joel Lodge (2-26), Ollie Smith (2-50), and Liam Hicks (1-29) kept the other batsmen quiet with good spells.
With the title now gone, Aldwick have one last game this week against promotion rivals Crawley Nayee to make the possibility of division-two cricket next year a reality.
Victory against Nayee is essential but then it is out of their hands as their promotion rivals have a game in hand. If they beat Nayee they will be sweating on the outcome of the final ties but if they lose they will have probably blown it.
Aldwick II v Brighton Electricity
Unlike their first-team counterparts, Aldwick II’s late-season form has been inspired and they returned to top spot with a comfortable victory by 59 runs against Brighton Electricity.
The main reason for the home side’s win was Grant Wilson (76), who top-scored with the bat and went on to be his side’s top bowler of the day with four for 24.
Opener Tom Hoare (42) got Aldwick off to a good start but then there was a few stumbles along the way until Wilson came to the crease and took charge. The other home side’s batsmen found it hard to contend with the bowling of Jonathan Rush whose eight-over spell gave him five for 44 in a top-drawer spell.
Aldwick’s total was easily enough as Brighton Electricity managed only 102 all out. A decent knock from Dave Smith (26) and 13 runs apiece from Tony Wicks, Jonathan Rush and Andrew Lang gave their side some semblance of a defendable total.
Wilson shared the wickets with Harry Rosser (2-38), Will Lewry (1-12) and Jonny Knapp, who had to bowl just one ball and took the final wicket to seal the victory.
Aldwick II have one game to go against Rustington II and victory with 29 points will guarantee promotion from division seven. If they win, they can be champions but their fate will be in the hands of the other teams as they sit out the final ties next week.
Chichester Priory Park IV v Middleton Academy
This was a momentous occasion for Priory Park fourths as four sets of dads and sons, plus a granddad and grandson took to the field and pulled off a well-deserved win against Middleton.
Chichester won the toss and chose to bat and losing an early wicket was countered by a steady performance from Steve Parker, reaching 60 in less than an hour. A fine innings from James Stemp with 67 off 62 balls gave the team confidence and they reached a grand total of 202 for seven.
In reply Will Jeffries scored a fine 60 for Middleton and with several dropped catches, it looked as though Chichester’s nerves were going to let the game slip away.
Ben Peach scored 16 in an opening stand of 71. However, Martin Troy and Mark Sheppard settled the side, gaining two run-outs and two catches.
Jeffries ran out of partners in the 38th over with just 121 on the scoreboard.
Chichester congratulated Middleton on their forthcoming promotion.