Chichester beat the weather - and East Grinstead

Chichester are sitting pretty in fourth place
Chichester are sitting pretty in fourth place

With the league programme decimated by poor weather, Chichester travelled to East Grinstead expecting to start their Sussex Premier League game but not finish it.

But outstanding performances from Chris Kirkham and Adam Zampa, supported by good contributions from Matt Geffen and Mark Bamford, enabled Chichester to secure a remarkable victory in the early-evening gloom at the Saint Hill ground.

The start was delayed by rain and when the covers came off, two damp patches convinced home captain Phil Norman to ask Chichester to bat.

If the roles had been reversed Bamford would have done the same, but he needn’t have been concerned as he and Kirkham amassed 121 runs for the first wicket.

Kirkham was the dominant partner and produced a remarkable innings of 91 which included 16 fours in a relatively short time.

His array of shots on a difficult wicket shows what a talented player he is - there can’t be many better to watch in the league when he is on form.

Bamford played a mere supporting role but increased his rate of scoring when Kirkham was lost, when he was joined by Zampa.

Bamford was run out for 44 with the score on 150 and Chichester struggled to build on their fine start. In fact, they limped to 200 for nine to secure full batting points. Ian Sturmer (5-49) was the pick of the East Grinstead bowlers.

A deluge of rain appeared to put paid to any further prospect of play, but the threat of prolonged rain did not come and play restarted.

There was still a belief it was a matter of time before the game would stop as the gun-metal grey clouds gathered.

East Grinstead reached 77 for one and the game appeared to be drifting to a draw. Enter Zampa.

The 20-year-old Chichester socialite produced a superb spell of five for 25 that ripped through the middle and lower order. The fact they had become exposed was down to earlier fine bowling of Matt Geffen (3-33).

Wickets kept falling and strangely, when the home side had no prospect of victory they still threw the bat and contributed to their own demise.

James Adkin top scored with 52, but the rest of his team were bowled out for just 123. And within ten minutes of victory the heavens opened.

Chichester are fourth and entertain leaders Preston Nomads this Saturday.