Crowhurst Park’s cricketers couldn’t quite pull off the elusive win which a much-improved performance deserved.
An unbroken eighth wicket partnership of 60 steered Ifield to a three-wicket victory at the Walcott Ground on Saturday and extended Park’s losing run to seven Sussex Cricket League Division Two matches.
There were plenty of positives for Park, though, not least the return to form of skipper Paul Brookes, who scored a half-century with the bat and took four wickets with the ball.
Park were asked to bat and Brookes promoted himself up the order to open. Despite losing Clive Tong in the second over, Park had probably their best start to a league match all season.
Brookes and Laurence Coleman took on the bowling with Brookes in particular playing aggressively. He reached his first league fifty since 2012 and looked likely to score more until being well caught in the deep for an excellent 56.
In-form Brad Payne (35) showed intent, but an ill-judged attempt at a second run by Payne led to Coleman being run out for a well-made 24. Park were now 123-3, which soon became 135-5.
A good partnership between Ed Smissen (33) and Rak Patel (18) took Park along to 180 before both fell in quick succession to spinner Russell Jacob.
Park were bowled out soon after for exactly 200, which despite a rather disappointing last 15 overs, was their highest league score of the season. Jacob finished with excellent figures of 7-36.
Park wicketkeeper Nick Taylor suffered a nasty eye injury in the third over of the Ifield reply and had to be taken to hospital for stitches.
Ifield put on 56 for the first wicket before Sam Dorrington was run out for 22. Brookes then dismissed Jigar Parekh following an excellent catch in the deep by Payne and later bowled Matt Atkins for 29.
Ifield were stuttering at 65-3, but skipper Jack Groves (37) provided some momentum to the run chase before he fell to Matt Peters.
Tong removed Guru Kedarnath and Brookes picked up his fourth wicket to leave Ifield 145-7. Park were seemingly on target for their first win of the season only for Vish Patel (22 not out) and Simon Hickey (32 not out) to knock off the remaining runs.
In the true spirit of cricket, Brookes (4-80) called back Hickey after withdrawing an appeal, which would have given Park their eighth wicket with 20 runs still required.
Standings (all played seven matches): 1 Pagham 170pts, 2 HASTINGS PRIORY 169, 3 Lindfield 154, 4 Findon 153, 5 Worthing 146, 6 Three Bridges 131, 7 St James’s Montefiore 116, 8 Ifield 101, 9 Ansty 85, 10 CROWHURST PARK 36.
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