Hard work, determination and concentration brought Stirlands’ first Sussex League division-two win against Ifield on a cold and gusty afternoon in Birdham.
The toss was won by Ifield and they decided to bat on an excellent pitch to apply pressure on the Stirlands’ attack.
After a good start by Ifield, who seemed to be in control, Will Golder managed to break the deadlock at 70 for one.
The bowling of Christian Fallick then contained the visitors and brought two more wickets. Ifield looked jaded and lost another wicket to slip to 76 for four.
However Paul Clifford stood strong and scored freely for Ifield, adding a delightful 109 for his team. His team-mates were not displaying the same characteristics, with Paul Dorkings taking three wickets, including that of Clifford.
Ifield surprisingly decided to declare for 184 for nine with four balls remaining, a score which Stirlands felt was very achievable.
Stirlands started the innings poorly, losing two quick wickets. Will Gubbings and Andrew Isaac both fell cheaply.
Stirlands were faced with a huge upward battle on their hands at seven for two.
In came Alex Garlick, newly-promoted to number three. He showed signs of class and promise with some delightful shots and reached his 50 quickly.
Ian Gooding worked alongside him pushing for quick singles and hitting big into the churchyard a number of times.
Ifield bowled tightly but Russell Jacob was wicketless as Gooding (80no) and Garlick (91no) pushed on and wrapped up the win with eight wickets to spare.
All the Stirlands players contributed to the outcome and all can take positives from this result. Stirlands must take this positivity to Haywards Health this week looking to build on their first win.