Stirlands, Bognor and Pagham make the Sussex League cut

Stirlands finished second in division three west - only 34 points behind champions Billingshurst  Picture by Louise Adams C130685-1
Stirlands finished second in division three west - only 34 points behind champions Billingshurst Picture by Louise Adams C130685-1

STIRLANDS, Bognor and Pagham will all play in the new division three of the Sussex League next season after top-half finishes.

Division three west and east are being split into division three and four for 2014 and clubs who ended in the bottom half of both will be in division four.

Here’s how our three local division three west sides ended successful seasons.

Billingshurst v Stirlands

STIRLANDS had the final say in the battle for supremacy in the division – even if their hosts had already won the title and taken the sole promotion spot.

Although the outcome of the match could not affect the league standings, Stirlands won by 86 runs to flatten the hosts’ champagne.

Stirlands won the toss and batted on a pitch that wasn’t easy to score on, and lost Stuart Hanks early to a dubious lbw decision off the bustling Andy Barr for four.

Sean Heather and Will Gubbins set about building a platform, and Heather felt obliged to force the scoring and not let off-spinner Ben Williams settle, but he was caught and bowled by Williams for 17.

Nick Hunt scorched a cover drive for four second ball before Gubbins was unluckily adjudged lbw pulling spinner Mitipolaarachchi for 19, and Stirlands were 64 for three.

The theme continued as Williams trapped Hunt for 12 and Stirlands were wobbling at 68 for four. Leon Fourie and Chris May put on 99 to get Stirlands back in it.

May made use of the short boundaries, launching four sixes in his 58 off 69 balls, as did Fourie, who made an aggressive 53 off 68. Fourie found support from Struan Cameron (9), Joe Weinstein (14*), and Anthony Butler (6*) as Stirlands’ tail wagged and they posted 214 for eight.

Billingshurst’s reply had a stuttering start. Weston was well caught by keeper Hanks off May for four, and was followed back by fellow opener Stratton, caught by Gubbins at short extra cover off Struan Cameron for 15.

Burroughs was out for four, snicking to keeper Hanks. Lowther and Alexander both fell for ducks. Lowther was stumped by Hanks off Cameron, and Alexander well caught by Heather at second slip off May, and it was 34 for five.

Mitipolaarachchi and Barr set about rebuilding but Barr was bowled by Butler for 29, and Mitipolaarachchi was well taken by Hunt at slip, off Cameron for 41.

Butler, in his last game, took the final wicket by bowling Williams, and Billingshurst were out for 128 inside 30 overs, leaving Stirlands the victors by 86 runs.

It has been a very successful season for Stirlands, winning 13 of their 18 games, and losing just three, and their 416 points would normally have seen them promoted. But they fell 34 points shy of Billingshurst.

Bognor v Steyning

After winning the toss and batting, Bognor began with a good 67-run opening partnership between Mikey Harris and Charlie La Foret (44).

Combative Aussie all-rounder Sam Taylor – in his final game for Bognor – joined Harris and made an aggressive 46 before his departure on 128.

At 147 for two, it was going nicely for Bognor but the spin of Andy Isaacs (5-51) caused a collapse that saw Bognor 190 all out, Harris finishing with a dogged 43.

This stirred athletic paceman Graham Bush in action and he set about Steyning’s top order with gusto. Bowling for an unchanged 17 overs, Bush snared four lbws in a finely-bowled four for 33.

With Josh Broad taking two for 27 and spinner Joe Ashmore clearing out Steyning’s lower order with a cheeky three for ten, Steyning were bowled out for 130, Hywel Jones top scoring with 59 as Bognor won by 60 runs.

That meant Bognor finished third in the table – a strong second-half of the season seeing them cement their place in the Sussex-wide division three next year, when sides who finished below halfway in three west and east will go into the new division four.

Bognor seconds beat Steyning by one wicket.

Arundel v Pagham

Pagham won at Arundel to ensure their progress into next year’s division three.

They were put into bat on a dubious-looking wicket but one that didn’t faze Pagham’s stroke players.

Jamaul Fernandez (76 from 77 balls), Michael Hales (47 from 48) and Graham Finlayson (56 from 36) made hay against the Arundel attack, the run rate hovering around the six-an-over mark.

Pagham reached 254.

Fernandez’s knock meant he joined Joe Metz in scoring 500 during the season.

For Arundel, Matthew Wood (41) and Ally James (30) briefly threatened against good bowling which was sometimes let down by sloppy fielding.

Arundel were bowled out for 179 after 46.4 overs, Pagham securing victory with more than ten overs left.

Nabid Rahman (3-37) impressed – as he has done all season in taking more than 40 wickets, while Michael Hales (3-32) and Sean Rutter (2-54) were also among the wickets.

Pagham seconds beat second-placed Arundel to win their league, meaning promotion to second XI division two.

Arundel reached 169 for nine (Richard Bird 3-24). Pagham reached the target thanks largely to David Leader (69*).