Stirlands know second place in division three west of the Sussex League is probably the best they can achieve this season - but that didn’t stop them turning in a professional performance to win at Arundel.
They won the toss and inserted Arundel and opening bowlers Anthony Butler and Chris May started well, but it was clear there was not much in it for the seamers and spin was going to be the order of the day.
Spin twins Nick Hunt and Struan Cameron came on within the first ten overs and bowled unchanged for the rest of the afternoon. They extracted a lot of turn and uneven bounce and although wickets fell fairly regularly, there were a few too many bad balls for Arundel to feed on.
At 85 for five, Stirlands would have hoped to run through Arundel’s lower order but good resistance from Matthew Reynolds (29), Lloyd Rowlatt (21) and Nathan Smart (33no) meant Arundel reached 183 for nine from 53 overs.
Stirlands decided that as rain was forecast they would chase runs quickly. They promoted Nick Hunt to open with Stuart Hanks with Ed Clarke at three.
This paid off as Hunt especially went flying out of the blocks, scoring 44 from just 19 balls, mostly off Matt Horne who went for 49 from his first three overs.
Hunt was removed just before getting his 50 and Clarke (18) and Hanks (24) continued to score at ten an over. Both fell but with 92 for three on the board from only nine overs, Sean Heather and Will Gubbins continued to bully the Arundel bowling until, at 129 for three from 13 overs, rain came. After an hour, it stopped. Heather went for one big hit too many and was bowled for 45 from 27 deliveries. Gubbins continued and he and Leon Fourie (23no) took the score very close before Gubbins (23) was fantastically caught by Matt Wood off Keelan Shoulders.
Fourie finished it off on the last ball of the 21st over, with Shoulders the pick of the Arundel bowlers taking two for 17 from his 3 over’s.
Stirlands secured 28 points but Billingshurst also won, meaning they keep their lead at the top and need only five points from their remaining two games to gain promotion.