Chichester’s centurions boost Premier League survival hopes

Chichester Priory Park have given themselves a great chance of staying in cricket’s Sussex Premier League with a fine win against fellow strugglers Pulborough – thanks mainly to Matt Gregory and Steven Sedgley’s tons.

In a ‘must-win’ game for both sides, Chichester captain Mark Bamford had little hesitation in asking Pulborough to bat with a band of damp across the pitch.

Pulborough raced to 83 before they lost a wicket and they continued to score fairly freely.

Captain Rohit Jagota provided the backbone with a superb 116, which enabled them to declare on 273 for six. Justin Scott took three for 41, but Richard Browning was the pick of the bowlers with his figures of two for 51.

Chichester needed 274 from 60 overs and felt if they could bat the overs they would claim the win. This they did, but it required heroics from Scott to clinch it.

The win was set up by Gregory and Sedgley. The pair joined each other at 54 for two and produced a partnership of 159 that pushed Chichester towards the target. Gregory batted combined watchful defence with punishing strokeplay on his way to a fine 123.

The young Australian has scored more than 600 runs this year, including two centuries.

Perhaps the more exciting innings was Sedgley’s – he blasted 105 from 94 balls in his first century for the club. The 22-year-old model from Runcton hit some huge sixes that demoralised the attack and even though he was lost with 60 runs to get, Pulborough looked beaten.

A number of the Chichester players were trying to work out what the table would look like with a win, but their calculations looked premature as wickets were lost in the final overs.

Once Sedgley and Gregory departed, the home side were still confident of victory, but they managed to turn a target of eight from four overs to four one over.

After five balls of the final over, two wickets had been lost and only two more had been scored.

So after 109.5 overs of play and 544 runs it came down to the last ball. Enter Scott. The big man from Bognor needed two from the final ball to claim the victory and boost Chichester’s survival hopes.

Scott, who’s faced far greater challenges having served on the battlefields of Iraq, kept his calm and smashed a huge six over mid-wicket to give the home side the win. Amit Suman with four for 75 was the best Pulborough bowler.

Chichester are out of the relegation zone with three games left. Two wins should do the job – they host East Grinstead next.